Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Paragon China Co

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1926. China Cup and Saucer made by special permission of H.R.H. Duchess of York.

of Atlas Works, Beech Street, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs. (1922)

of Atlas Works, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs. Telephone: Longton 3668. Cables: "Paragon, Longton". (1929)

Ditto Address. (1947)

  • The partners were initially Herbert James Aynsley, John Gerrard Aynsley and William Illingworth. Herbert was the eldest son of John, who founded the well-known firm of John Aynsley and Sons. He had gained much experience in the manufacture of good quality china, having been in business with his father for many years. John Aynsley retired in July 1900.
  • 1903 Paragon China was introduced as a trade mark by the Star China Co, owned by Herbert Aynsley, in 1903. This company began production at the St Gregory's Works, Gregory Street in Longton in the last few years of the 19th century and moved to the Atlas Works, Sutherland Road, Longton in March 1903.
  • 1907 Herbert Aynsley's youngest daughter married Hugh Irving, who was a sales representative for the Rubian Art Pottery Ltd in Longton. Irving subsequently joined his father-in-law as a partner in the Star China Company when Illingworth retired in 1910.
  • 1919 Such was the popularity of Paragon China that the company decided to change its name.
  • 1920 The firm became The Paragon China Company.
  • 1920s In the early '20s, new forms of decoration were used including gold printed patterns.
  • 1922 Listed Exhibitor - Late Entry - British Industries Fair. China Tea, Breakfast, and Dessert Ware for all markets; Patent Nesting Cups and Specialities for Hotel and Catering Trade (large range of exclusive designs for control). (Stand No. 38) [1]
  • 1927 Herbert Aynsley retired and ownership of the business passed to Hugh Irving and his sons Leslie and Guy. Hugh Irving, who had been in active control of the business for many years, became sole proprietor in September, when the partnership was dissolved.
  • Irving was a very astute businessman making the best of every opportunity afforded him. He introduced modern methods of publicity such as window display competitions for retailers and he organised events attended by celebrities of the day. These attracted much publicity in the national press, further encouraging shops to stock Paragon products.
  • The company manufactured bone china wares and, during the inter-war period, established a reputation for producing high quality tea and table wares. Nursery and toy wares were also a speciality having been part of the Star China product line since 1904.
  • Hugh Irving and his sons, Leslie and Guy, who had joined the business in 1928 and 1933, respectively, continued their association with the firm until it was taken over by T. C. Wild and Sons, manufacturers of Royal Albert bone china, in 1960. In July 1964, Wild and its subsidiary companies, including Paragon, merged with the Lawley Group Ltd which later that year changed its name to Allied English Potteries Ltd.
  • 1929 British Industries Fair Advert 'for everything in China Table-ware'. Manufacturers of China Ware of every description, Tea, Breakfast, Dinner and Dessert Ware, Coffee Sets, Gifts, Children's China, China for Tea-rooms and Cinemas. Decorations and shapes suitable for all markets. (Pottery Section - Stand No. G.9) [2]
  • 1930 The Company became known as Paragon China Limited. The name was selected deliberately - to allude to excellence and quality of product.
  • 1930s In the early '30s, new conical shapes with stepped ribs (Duchess shape) in the Art Deco style were produced to compete with companies such as Shelley and Aynsley. The export market was important to Paragon, selling predominantly to Canada, USA, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
  • WWII. The company continued to produced during the second World War.
  • By 1946 they had increased their range of products to include animal figures, breakfast sets, ashtrays, and eggcups.
  • 1947 British Industries Fair 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.1200) [3]
  • Paragon were fortunate enough to receive continued royal patronage, initially from the Duchess of York in 1926.
  • 1972 Incorporated into the Doulton Group. Despite all these changes of ownership, the Paragon name was retained as a separate identity, having strong marketing potential. Latterly traditional floral patterns were the mainstay of the product range with Royal commemoratives being produced and eagerly sought after.
  • After Paragon had become part of Royal Doulton in 1972, it continued to produce china under that name until 1991.
  • By 1989 the name and patterns had been absorbed into Royal Albert and by 1992 the Paragon name was discontinued. Some later Paragon patterns from this period continued in production under Royal Albert and were still available until the Royal Albert name was discontinued by Doulton.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1922 British Industries Fair p61
  2. 1929 British Industries Fair Folding insert facing Advert 112; and p131
  3. 1947 British Industries Fair Adverts 398 and 399; and p209
  4. The Times, 13 July 1964
  • [1] Paragon International Collectors Club
  • [2] Specialist Auctions
  • [3] China Marks