Southhook Pit, one of the oldest clay pits in south west Scotland is situated near Knockintiber, just outside Kilmarnock. Now closed down, it once belonged to Southhook potteries, Ltd., one of the countries foremost manufacturers of sanitary ware and bricks. The first recorded use of the site was in 1877 but it is probable that ironstone was worked their earlier. The clay was peculiarly free from impurities, and was specially adapted for the manufacturing of large pieces such as baths, urinals and sinks. The glazes were highly lustrous and guaranteed to be leadless and non-crazing. The pottery's Bonnyton works in Kilmarnock were where they manufactured most of their products including their salt-glazed drainage pipes. In 1963 Shanks acquired Southhook Potteries, and then 2 years later in 1965 Shanks & Co. also acquired J&R Howie from Hurlford, and traded under the name of Howie Southhook. Shanks Holdings Limited merged with Armitage Ware Limited in 1969 to form Armitage Shanks.
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