Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mysteries solved - Crossfords and Syrem....

This is a Crossfords Kiwi Family plate - a cute pic but until recently I had absolutely no info about it, despite much googling and enquiring.

Then out of the blue I got an email from a friend who knew the person who designed it!  So here's the story of Bettina McCulloch and the Crossfords Kiwi Family. 

In the early 1980s Bettina was a signwriter for Hugh Wrights Menswear shop in Auckland.  The small team worked from a studio in Exchange Lane off Queen St and in their down time they did design work for Crossfords, a nearby souvenir shop. Bettina believes that most of these plates were sold to tourists and are probably overseas - certainly you don't see many around.

During the early 1980s Bettina also designed a range of sew-on badges for Crossfords - here are a few examples. I saw one for sale on TradeMe the other day.
Since leaving Hugh Wrights, Bettina has continued with her commercial art work, among other things she has designed ceramic tiles and murals.

I believe I have also found an answer to the Syrem question.  On 4 November 2012 I devoted a whole post to items with Syrem backstamps. I could not of the life of me find out what Syrem meant - the only thing I found was obscure references in German... then the lovely Alan Topham, long-term Crown Lynn marketing manager and later GM, had a flash of inspiration - he believes that Syrem was an anagram for Myers, an Australian chain which he recalled had a department store in Wellington. This is a Teddy Syrem plate.

And this is a Syrem lunch/cake plate.
Note this later research from Ev on the NZ Pottery site:  Thought I had recalled seeing Myers in the Decoration Advices and took a look. How wonderful to find that Florida Pat.No. 957 was made for Myers in around 1965!! Ivy Leaf Pat.No. 979 is listed as a J. Myers Ltd Exclusive around 1967!
Alan also enlightened me on another long-standing question - why are several Crown Lynn patterns named Sylvia - Sylvia Blossom Time, Sylvia Corvette, Sylvia Rose, etc etc. Alan told me that for many years Tom Clark had a secretary called Sylvia Dunbar, and these patterns may have been named after her - a nice thought!  Here are a couple of pretty Sylvia patterns. Once again, what lovely backstamps. This is Sylvia Blossom Time:

And here is Sylvia Rose Kelston:
More soon
Take care



  1. Love it! A nice bit of kiwiana.. Those CRosslands badges seem really familiar to me.. Great little story about Sylvia the Secretary!

  2. Bravo Well Done Val !!!
    It's great to see those questions answered !!

  3. Thanks for comments guys... just little niggling questions that slowly we find answers for. It's amazing where info comes from out there.

  4. I have a Crossfords beer mug with a flag a kiwi and nz written on front.

  5. Wonderful. Does it have a Crown Lynn mark on the base?

  6. Did Crossford have a Koru design under the Crown Lynn flag

    1. Sorry John, I am not quite sure what you mean here... can you give me a fuller description of what you are after and I can pass on your query to someone who can probably help.