Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,946 pages of information and 233,606 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Susie Cooper Pottery

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of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs

1902 Born in the Stanfields area of Stoke-of-Trent, Susie Cooper was the youngest of seven children. From an early age she developed an interest in drawing, and began her art education by attending night classes at the Burslem School of Art.

1922 she joined A. E. Gray and Co, partially as a means to gain entry to the Royal College of Art. A. Edward Gray quickly discovered her talents as a painter and designer, and soon enough Susie was producing her hand-painted floral designs.

1929, motivated by her desire to design ceramic shapes in addition to decors, she broke away, with her brother-in-law Albert "Jack" Beeson, to set up her own business, as the Susie Cooper Pottery, in Tunstall. Disaster struck the newly founded company, as the landlord was made bankrupt.

1930 It was only in the spring of that year that business really began in the Chelsea Works, Moorland Road, Burslem, with Susie Cooper buying in earthenware shapes to be decorated with her own designs.

1931 she moved to share the Crown Works, Burslem, with Wood and Sons, her major white-ware supplier.

The event was celebrated with a new backstamp in the form of her famous leaping deer. Soon after, she launched the first of her much acclaimed pottery shapes.

Susie worked for many other pottery firms over the next several decades, including Wedgwood.

1940 she was awarded the Royal Designer for Industry by the Royal Society of Arts.

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 - Stands No. A.1196 and A.1245) [1]

1950s Expanded into porcelain, buying the Jason China Co, Longton.

1851 Designed a "Quail" shape for the royal pavilion at the 1951 Festival of Britain.

By 1952 the workforce had risen to 250.

1959 Acquired the Crown Works.

c.1961 Renamed Susie Cooper Ltd.

Gradually earthenware was phased out and the switch to bone china was complete by 1964.

1966 Became part of the Wedgwood Group.

In 1979 she received an OBE.

At the age of 80 she retired to live on the Isle of Man.

1995 Susie Cooper died on the Isle of Man on 28 July. Like other Potteries-based ceramic designers, such as Clarice Cliff and Charlotte Rhead, her work has become highly sought after and valued by pottery collectors.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1947 British Industries Fair Adverts 398 and 399; and p269
  • [1] The Potteries Website
  • [2] Wikipedia
  • [3] Susie Cooper Biography