Collections – Crested China (Part 2)


Other Themes


Alcohol or pub trade related – included Beer Barrel, Bottle Stopper, and Champagne Bottle.


Cartoon and comedy characters – included Felix the Cat, and Woody Woodpecker.


Comic and novelty items – included Jolly Policeman, and a 'Black Boy' range which are frankly embarrassing to modern eyes.


Countryside – included Acorn, Beehive, and Hay Stack.


Domestic Ware – included Ashtrays, Candlesticks, and Cream Jugs.


Historical / Folklore – included Archbishop of Canterbury's Hat, Ducking Stool, Lady Godiva, and Peeping Tom.


Monuments – included Banbury Cross, Sir Walter Scott statue, and Southport Lifeboat Memorial.


Musical instruments – included Bagpipes, Banjo, and Upright Piano.


Seaside souvenirs – included Bathing Machine (Victorian), Lifeboat, and Lighthouse.


Shoes – included Highboot, Hobnail Boot, and Dutch Clog.


Sport – included Cricket Bag, FA Cup, and Golf Club.


Traditional / National souvenirs – included Cheddar Cheese, Cornish Pasty, Lancashire Clog, and Luton Boater.


Transport – included Charabanc with Driver, Motor Horn, and Can of Petrol.


Harold Taylor Robinson (1877 – 1953)

Serial entrepreneur and at times controversial businessman who came to dominate the English pottery trade. He was reportedly the fourth generation of his family to be connected to the pottery industry. The family appears to use mother's maiden names as second names rather than hypenated surnames. His father's, James Alcock Robinson's, mother's maiden name was Alcock, and he married Mary Taylor (Harold Taylor Robinson's mother).


1899 – started working for his father's (James Alcock Robinson's) pottery firm – Wiltshaw & Robinson  – as a traveller.


1903 – set up his own company, Arkinstall & Co, which made Crested China under the trade name Arcadian. Arkinstall appears to be his maternal grandmother's maiden name.


1908 – J A Robinson & Sons took control of Wardles' Art Pottery.


1910 – HTR gained controlling interest in Robinson & Leadbeater (R & L), which he merged with Arkinstall & Co. In August, J A Robinson & Sons Ltd becomes main holding company for other pottery businesses HTR had bought or controlled.


1920 (1 January) – HTR bought Brown-Westhead, Moore & Co – which used the trade name Cauldon – from receivers.

(31 July) – HTR bought Ford & Pointon Ltd (which used the trade name Coronet. Although at least one source suggests he had a stake in this firm from 1910).

(31 August) – Harold Taylor Robinson bought F & R Pratt & Co Ltd.


1921 – HTR then merged eight pottery companies (Arkinstall & Son; Brown-Westhead, Moore & Co; F & R Pratt & Co Ltd; Ford & Pointon Ltd; George L Ashworth & Bros Ltd; J A Robinson & Sons Ltd; The Alcock Pottery Ltd; and The Grindley Hotel Ware Co Ltd) he owned or controlled into one business, Cauldon Potteries Ltd. Other directors named in the prospectus were: Walter Bakewell; Cuthbert Bailey; John Vivian Goddard; James Alcock Robinson (father); and Hubert Alcock Robinson (brother).

– the 1921 Coal Strike had a serious impact on all potteries.


1925 – Cauldon Potteries Ltd launched a £250,000 debenture to fund the takeover of Coalport China Co.


1927 – HTR took control of Crown Derby Porcelain Co.


1929 – the beginnings of what became The Great Depression. Spreading across the globe it had a severe impact on a number of pottery firms which depended on overseas markets.


1930 – HTR, through Cauldon Potteries Ltd, bought W H Goss from receivers, which sells it to him. HTR launches a new company W H Goss Ltd.

– HTR signed contract to buy The Worcester Royal Porcelain Co Ltd, which was in receivership but sale not completed.


1931 (10 January) – James Alcock Robinson died (he appears to have married again as his widow is named as Emily Robinson).


