In the early 1980’s the new workshop at Mudlen End was in full production. Cottages were by now the primary product and around 100,000 a year were being made. The workshop held 4 electric kilns, packaging materials and all of the stock. At this time Mudlen End Studio Ltd. had 16 full and part-time staff. However, on the night of the 26th November 1981 a fire, caused by an electrical fault, burnt the workshop to the ground. The flames and embers went with the wind directly towards the thatch of Mudlen End itself and James Hart and a neighbour used garden hoses to save the thatch from catching alight and possibly destroying the house too.
James Hart described the blaze as “Terrifying”. The cost of the fire was estimated to be around 12,000 pounds.
The loss of the workshop was a big blow for the company who needed to keep production going to fulfill Christmas and regular orders. This meant they had to consider moving production elsewhere.
On a personal note; as the youngest of the family I was usually blamed if anything untoward happened, if things we not where they were supposed to be or went missing completely, or became slightly broken ! I can only thank my luck stars that I was not around when this event took place as I can imagine where the suspicion would have landed !
( As a footnote, I may have sometimes been guilty of one or two small misdemeanors, but I was always cautious not to be seen so they couldn’t prove anything !!! )