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Oral history award for ‘Crown Lynn story’

Media release
6 July 2005

Oral history award for ‘Crown Lynn story’

Waitakere Libraries and Information Services have been awarded $5000 to record memories of New Zealand’s iconic pottery works Crown Lynn.

The Award in Oral History from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage is a highly contested fund and is given only to projects which significantly improve our understanding of life in New Zealand/Aotearoa.

The Crown Lynn story is part of the nation’s heritage. Operating during the period 1948 – 1989, the factory produced domestic ware commonly used in most New Zealand homes and while this project tells the story of the products, it also encapsulates the contributions of employees from upper management to workshop floor; from decision makers to the workers.

Crown Lynn pottery is a New Zealand icon. From the ubiquitous railway cup, to delicate hand painted jewellery and crockery; this is an integral part of New Zealand’s story. The story began in the 1860s at Hobsonville where a farmer R.O. Clark, encountering drainage problems, made his own clay field tiles. Demand was such that he went into business as a manufacturer of bricks and tiles and began a family business which was to have a lasting impact on New Zealand households.

“Every home in the country has had a piece of Crown Lynn and older homes would still have Clark-made bricks, pipes and tiles. It is very timely to be harvesting the stories which are part of a rich cultural resource specific to Waitakere. The Crown Lynn era is being captured - an integral part of local and national history,” says Waitakere City Councillor Penny Hulse.

The overall task of capturing the district’s oral and pictorial history has become an increasingly important commitment for Waitakere City Libraries. An oral history recording programme has been initiated to carry out urgent interviews and manage existing collections.

For more information about this project or if you are aware of or have photographs or material about Crown Lynn please contact: Robyn Mason, Waitakere Library and Information Service, ph 838 1303, ext 823. Email: preservation@waitakere.govt.nz

ENDS

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