Potter & Moore Vintage Compacts Heritage & History

Potter & Moore Vintage Compacts Heritage & History

Ephraim Potter and William Moore were born in the late eighteenth century. Both of them grew up in Mitcham, Southern England.  In 1749 they founded Potter & Moore. The business was a natural progression to profit from their talents and knowledge of physic gardening. The business partners used natural ingredients to create beauty and bath products. Such was their attention to detail and insistence that only the finest ingredients were used to create their wares that these products became hugely popular. The botanical gardens that we know today were preceded by gardens that were valued for their medicinal and aromatic herbs. These originate from the medieval times. Members of the medical profession were often those who were instrumental in creating physic gardens. Lavender cultivation was the main speciality of Potter & Moore.

Their London base was known as Lavender House and it was situated on Seymour Road, Leyton, E10. Telephone: Leytonstone 3334. Cables: "Narcissus, London"

 In the late Victorian era the firm was acquired by W.J. Bush & Co. As you can imagine Queen Victoria admired the scent of lavender. Her predecessor, Queen Elizabeth I required fresh lavender flowers to be available to her every day of the year. 

 Lavender oil is believed to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. These are often put to good use to treat insect bites and minor burns.  Research suggests that it may be useful for treating anxiety, insomnia and low moods. Hence the popularity of lavender pillows.

In 1937 the famous singer & comedienne, Gracie Fields opened their new factory on 4 July. She also became the face of Potter & Moore in a series of advertisements.



                         POTTER & MOORE CHRISTMAS GIFTS 1938                                

In 1938 Potter & Moore offered these the items for sale - top illustration 'No. C25. This delightful Coffret contains Lavender Water and Bath Salt Tablets. 2/6'. 'You will remember what a delightfully simple idea it is to select your gifts from Potter & Moore's one hundred and one intriguing suggestions.'

Middle - 'No. C.73. An ideal gift for men. Contains Shaving Brush & Shaving Bowl. 3/9'. 'Here is a choice of gifts ranging from a shilling to a guinea, handsomely boxed for presentation and containing greeting card ready for posting.'

Bottom product - 'No. C.51. This years most popular selection contains Lavender, Powder-Cream Talcum & Bath Salts. 5/'  'These iresistable gifts appealing in their wide variety to young & old alike, are as useful as they are enchanting-and of course the very name Potter & Moore is the hallmark of perfection in Perfumery.'

In 1938 gift sets were priced at 1/-, 1/6, 1/9, 2/6, 2/9, 3/6, 4/-, 5/- to 21/-.

Presentation bottles were sold for 1/6, 2/6, 4/6, 7/6, 10/6 to 21/-.




Potter & Moore's Powder Cream was available in 'six flattering shades'. 'Handbag Tubes' retailed for 6/d. 'Mirror Fitted-jars' cost 1s. 'Dressing-table Jars' sold for 2s 6d'.

The advertisement is tantalizing - 'Potter & Moore's Powder Cream is the only cream with the secret ingredient which not only gives your complexion a perfect matte powder finish, but is specially designed to guard, nourish and beautify that precious skin underneath.'

The firm was a listed exhibitor at the 1947 British Industries Fair. ‘Manufacturers of Mitcham Lavender Water and a range of Toilet Requisites, Eau de Cologne, "Ecstasy" Perfume, etc., Powder-Cream, Face Powders, Lipsticks, Brilliantines, Bath Crystals, Bath Salt Tablets, Sachets and Smelling Salts. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1284)’




In 1953 Potter & Moore used the tagline 'To complete your Christmas Shopping'. 

Gifts included 'Flasks of Mitcham Lavender in Boxes' priced at 3/6d. 5/- 6/9d. 11/3d. 15/9d.

'Talcum Powder And Bath Salts Tablets 5/9d.'

'Shaving Bowl And Brilliantine 8/10d.'




At first glance you may think this is a Yardley Lavender Seller compact but it was made by Potter & Moore c. 1930. This company was established in 1749 by the physic gardeners Ephraim Potter & William Moore who specialized in growing lavender. Their location was rural Mitcham. Their Eveline Road premises extracted lavender oil . This area of England had been known from the 1500s to produce lavender. The company's reputation for high quality products guaranteed their success & they are still in business today.

 This gorgeous antique compact is in excellent condition. The lid still beautiful - a lady in an emerald green hat, shoes & dress with a black bodice riding side-saddle on a black horse holding a sprig of lavender aloft. The horse has been fitted with huge panniers which are full of lavender. The background has subtle creams and yellows, the lower ground is gold, brown & grey. The most charming of vanities & without any fading to this durable lid at all. 



The powder well still has the original paper leaflet. This leaflet details all six shades of ‘tints’ - starting with the fairest first - ‘RACHEL, NATURELLE, RACHEL FONCE, BLANCHE, ROSEE, SUNBURN’. The leaflet also states ‘ POTTER & MOORE MITCHAM LAVENDER COMPACT POWDER (RACHEL) REFILLS CONSISTING OF A POWDER GODET WITH A NEW PUFF ARE AVAILABLE PRICE 1/ EACH. LABEL PRINTED IN ENGLAND’.  The original powder pan is present too.  


The base has a beautiful guilloche engraving & it is signed 'POTTER & MOORE MITCHAM'.    

In 2003 another British company, Creightons Plc acquired Potter & Moore

Potter & Moore personal care products are being produced in the twenty first century and they are still held in high regard. This brand is one of the leading names in grooming and bathing products. The company has two manufacturing sites in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and Tiverton in Devon.

More antique and vintage powder compacts.