Rugby Memorabilia Society

An article about the Grogg Shop
Copied word for word from an old Welsh Rugby Magazine

Grogg shop image for the Rugby Memorabilia Society Article
The John Hughes team: Robert Osborne,
John Hughes, Richard Hughes, Kim Walter,
(nee Hughes), Susan Loverbridge.


There are many interesting and unusual facets which go to make up the overall Welsh rugby scene and one which is becoming increasingly prominent, concurrent with the success of the National "XV" is the influence of the John Hughes pottery family of traditional craftsmen, responsible for the lovingly modelled unique stoneware clay figures, of our national rugby heroes, plus others portraying the Welsh way of life.
John from a well known Ponypridd family, was originally a photographer in the area and years ago felt that something rather different could be produced, for posterity, to portray our modern Welsh rugby giants.
Mythology has always been part of our Welsh folklore; in the years ahead rugby players must be an essential part of that mythology. John decided that he and his family would do something to bring just that about.
They actually commenced operating in a coal shed near Treforest. Brian Price (Newport), Denzil Thomas (Ebbw Vale), were the first subjects of their creative art.
Keith Jarrett was another which closely followed and then the 1971 Grand Slam then Lions tour success, really stimulated what is now a major success story.
The former Danygraig Hotel in Broadway, Pontypridd, which is now the Hughes family home, pottery, showroom, rapidly becoming a museum focal point for visitors from all over the world, has a history of its own was purchased and it has now become somewhere well nigh indescribable, readers who have not been there must go to see for themselves. They will be made very welcome. The Hughes family, son Richard, daughter Kim together with Robert Osborne and Susan Loverbridge operate quietly, almost unnoticed to some of the visitors but their artistic gifts have now spread to the four corners of the world.
The aim, creating a humorous likeness of the subject, with an intense caricature-like crudity, for the skilled modelling to produce a unique end product.
As John with a twinkle in his eye commented, "We started doing forwards – we thought we had better make them of clay".
The family work essentially as a team; Richard and John the creators, Kim the eldest girl, mainly a painter; Susan Loverbridge does most things, Catherine comes in part-time, but they can all double up when the situation and demands require.
The Hughes family have become part of the rugby legend and will, increasingly so as the years go by. Although naturally, stars are in demand, any player is welcomed as a subject. All they require is any photo, even a wedding or passport type of photo will be sufficient. The rest just comes from their own creative ability. John Hughes, together with his family believe that they are producing for posterity an important part of Welsh life. If you have not been there, go, just see for yourself, you will be compelled to agree.

Peter Douglas-Davies
Rugby Memorabilia Society
Welsh Rugby Magazine – April 19