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British Industrial History

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New Hall Pottery Co

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of New Hall Works, Hanley, Staffordshire. Telephone: Hanley 2367-8. Cables: "Toilet-Hanley"

  • In the late eighteenth century New Hall made ceramic history as the first pottery in Staffordshire to manufacture porcelain successfully. A previous attempt at Longton Hall had ended in failure in 1760.
  • c1780 A syndicate of Staffordshire's potters purchased Cookworthy's patent from Richard Champion, and under the latter's guidance settled at New Hall to make porcelain.
  • John Turner, famous in the annals of pottery, Potter to the Prince of Wales, was a founder member of the company by whom Shelton Hall (New Hall) was acquired. This company was Hollins, Warburton and Co, and it was they who acquired Champion's patent and began to make porcelain. This, the second effort to establish the manufacture of porcelain in Staffordshire was successful, and marked the beginning of the Staffordshire porcelain industry.
  • 1787 John Turner died.
  • The joint stock company continued until 1835, when it was wound up.
  • Even after that the works, under various owners, continued in operation and so persisted until, in 1900, the present company was formed and took them over.
  • 1900 When the New Hall Pottery Co was founded in that year, they took over also the business of Plant and Gilmore, who had been tenants of Shelton (New) Hall since 1892. Thus the company was sited on already historic ground. The business owed its origin to Robert Audley, who, at the age of forty, with no experience, became a Master Potter.
  • 1900 Incorporated as a limited company.
  • 1908 The Company produced and sold more than 50,000 toilet sets of the Waverley shape alone.
  • 1913 'Turnover' was his yardstick from the first; and, in 1913 (when King George V and Queen Mary visited the Potteries) it was authoritatively asserted that 'the Company is known all over the world as the largest manufacturers of cheap toilet sets and jugs.'
  • 1914 Listed as earthenware manufacturers. Specialities toilet ware, tea ware, jugs and cheese stands. Employees 320. [1]
  • An extensive reconstruction scheme was entered upon and before the first World War the factory had been equipped with a new potters' shop and biscuit warehouse as well as two new biscuit ovens. These were followed in the early war days by modern kilns, which took the place of the old four-mouthed kilns of earlier days.
  • Post-WWI. After the war, another sweeping reconstruction took place, for an important part of the factory had been burnt down and left in ruins for lack of building material. At this period Shelton Hall was still standing. It was now demolished and replaced by a well-designed three-storied building designed to house the packing department, the glost drawing warehouse and decorating shops. Three old intermittent glost ovens** were replaced by a recuperative and regenerative chamber kiln of 23 chambers. At the time when this was lit off (1921) there was probably no other factory in Staffordshire doing its glazing by gas. (In this 250 ft. long kiln the fire moved through the stationary wares, whereas in modern tunnel kilns bogeys carried the stacked wares through stationary firing zones).
  • Robert Audley took into partnership his two sons-in-law – Albert Cook and Harold Clive. The latter was an expert potter and a man of foresight. He realized that the demand for toilet sets was being killed by the growing popularity of fixed lavatory basins and that milk and beer bottles were supplanting jugs for certain everyday uses. He therefore turned his attention to dinner and hotel wares.
  • 1926-36 The economic situation during that decade was one of peculiar difficulty and anxiety for all the potteries, including New Hall. There was no coal and no work for months at one period.
  • 1929 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of all classes of General Earthenware for Domestic Use. Specialities: Toilets and Trinkets, Jugs, Dinner and Tea Ware, Flower Pots, etc. (Stand No. F.5) [2]
  • 1936 New Hall purchased the New Pearl Pottery to enlarge its capacity.
  • WWII During the second War, New Hall, though it remained in production, voluntarily closed its decorating departments and became a chief source of supply to the various ministries concerned with the supply to the armed forces. In the years immediately following, production gradually swung back into its customary lines for the home market, while the overseas trade was, by 1948, in excess of anything achieved before.
  • Post-WWII. After the war, a certain amount of reconstruction of out-of-date workshops resulted in improved conditions. The factory was re-powered and re-lit and many new machines were installed for the benefit of the firm and employees.
  • Note: **
    • Glost oven - An oven in which glazed pottery is fired; also called glaze kiln, or glaze. Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913).


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • [1] The Potteries Website
  • [2] Dictionary.Die