Some key dates in the history of Crested China and English Potteries

Crested China started in the 1880s and its heyday came to an end following the Great Depression of the 1930s. However, potteries – like W H Goss which started the Crested China craze – were in existence long before, and are relevant to other forms of ceramic collecting (like decorative plates). Other manufacturers, seeing Crested China as a lucrative market, diverted from their usual products (everything from tableware to wash basins) to develop their own offerings as a sideline. While manufacturers – like Arcadian – were set up specifically as competitors to W H Goss in the Crested China market (but then expanded into other areas).



1730 (baptismal certificate date 12 July) – Josiah Wedgwood, the Father of English Pottery, born at Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent. The youngest child (out of 13) of Thomas Wedgwood, his family's connections with the pottery trade dated back generations to at least the 17th Century.


1733 – Josiah Spode, founder of the Spode Pottery at Stoke-on-Trent, born.


1750 (some sources state 1740) – John Rose establishes pottery at Coalport, and transfers work from Caughley and surrounding areas to the new factory.


1755 (8 May) – Josiah Spode, son of the founder of the Spode Pottery at Stoke-on-Trent, born. He was later involved in the founding of Fenton Park Colliery.


1759 – Josiah Wedgwood, the Father of English Pottery, established his own business at Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent (there was a later Josiah Wedgwood, 1899-1968, a descendant who also became a master potter).


1765 – Thomas Minton born.


1778 – Josiah Spode Jr opened a retail outlet in London. It moved and expanded, and established 'Stoke China'.


1784 – Josiah Spode Jr credited with perfecting the process of underglaze transfer-printing on earthernware in blue.


1790 – Fenton Park Colliery founded (by, among others, Josiah Spode Jr). It was the first joint potters' coal company.


1792 – Ridgway Brothers (Job and George) introduced Ridgway ware – a type of Staffordshire pottery – at their Bell Works, Shelton, Hanley.


1793 – Thomas Minton established his pottery in Stoke-on-Trent. His second son, and future potter, Herbert born.


1797 – Josiah Spode, founder of the Spode Pottery at Stoke-on-Trent, died.


1798 (circa, some sources state 1800, others 1799) – Josiah Spode Jr introduced bone china. The first English potter to do so.


1799 – Josiah Spode Jr, with others, secured lease on Carlogass china clay pit in Cornwall.


1802 – F & R Pratt & Co Ltd established at Fenton Potteries, Stoke-on-Trent.


1805 – Spode's London retail operation handed over to partnership between William Spode (Josiah Spode Jr's son) and William Copeland (employee who joined in 1784). 


1811 – William Spode retired and partnership with William Copeland dissolved. However, a Spode-Copeland partnership replaced the original agreement.


1815 – John Doulton and John Watts establish the Doulton & Watts Pottery at Lambeth in London.


1824 – William Copeland's son, William Taylor Copeland, entered the Spode-Copeland partnership.


1827 (16 July) – Josiah Spode Jr died.


1829 – The Alcock Pottery Ltd established. Harold Taylor Robinson's father's (James Alcock Robinson's) second name was his mother's maiden name. So there is a distinct possibility of a family connection.

–  Josiah Spode (III) died. Spode-Copeland partnership continued but as various combinations of the Copeland name (but eventually returned to Spode-Copeland).


1836 – Thomas Minton died.


1840s – Herbert Minton (second son of Thomas Minton) created Parian porcelain (named after the Greek island of Paros, which was famous for its marble quarries), which became for popular in making busts and other statues.


1851 – Ford & Pointon Ltd established at Hanley.

– Majolica and Parian porcelain launched at the Great Exhibition.


1854 – Adolphus William Henry Goss born.


1856 – Minton received Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria.


1857 – Wardles' Art Pottery believed to have been founded.


1858 – Believed to be the start date of W H Goss Potteries. Founded by William Henry Goss. Who set up business next to his former employers, Copeland China, in Stoke-on-Trent.

– Herbert Minton died.


1871 – Lambeth School of Arts student started to decorate Doulton pottery (by John Doulton's son, Henry).


1876 – Alfred B Jones established a pottery firm.


1877-78 – Henry Doulton bought Pindar, Bourne & Co factory at Burslem, Staffordshire. After 1882 it was renamed Doulton & Co.


1880s – Firm of W H Goss introduce Crested China. An idea attributed to Adolphus Goss, a son of the owner William Henry Goss. However, William had previously created a range of pots bearing the crests of areas known for educational establishments – like public schools and universities.


1890 – James Robinson, William Herbert Robinson (brother), and James Frederick Wiltshaw found Wiltshaw & Robinson.


1893 – Adolphus Goss of W H Goss introduced a range of coloured (painted) buildings based on real life examples (including Shakespeare's cottage) – forerunners to the Lilliput Lane miniature replica buildings of today.


1897 – Henry Doulton, son of founder John Doulton, died.


1899 – Harold Taylor Robinson, son of James Robinson, begins career as 22-year-old working as a traveller (essentially a sales agent) for his father's firm, Wiltshaw & Robinson, the makers of Carlton China.


