The business that became known as the Martin Boyd Pottery was first set up in 1946 by Guy Boyd (son of the Victorian potter Merric Boyd) while he was an art student at East Sydney Technical College. The Pottery operated from a house in Waters Road, Cremorne, which he shared with Norma Flegg and her husband, Leonard. A student by day, Guy Boyd threw pots at night, with Norma firing the kiln as well as taking on much of the decorating. In the early days of the business additional decorating work was undertaken by contract workers who included Guy's brother, David, Hermia Lloyd Jones (later Hermia Boyd) and Peter Rushforth.
As the business continued to grow, Duncan Miller, Guy's army friend and Norma's husband, Leonard, became involved with the running of the Pottery. In 1948 with Guy Boyd, Norma and Leonard Flegg and Duncan Miller as business partners, 'The Martin Boyd Pottery' was registered as a business name. To cope with the Pottery's continuing expansion, premises were also rented at Ocean Street, Woollahra. Duncan Miller ran this site.
In 1949, the Martin Boyd Pottery moved to Princes Street Ryde, when a former bakery was bought for the new Pottery premises. Duncan Miller had left the business by this stage and following Guy Boyd's return to Victoria in early 1951, Ronald Flegg, Leonard's brother, came on board as joint production manager (with Norma) and accountant. Leonard took care of sales and some of the bookkeeping.
Using techniques such as wheel throwing, jigger jolleying, moulds and slipcasting, the Pottery took orders for a wide variety of domestic items which included: -ashtrays (in square, contoured, Mexican hat and boomerang shapes), beer mugs, ramekins, egg cups, biscuit barrels, honey pots, fruit bowls, 15 piece coffee sets, 30 piece luncheon sets, flower pots in various sizes and lamp bases.
By August, 1956, the Martin Boyd Pottery had a range of 177 items on their Price List, many of which were available with any of the following decorations :-'Underglaze Hand painted Decorations (Figures, Scenes etc.)' 'Harlequin Ware - 2 tone (where applicable)' or 'Underglaze Hand-painted Abstract Designs'.
With a staff of skilled decorators, the Pottery was able to cater for a diverse range of custom orders. A business customer in Cunnamulla wrote, "My brother Duncan Thompson, Toowoomba, showed me last week a cup and saucer with Toowoomba written on the cup and an ashtray similar to an envelope with Toowoomba. Could I have these with Cunnamulla written thereon - would you please advise?" (1)
Another customer requested:
"...6 only 6" x 6" Tiles decorated with Abo. figures and heads. Picinniny, Lubra, Male head or figures (done by Maria if possible but not thin natives) assorted colors that blend together." (2)
As well as supplying Martin Boyd Pottery goods to the War Widows' Guild Gift Shop in Sydney's Rowe Street, Norma and Leonard Flegg were involved with and supported the War Widows' Guild of Australia over the years. The surviving correspondence for the years 1954 to 1956 shows Leonard Flegg attending their annual meetings and as letters of appreciation attest, supporting their fetes.
"We are holding another Fete in the grounds of our House, 39 Marlborough Street, Drummoyne, on Saturday 13 November next, and our President, Mrs L.L.Watkins, and Members of the Executive Committee, will appreciate it very much if you can make available a supply of your attractive articles for sale on this occasion...
Your donation will be deeply appreciated"
(handwritten annotation) "will go on Friday" (3)
and in 1956,
"We do thank you most warmly for your wonderful donation of two boxes of Martin Boyd Pottery for our Guild Fete and deeply appreciate your generous and sympathetic co-operation and help which means a great deal to us." (4)
The Martin Boyd Pottery was in turn promoted by a number of the businesses which stocked their goods. In 1956 a campaign was initiated by the Australian Government and headed by the Australian Minister for Trade, John McEwan, with the aim of boosting Australian exports worldwide. In New Zealand, the large department store Milne and Choyce Ltd. held a fashion parade and Australian exhibition. The exhibition (the proposal for which was described in a letter from Milne and Choyce to the Martin Boyd Pottery in January of 1956) featured such aspects of Australian life as the National Court of Australia, a sports pavilion with photographs and souvenirs, Aboriginal implements, paintings by Albert Namatjira and Australian ceramics "...We will, also of course, be devoting considerable window and store display space to your fine product." (5)
A number of other promotions featuring Martin Boyd Pottery products are mentioned in the correspondence, among them the 'Australia Today' exhibition at Georges of Melbourne, aimed at showing overseas Olympic visitors excellence in Australian production and one conducted by the Melbourne department store, James McEwan & Co. Pty. Ltd., which is detailed in letters to the Martin Boyd Pottery from their Melbourne agent, L.J. Wahlers and Co. Pty Ltd.:-
"Mr Male (from McEwan's) called in to-day to say that their displayman was ready to do their "Made in Australia" window first thing in the morning..." (6)
"... we do thank you for your immediate despatching of the photographs which were handed to Mr Male first thing yesterday. He was very pleased with them and they have been well placed in their display. You will be interested to know that he was able to have one of the main front windows for this Made in Australia show, and have mainly concentrated on Martin Boyd Pottery." (7)
This display preceded a full-page advertisement in Melbourne's The Argus newspaper which promoted the Martin Boyd Pottery thus :- " Frolic in a Fiesta of Colour Match them or contrast them Alluring Handmade Pottery by Martin Boyd
Who says mealtime can't be colorful? This is Personality Pottery. The kind you've only dreamed about...Soft pastels-riotous colours, bright and gay as Carnival Time! Martin Boyd-A great Australian Exponent of the Potters Art-ranking with the finest in the world.." (8)
On a smaller scale, a letter to the Martin Boyd Pottery from their Melbourne agent, LJ Wahlers says:-
"We are enclosing a photograph of Mr Bruce Rutherford's shop at Yarrawonga, Victoria. As you can see he has a very good window display of Martin Bord Pottery. Mr Rutherford was very proud of it and thought you might be interested in seeing his show. 
1956 correspondence with QANTAS shows them placing a number of orders for Martin Boyd ceramics featuring Aboriginal designs. Some of these were sent to the London office of QANTAS. In January of the same year an article on the Martin Boyd Pottery appeared in the QANTAS publication 'Airways'. More exposure came in June 1956 when Fox Movietone News made a newsreel about the Pottery, which was released in all Sydney cinemas and later shown in Melbourne.
The Martin Boyd Pottery continued to operate thoughout the 1950s, reaching its peak in 1957-58 when around 80-85 people were employed. Its eventual closure came about in 1964, when, according to Norma Flegg, "Recessions in the early sixties severely curtailed markets forcing the retrenchment of highly skilled and valued staff." 
This administrative history was compiled by archivist Jill Chapman using The Martin Boyd Pottery archives, notes from research undertaken by Grace Cochrane and Victoria Kimpton and Megan Martin's draft history of the Martin Boyd Pottery.