World record in sight for local potter Mike

WINCHELSEA Beach potter Mike Crosby-Jones is aiming to get his name enshrined in the Guinness Book of Records by smashing the world pot throwing record.

Mike, 78, of Gopsall Pottery, has already proved he is up to the challenge by breaking the record in an unofficial attempt last summer.

He managed to throw a magnificent 163 pots in the space of an hour, surpassing the 150 pots produced in the same time by current Guinness record holder Mark ‘Billy’ Byles, from Aylesford Pottery , near Maidstone, held since 2009.

This time Mike plans to make it official and will make his record attempt on Saturday February 2.

And one of the adjudicators of the attempt will be Mark Byles.

Mike , who has potted for 50 years, said: “I am not getting any younger but I feel I can do this. I want to pass the 163 pots that I managed in last year’s attempt.”

Mike went to art school in Norway in 1959 and on his return to the UK in 1966 joined the Briglin Pottery which was based in London’s West End.

In 1971 he set up Gopsall Pottery in Gopsall Street, London before relocating to the windmill in Rye in 1978 for four years and then moving to Winchelsea Beach.

It was whilst at Briglin that Mike found he had the skill to work fast at throwing pots and at Gopsall Pottery he was at one time producing 1,000 items a week for Chelsea Pottery.

On Saturday July 14 last year members of the Potteries of Rye Society congregated at Gopsall Pottery, to witness the attempt on the world record in front of some 14 onlookers .

Mike was helped by two other local potters.

Tim Smith ensured the balls of clay were ready and Steve Russell removed each plank of eight completed pots and stacked them on shelves.

Tim then placed a fresh plank in front of Mike. At the end of the hour Mike had thrown a 163 pots,.

Robin Wilson, from the Potteries of Rye Society, described the feat as “awe-inspiring”.

He commented: “For a man of 78 years of age this was an incredible feat.

His son also videoed the whole hour and uploaded the footage to Youtube.

Robin said: “Mike got up from his wheel without any signs of exhaustion.”

Mike’s official attempt takes place at his Winchelsea Beach workshop on Saturday February 2.

Mike’s pottery can be found for sale in Rye at Country Ways on Strand Quay.