1900 (1 January) – Alfred B Jones takes his sons (N B Jones and A B Jones Jr) on as partners and creates A B Jones & Sons Ltd, which used the trade name Grafton (later Royal Grafton).


1901 – Doulton & Co received Royal Warrant from King Edward VII, and from 1902 are able to sell their products as Royal Doulton.


1903 – Harold Taylor Robinson sets up his own firm, Arkinstall & Son, which uses the trade name Arcadian. Arkinstall appears to be his maternal grandmother's maiden name.


1904 – The League of Goss Collectors – a dedicated collectors' club formed. League models were decorated with a crest that featured the League's arms, which were based on the Goss crest and the Latin motto 'Semper Fidelis' (Always Faithful / Forever Faithful). Although it is better known today as the US Marine Corps motto, abbreviated as 'Semper Fi'.


1906 – William Henry Goss died.


1907 – The Grindley Hotel Ware Co Ltd established.


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


1910 – Harold Taylor Robinson 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 he had bought or controlled.


1914 – Outbreak of WWI and the end of British Crested China imported from Germany. Although they resumed after the war finished in 1918 they never regained their place in the market.


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

(31 July) – Harold Taylor Robinson 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 – Harold Taylor Robinson 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.

– the 1921 Coal Strike had a serious impact on all potteries. Major George A Wade, managing director, George Wade & Sons Ltd, Manchester Pottery, Burslem begins experimenting with using oil as a coal-substitute in the firing ovens.


1925 – Cauldon Potteries Ltd launches a debenture to fund the takeover of Coalport China Co.


1926 – Major George A Wade, managing director, George Wade & Sons Ltd, announces that he has perfected his experiments and converted 20 ovens to use oil. However, as developments in 1958 showed not everyone followed his lead.

– having transferred production of Coalport China to Stoke-on-Trent, Cauldon Potteries Ltd sold the Coalport China works, and the village of Coalport (the works buildings now house a Coalport China Museum).


1927 – Harold Taylor Robinson took control of Crown Derby Porcelain Co.


1929 – Firm of W H Goss sold to Cauldon Ltd, whose managing director, Harold Taylor Robinson, bought it off the firm and set up W H Goss Ltd.

– The Great Depression of the Thirties started in the US in the summer of 1929. It soon spread and affected all the world's major economies. The US was the worst affected with a decline in production of 46.8 per cent at the peak of the crisis. The US economy started to recover in 1933. Overall Britain, didn't fare as badly, starting its recession in 1930 and recovery starting towards the end of 1932 (and, at its worst, industrial production only fell by 16.2 per cent). However, potteries which did a substantial amount of overseas trade (particularly with the US) were badly affected. Many never recovered.


1930 – HTR, through Cauldon Potteries Ltd, bought W H Goss from receivers, which sold it to him. HTR launched 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 – Crash of the Harold Taylor Robinson business empire – Cauldon Potteries Ltd placed in receivership, and he filed for bankruptcy. Over the next few years Cauldon assets sold off.


1934 (13 February) – Adolphus William Henry Goss, the creator of Crested China, died.


1939 – Harold Taylor Robinson moves 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.


1953 – Harold Taylor Robinson died, aged 75.


1955 – Doulton and Co Ltd, makers of Royal Doulton, change name in October to Doulton Fine China Ltd.


1958 (11 August) – announcement that Coalport China Co and Cauldon Potteries joint factory in Stoke-on-Trent would close down and production transferred elsewhere, as the facility was too large and its coal-fired ovens had already been closed down due to the Clean Air Act.


1962 – Pountney & Co Ltd, a Bristol firm, acquired Cauldon Potteries Ltd.


1963 (31 July) – Foley branded china production ceased. E Brain & Co, which had produced it for four generations, concentrate on production of Coalport China. 


1964 – The Lawley Group Limited changed their name to Allied English Potteries Limited after merging with Thomas C Wild & Sons. They also acquired Royal Crown Derby Porcelain Ltd.


1966 – Crown House Investments of Morden bought A B Jones & Sons of Longton, Stoke – the manufacturers of Royal Grafton.

– Allied English Potteries Limited bought Shelley China and Shelley Furnaces.


1967 – Wedgwood Group, founded by Josiah Wedgewood, bought E Brain Ltd, the makers of Coalport China.


1968 – Makers of Royal Doulton merged with the makers of Minton.

– Wedgwood Group bought Johnson Brothers (makers of Hanley).


1971 – Royal Doulton makers became part of the Allied English Potteries (AEP) group (itself part of a larger conglomerate, which included banking and publishing), and takes on production of Royal Albert.


2005 – Royal Doulton bought by Irish Waterford Wedgwood group (deal was announced at the end of 2004). The Royal Doulton factory at Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent closed in April and production transferred to Wedgwood factory at Barlaston (and a small facility attached to the visitor centre at Etruria).


2009 – Irish Waterford Wedgwood group went into administration. Most assets bought by KPS Capital Partners (US private equity firm), which continued parts of the business as WWRD (Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton). Also produces Royal Albert and Minton.


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