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British Industrial History

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John Beswick

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An earthenware and china manufacturer, of Gold Street, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Telephone: Longton, Staffs, 3469. Cables: "Beswick, Longton". (1929)

  • c.1890 James Wright Beswick began earthenware manufacture at the Albion Works, Longton, moving to the Britannia Pottery, High St, Longton, in 1892 and finally, in 1896, to the Gold Street Works, Longton. His elder son John Beswick joined his father in the mid-1890s[1].
  • 1894 The business was founded by James Wright Beswick with his sons John and Gilbert and John’s son, John Ewart. The business ran from the Gold Street Works as J. W. Beswick until about 1918.
  • Post WWI. The firm gradually expanded its activities after the 1914-1918 war, in fancy pottery for the home and over-seas markets.
  • 1918 the Warwick China Works in Chadwick St, Longton was purchased allowing the business to manufacture bone china ware and fancy items in addition to its extensive domestic earthenware.
  • 1920 John Wright Beswick died in May 1920 and John Beswick became the proprietor and driving force behind the expansion of the business. His brother Gilbert I Beswick appears to have played a lesser role in the business.
  • 1929 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Ornamental Earthenware: Vases, Flower Pots, Rose Bowls, Floating Bowls, Toilets, Trinkets, Biscuit Jars, Cheeses, Teapots. Domestic Ware: Teas, Muffins, Bowls, Bakers, Butters, Blancmanges, Mugs, Jugs, Fruit Sets, Hospital Ware. (Stand No. G.19) [2]
  • 1934 John Beswick died in October 1934 after a prolonged illness at the age of 65.
  • 1936 His son John died and the Company was then made a Limited company. The Managing Director was John Ewart Beswick and his Sales Director Gilbert Beswick, introducing new pieces to the range.
  • 1938 the business was incorporated as John Beswick Ltd with John Ewart Beswick and his two sisters Dorothy and Gladys Beswick as the Directors.
  • 1940 Extensive reconstructions were necessary for the growth of the business and major modernisation to the working conditions.
  • 1945 the adjoining premises of H. M. Willamson and Sons (sic) were acquired. This made it possible to convert the Gold Street factory to accommodate offices, potting and firing. The new premises provided the decorating, finished products, packing and despatch.
  • 1947 Advert in British Industries Fair Catalogue as Exhibiting Member of the British Pottery Manufacturers' Federation of Federation House, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Composite Exhibit. (Pottery and Glassware Section - Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1205) [3]
  • 1957 the factory of Thomas Lawrence was purchased to allow further expansion of production.
  • 1957 John Beswick Ltd became a listed public company.
  • 1969 John Ewart Beswick had no heir; in June 1969 he sold the entire share capital to Doulton and Co Ltd. They continued to produce new models but reduced the number of colourways and withdrew many pieces.
  • 1989 By August, the decision was taken for all Beswick to be produced under the Royal Doulton backstamp, all the animals produced were issued with a DA backstamp. Grey and palomino matts were withdrawn from the horses colourways and only a few continued to be available in gloss.
  • By the end of 2002 Royal Doulton ceased the manufacture of all Beswick products an end of an era for Staffordshire and the pottery industry.
  • 2003 The Gold Street works was sold to property developers.

  • Arthur Gredington was appointed modeller for animals of all kinds and is well known for this superb work of accurate and realistic animals. James Hayward also contributed to the high quality pieces as decorating manager from 1934 to art Director from 1957 he designed almost 3,000 decorations, patterns and glazing.
  • Albert Hallam contributed enormous skills when joined Beswick at the age of 14 as apprentice mould maker and became head of mould making and a modeller, creating butterflies, horses, dogs and cats modelled after Arthur Gredington’s retirement including the Norwegian Fjord Horse today a very sought after piece.
  • Beswick wares were extremely popular in England and abroad being one of the finest ranges available, they achieved remarkable success with highly specialised lines including life-like models, grave and gay, equestrian figures, dogs modelled from famous prize-winners, birds in great variety, wild and domestic animals, fish, tobyjugs, salad ware and cottage ware including Beatrix potter collection.

See Also

  • [2] Beswick - Animals - Collectables
  • Pottery History [3].

Sources of Information

  1. Pottery History [1]
  2. 1929 British Industries Fair p20
  3. 1947 British Industries Fair Adverts 398 and 399; and p30