Blue plaque to honour pottery collector

William Alfred Ismay. 'Photograph by John Anderson'
William Alfred Ismay. 'Photograph by John Anderson'

A plaque will be unveiled in honour of former Hemsworth librarian, who is considered to be the world’s most prolific collector of post-war British pottery.

William Alfred Ismay amassed one of the largest private collections in the world with more than 3,600 items and 10,000 archive records. Wakefield Civic Society’s 39th blue plaque - and the first of 2014 - will celebrate the life Mr Ismay, who died in 2001.

Kevin Trickett, president of Wakefield Civic Society, said: “This is another marvellous addition to our growing collection of blue plaques that help to commemorate Wakefield’s heritage helping to tell the story of some of the city’s most remarkable characters and buildings.”

He was approached by Helen Walsh, of the York Museums Trust, last year about the plaque.

Mr Trickett added: “She was working with artist Matthew Darbyshire on an exhibition at The Hepworth which included a display of Mr Ismay’s pottery. As a collector of national and even international significance, Mr Ismay is a very worthy nomination and one that the Wakefield Civic Society is pleased to support.”

Mr Ismay was educated at Wakefield Grammar School and Leeds University, where he studied classics. During the Second World War he served in the Royal Signals. Later he became a librarian and was the head librarian at the Hemsworth Library when he retired in 1975. He used his limited financial resources to build his collection, which he began in the 1950s.