Tuesday, November 23, 2021

What's in the China Cupboard: Tuesday

Before I take the rest of the week telling you about things in the china cupboard, I should probably tell you just a little about the china cupboard itself and how it came to be filled with china.

There's a little niche at one end of the dining room that is just the right size, so we bought the china cupboard at the same time we bought the dining room table after we moved into the house in NJ. For a long time, I didn't have anything to put in it.

For almost four years it was empty, but then John's grandmother passed away. She was called Mom-mom, and John's mother cleaned out her house, then called me wondering if I was interested in Mom-mom's china. Nobody else in the family wanted it, it was the last thing she needed to take care of, and she could bring it right over. Even though I'm not really a china person, I couldn't stand the thought of taking Mom-mom's china to Goodwill, and I did have this empty china cupboard. 

My mother-in-law did bring the box of china over, and my excitement grew as I unpacked the pieces. There were lots of dinner and salad plates, cups, saucers, two platters, bowls, a creamer and sugar bowl, and a gravy boat. The pattern is Old Britain Castles, and each piece features pictures of one or two (you guessed it) old British castles. I was thrilled to receive this, especially because it's a pattern I would have picked out for myself. 

It's still in production today, but the original pieces have a crown back stamp. These were produced in 1930 through World War II when production was stopped. Production resumed in the post-war period, and the pattern is still made today, but in China and without the crown back stamp. 

One piece I always make sure to use is the gravy boat. 

The gravy boat has Rochester Castle on one side and Runnymede on Magna Carta Island on the other. The underplate has Warwick Castle on it. My family enjoys gravy when I serve mashed potatoes, and the gravy boat needs to be refilled several times to make sure there is enough gravy for turkey. The boys were always careful when passing it at the table, especially because the underplate isn't attached. It's a bit more elegant than serving gravy from a measuring cup (which is what I often end up doing for regular weeknight dinners). 

I'll be back tomorrow with another piece from the china cupboard along with some knitting and reading.


  1. What a treasure! I'm guessing that taking those pieces out is a bit like taking a trip through Britain and seeing the sights.

  2. Well, that is a bit of fascinating information Bonny! I did not know about the crown stamp... and I am with you, it is China I would pick! I love that each piece has a different castle on it! But that Gravy Boat wins the day! It is priceless (especially when filled to the brim!!)

  3. I am not a china person either, Bonny, and I have given away most of the china that I had to young females in the extended family, BUT I would have kept that china as well. What a treasure! And what a history associated with production of that china. I'm liking these china cabinet stories very much.

  4. That's a beautiful piece of furniture and I love the pattern of the china, too!

  5. I bet that makes a very festive Christmas table setting with the red and white and I can see everyone cleaning their plates to see what's under the food. lol

    1. You make a good point, Helen! My kids are old enough that I no longer have to offer them incentives to finish their food, but seeing what castle is underneath might be a good one!

  6. What a wonderful collection of family history in that set of China. I confess I've always loved china and dishes. I am so glad that set didn't go to the Goodwill although someone would have given it a good home.

  7. Red and white china is very impressive and unique. The best part about inheriting the pieces is being able to use them!

  8. I love almost anything marked "Johnson Bros. England," but those castles... that sounds like an amazing set!!


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