The Harbutts

Paul Harbutt lived at No 59 from 1963 to 1968 and then moved, with his sister, to No 36 where he remained until 1973.

Paul Harbutt was a descendent of William Harbutt, the inventor of plasticine.

William Harbutt

William Harbutt was born in 1874 and came to Bath in 1874 as headmaster at Bath School of Art and Design. He went on to open his own art school in Bath with his wife Elizabeth (known as Bessie) who was a well known miniature portrait artist.

In 1897 he developed a non-drying clay for his sculpture students. A patent was taken out in 1899 and in 1900 the Harbutt plasticine business opened a factory in Bathhampton. He died in 1921 while on a trip to New York.

The business continued but in 1963, the same year Paul Harbutt came to live at No 59 Sydney Buildings, the factory burnt down and was replaced by a modern building.

Paul Harbutt was involved with the business while he lived at Sydney Buildings. He was unmarried, as was his sister, and childless, and is still remembered fondly by the Craig girls who lived at No 28 (see their reminiscences).

Further information on William Harbutt can be found at and photographs of the Harbutt factory at

Neal Kerss

July 2010

Sydney Buildings History Group ©