Whimsical Wades Whimsical Wades

About the author

            Pat Murray

A word from the author...

I was born in London, England in November 1944. My very first 'Wade' piece, though I did not know it at that time, was the Drumbox model "Jem on the Tuba". It was given to me on my 13th birthday by my Great Aunt. I remember it well, as my father was disgusted that my aunt, a very well to do lady, had spent a measly 2/6d (about l2cents) on a birthday gift for her only great niece! I still have "Jem" in my collection.

My next Wade piece, again unknown to me at the time, was the large and medium elephants from the "Elephant Train" set. I was then 14 years old and had decided I wanted to collect Elephants. I had over a hundred by the time I married and five of them were 'Wades'.

It was my younger daughter Amanda, who started me researching and writing about Wades in 1974. It was her 6th Birthday party and she was given little boxes of 'whimsies' by her friends. She loved them and soon her bedroom window sill and wall shelves were full of them, as Grandmothers, Aunts and family friends started buying them for her as treats (at 2/9d each they were certainly not going to break the bank!). Amanda was always asking questions: "Where does this one go?", "When was this set made?", "How many more are there?". All these questions had to have answers. By then I (an antique dealer since 1970) had started to find other little "whimsical" animals in dealers' "junk boxes" on the floor underneath their tables at antique shows. By then I too had been bitten by the Wade Bug and we just had to know more!

In 1976 I started my research in earnest into the origin of each little model. By the time Amanda was 10 years old (1978), I had so much information on Wades, that Amanda said "Mummy, why don't you put it all together and write me a book?" and that is just what I decided to do. It took me almost 6 years to put my first book "Whimsical Wades" together. I did not have a typewriter so all the pages were hand written. (I still have that first manuscript). Each time I found a new model and then discovered what year and what set it belonged to, I had to cut my hand written pages in two, insert a slip of paper with the new model information on it and then glue the pieces back together into a whole sheet. What a boon a computer with cut and paste features would have been then!

I wrote to 'George Wade and Son' in early 1980 and a few weeks later we received a large package of advertising material from Mr. W. J. Tams who at that time was the commercial manager for George Wade and Son. In 1983, George Anthony Wade (known as Tony), invited me to the pottery to discuss the editing of "Whimsical Wades" by Mr Derek Dawe who was then the Sales Administration Manager for George Wade and Son.

After trying for three years to get various publishers interested in "Whimsical Wades", I decided in 1986 with the help and encouragement of "Tony" Wade, Chairman of the Wade Potteries to go it alone and publish "Whimsical Wades" myself. We re-mortgaged the house to pay for the venture, but it was worth it. My first book "Whimsical Wades" is still being sought now as a collectors item in it's own right. A copy sold for 55.00 (sterling) at Phillips Auction in November 1997. Since that date I have written a total of eight books about "Whimsical Wades".

In 1989 I emigrated to Ontario, Canada with my husband and daughter Amanda. We were joined later by my mother and elder daughter Marcia and grandson Daniel. I brought my Wade collection with me which then numbered 4,000 pieces. I had to pack every one! It took 9 months altogether. For the past few years I have been selling pieces so that I can buy older and more expensive models. I now have approximately 3,000 pieces in my collection. I am still collecting and still researching and still writing about "Whimsical Wades".

Pat Murray
January, 1998

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