The Kilns @ Oatlands

Oatlands Village, Les Gigands, St Sampsons, GY2 4YT

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One of the more iconic features of Oatlands are the Kilns.The article below is reproduced from piece that featured on the BBC Guernsey Website in 2010 and explains the history of the site and the significance of the kilns

 Oatlands, from farm and pottery to tourist attraction

Since the 1980s it has been known as a craft centre and tourist attraction, but before that the site formed an important part of the growing industry.

Originally a farm, recorded as far back as the late 1700s, by 1898 it was recorded as having the characteristic kilns still seen today.

These were used to fire pots and bricks used in growing and building around the island.

The kilns formed a major part of the business of the farm from the late 1800s until the mid-1920s.

Victor and Reuben Dorey, whose family worked and owned the farm for most of the 20th century, explained that the potter's wheel was located in a shed near the kilns and at the time they were involved the potter was a Mr Stockwell.

He would fashion the pots from clay and place them on a plank which was then put in the kiln for firing by two men when the length of the plank was covered. The pots were made in sizes numbered eight to 32 depending on their purpose.

The bricks were made in moulds and left to dry in the fields before firing. The bricks were marked with the initials of the people running the works at the time, for example between 1910 and 1914 they bore the imprint "G&MD" for George and Martyn Dorey who ran the kiln during that year.

The bricks were then used locally in making chimneys and boiler pits at local vineries, as well as houses and the pots were used within the then world famous growing industry of Guernsey.

By the early 1980s the farm buildings and kilns had fallen into disuse, though the land was still being used by the Dorey family for part of their farming operation.

Guernsey Pottery Ltd started the renovation of the site leading to what became Oatlands craft centre featuring pottery and glassblowing along with other traditional crafts.

Since then the site developed into a tourist centre with shops, restaurants and other attractions such as go karts and crazy golf.

Based on research conducted by Nancy Dorey.