1932 – Cauldon Potteries Ltd placed in receivership, and HTR filed for bankruptcy. Over the next few years Cauldon assets sold off but bought by HTR's close friend and fellow Cauldon director John Vivian Goddard.


HTR went to work as a sales co-ordinator for Crescent Potteries, which was owned by Harrison & Sons Ltd who had also bought Coalport China and Cauldon Potteries Ltd.


1936 – HTR retired as sales co-ordinator for Crescent Potteries on health grounds.


1939 – HTR moved to Derby where he had somehow managed to retain interests, that he acquired in 1927, in the Crown Derby Porcelain Co, and became its chairman.


He turned around the fortunes of Crown Derby Porcelain Co, and became a leading figure in the town.


1949 (27 June) – as chairman and managing director of Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Co Ltd, he welcomed the then Princess Elizabeth on a tour of the North Midlands with the Duke of Edinburgh (who was visiting the Rolls Royce factory).


1951 – awarded the CBE in the New Year's Honours List in his capacity as Vice-Chairman, Derby Local Employment Committee.


1953 (23 January) – died at the age of 75, control of the company passed to his son Philip I Robinson.



Manufacturers / Trade names

There were a large number of companies involved in producing Crested China – particularly among the Staffordshire Potteries (especially at Stoke). These are some of the better known names. Some collectors focus on a particular theme, others on the actual manufacturer.


Arcadian – trademark used originally by Arkinstall & Son Ltd, a Stoke firm. Later, as a branch of J A Robinson & Sons, then Cauldon Limited and Coalport China Company Limited (John Rose & Company Limited). Arcadian were the largest manufacturers of British Crested China for many years.


Carlton – trademark used by Wiltshaw & Robinson Limited. Another Stoke firm.


Clifton – trademark used by branch of J A Robinson & Sons, then Cauldon Limited.


Goss – trademark used by William Henry Goss Limited. Recognised as the creators of Crested China. Another Stoke firm.


Grafton – trademark used by Alfred B Jones and Sons Limited. Company survived as Crown Lynn Ceramics and uses the trade name Royal Grafton.


Shelley – trademark used by Wileman and Company, founded around 1860 by F J Wileman and J E Shelley. From 1883 onwards company entirely run by Shelley family. They also used the trade name 'Foley' (after the name of the works – Foley Potteries) but they were not the only ones to use this name, and switched to using the owners' name, Shelley, from 1910. Company changed its name to Shelleys in 1925.


Swan – trademark used by Charles Ford. Firm started as T & C Ford in 1854, became Thomas Ford in by 1871, and then Charles Ford in 1874. Production of Crested China started around the beginning of the 20th Century, shortly before Harold Taylor Robinson gained control. He merged it with Robinson & Beresford in 1907, and it became a branch of J A Robinson & Sons Limited in 1910, and production was moved to the Arcadian works. The Swan mark appears to have disappeared after 1925 but before this identical pieces were produced but bearing either the Swan or Arcadian marks.


Willow – trademark used by Hewitt & Leadbetter, Willow Potteries. A partnership formed in 1905 between Edwin Leadbetter (the son of a partner in Robinson and Leadbetter – famed for their production of busts ie. 3D sculptures of the heads of famous people) and his brother-in-law, Arthur Hewitt. Edwin left in 1919 and Arthur's brother joined and the firm became Hewitt Bros. By 1925 Harold Taylor Robinson had bought control and created a new company, Willow Potteries Ltd. This soon became part of his Cauldon group. Willow designs were produced at the Arcadian works, and by 1930 the Willow name was dropped.


Some key dates

Crested China forms part of the bigger picture of the history of English Pottery, which is also relevant to other areas of ceramic (and in particular, porcelain) collecting.

Key date range for Crested China is from the 1880s to the 1930s.

Click here for Crested China and English Pottery key dates



More information

(Please note underlined links below will take you to the appropriate entry)

Crested China by Sandy Andrews

Goss and Souvenir Heraldic China by Lynda Pine (booklet)

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