Is Staffordshire pottery still made?

Is Staffordshire pottery still made?

The pottery industry in Stoke-on-Trent is now a shadow of its former self. In the 1950s, over 30,000 people were employed in the ceramics industry. But this has gone into freefall since then due to imports and modern manufacturing techniques. 

However many Staffordshire firms continue to produce high-quality, hand-decorated pottery which can still be found all over the world. 

These include Royal Doulton (Burslem), Moorcroft (no relation) (Longton), and Wedgwood (Etruria). 

These businesses are part of larger corporations including Waterford Wedgwood PLC., WWRD Holdings Limited formerly known as Waterford Wedgwood plc., until 17 January 2009, and Royal Doulton Tableware Limited.

Royal Doulton has a large presence on the web with a good informative website. They have been making pottery for 160 years now, and they deal directly with retailers such as Amazon.

Staffordshire pottery, also called Staffordshire ware, is earthenware produced in Staffordshire, England. It was first made at the start of the 18th century after Wedgwood created cream-colored earthenware that proved very popular.

It was during the Victorian age that Staffordshire Potteries became known worldwide, for their fine china wares, and earthenwares. 

Is Staffordshire pottery still made today?

Most definitely! Despite a diminishing market, Staffordshire pottery is still produced in large quantities. 

It’s estimated that 30% of all British-produced earthenware is from Stoke-on-Trent in the Midlands county of Staffordshire, a region which has for centuries been a manufacturing hub in both ceramics and coal mining. 

It’s also worth noting: that there are many different methods used when making pottery these days. For example, mass production utilizes machines to mix up batches of clay before they fire them at high temperatures when more traditional techniques use ingredients that require lower firing temperatures (such as slip casting or jiggering).

What are Staffordshire Pottery collectibles?

The history of Staffordshire pottery dates back to 1730 when Josiah Wedgewood’s creamware revolutionized the way people viewed ceramics. 

Before 1730, most potteries were greenish when fired and not very high quality. By accident (or clever design), he realized he could make cream-colored earthenware that would appeal to the wealthy middle classes – but it would take another 30 years before the rest of the industry caught on!

From 1748 Staffordshire pottery manufacturers outside Wedgwood’s company were finally able to produce cream-colored earthenware after buying the secret recipe in exchange for agreeing to sell it exclusively in Britain. 

This made production in Staffordshire much more profitable than elsewhere, so things moved quickly from there.

Soon they started using other materials such as bone ash and flint, which helped them create a higher glaze, leading to a much finer finish. Also, the invention of transfer printing meant that pictures and patterns could be printed onto the pottery, which brought Staffordshire pottery into the mainstream.

During this time, items such as plates, storage jars, and tea services were being produced. The industry boomed during Victorian times when Queen Victoria was photographed with her family using Staffordshire ware as their everyday household crockery – boosting its popularity further. 

The demand for fine china (dishes) reached a fever pitch, and factories started opening all over England to meet it.

When was Staffordshire Ware first made?

From around, 1730 factory owners began copying Josiah Wedgewood’s creamware design – but it would be 30 more years before the rest of the industry caught up.

When were Staffordshire Pottery factories first opened?

The peak of pottery production in Stoke-on-Trent came during what we call ‘the long 19th century’ – or between 1815 and 1914. 

It’s sometimes referred to as the ‘Golden Age’ of English ceramics because so many different types of items were being produced, by so many manufacturers. 

At its height, there were nearly 200 potteries located within 20 miles of Stoke-on-Trent and over 40,000 people employed in the industry.

During this time, production became so efficient that many smaller potteries could not compete. The smaller factories then started closing down, leaving only a handful of large factories left.

When did Staffordshire Potteries close?

In 2016 M D Bennett & Sons Ltd ceased trading, making it the last factory closure in the town (so far). 

At its peak, more than 200 ceramics factories opened up within 20miles of Stoke on Trent – but by 2016, they had all closed, leaving just six remaining ones.

Is Staffordshire pottery marked?

Yes. All Staffordshire pottery is hand-made from locally mined clay and will carry a piece number on the base of its underside, usually only visible with the pot inverted. 

This can be used as a means of identification and to establish a date. The vast majority carried either a “painted” mark or a transfer printed mark, applied by specialist printers at Wolverhampton or Hanley in Staffordshire, respectively. 

A few specialist manufacturers, also marked their wares, for example, Wedgwood, who had their distinctive jasperware mark, as did Harvey’s Pottery, which specialized in soft-paste porcelain. 

Painted factory marks are often difficult to decipher, but the transfer printed ones are generally easy to read. 

Painted Factory Marks

Staffordshire pottery was made by many small manufacturers and would often be sold in their shops or to other retailers. 

This means that there is variation, even within individual types such as teapots or black-face jugs. 

Quite often, the only way we can establish who made something is through looking at the painted factory mark on its base. Many of these were hand-applied, so inaccuracies crept in, and it is not unusual to see marks on an item of earthenware that is different from what would be expected. But not to worry. There are books that, in most cases, will help you identify the piece you have.

Click here to view books on Staffordshire pottery at Amazon.

3 thoughts on “Is Staffordshire pottery still made?

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