Isaac Button, the son of Arthur and Caroline Button, was born at Soil Hill near Halifax on 28th June 1903. His grandfather, also called Isaac, had bought Soil Hill pottery in 1897 and worked there with his sons Arthur, George, and David. Isaac and his older brother Arthur Jnr inherited the pottery from their father Arthur. It is thought that Isaac and Arthur Jnr had a falling out, and Isaac ended up working in the pottery business alone for 18 years before he retired in 1964.

Isaac descended from potters and brickmakers. Isaac was a potter and in 1965 There was a documentary made about Isaac Button, called Isaac Button – Country Potter.

“Britain’s potters have organised a unique tribute to a crusty Yorkshire-man, Isaac Button, whose unsung role in reviving the craft is earning belated recognition.

“Button’s importance lay in his survival at a time when the traditional country potter had almost disappeared. A fortuitous film of him working just before he retired in 1964 – though frequently veiled in smoke from his pipe – then played a seminal part in the spectacular revival of country potteries.

“He insisted in making his own bricks to build this place and no two are the same size.”

The Guardian, October 31st 1988
The kiln at Soil Hill Pottery. Credit: unknown

“Isaac Button was a true English country potter. In a day, he could turn a ton of clay into pots. I timed him as he threw a lump of clay on to the wheel, pulled it high, then cut it off with wire: 22 seconds. In an hour, he could turn out 120 pots. In a day, 1,200.

Button’s kiln, at Soil Hill, near Halifax, now lies cold and desolate. He died in 1969. But the 41-minute video that records his dexterity had me on the edge of my seat. In his day, speed was essential. Even before the packaging revolution, household pots and jugs made from clay were treated as disposables. They cost only a few pence. Craftsmen potters had to be quick to earn a living from poorly-paid villagers…

By 1900 England had only 100 country potteries and by the end of the depression a mere dozen. There has been a pottery at Soil Hill since the 17th century. Before the war it employed 13 men. After that, Button could find no more apprentices and worked it alone for 18 years.

The Independent, November 18th 1995. John Windsor.
Soil Hill. Credit: Lakeside Pottery
Facts
  • 28 Jun 1903 - Birth - ; Soil Hill, Halifax, Yorkshire, England
  • 15 Oct 1969 - Burial - ; West Yorkshire, England
  • 12 Oct 1969 - Death - 2 Upper West Scausby, Bradshaw ; Halifax, Yorkshire West Riding, England
  • 8 Oct 1970 - Probate - No others mentioned on probate. £1109. ; Leeds
  • 1939 - Residence - Soil Hill Pottery, Coal Lane, Halifax. Lives with wife Jessie Button and daughter Joan Bu ; Yorkshire (West Riding), England
  • 1911 - Residence - Soil Hill Pottery, Coal Lane, Halifax. Son of Arthur and Caroline Button. ; Halifax, Yorkshire-West Riding, England
  • 1963 - Web Address - Isaac Button Country Potter (Documentary): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezpjvoB_Qfk&
  • 1939 - Residence - Soil Hill Pottery, Coal Lane, Halifax. Lives with wife Jessie Button and daughter Joan Bu ; Yorkshire (West Riding), England
  • 1911 - Residence - Soil Hill Pottery, Coal Lane, Halifax. Son of Arthur and Caroline Button. ; Halifax, Yorkshire-West Riding, England
Ancestors
   
Isaac Button
abt 1840 -
 
   
  
  
?
 
Isaac Button
28 Jun 1903 - 12 Oct 1969
  
 
  
?
 
 
Caroline Shaw
abt 1864 -
  
  
  
?
 
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Isaac Button
Birth28 Jun 1903Soil Hill, Halifax, Yorkshire, England
Death12 Oct 1969Halifax, Yorkshire West Riding, England
MarriageJan 1931to Jessie Inman at Skipton, Yorkshire West Riding, United Kingdom
FatherArthur Button
MotherCaroline Shaw
PARENT (F) Jessie Inman
Birth20 Aug 1904
Death
MarriageJan 1931to Isaac Button at Skipton, Yorkshire West Riding, United Kingdom
Father?
Mother?
CHILDREN
FJoan Button
Birth3 Nov 1931
Death