Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Doulton and Co

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March 1872.
Foot warmer.
Bread Pan. Exhibit at the National Slate Museum.
June 1880.
June 1888. Plumbage crucibles.
December 1889.
July 1898.
July 1898.
July 1898.
July 1898.
1899.
1903. Water Softener.
1927.
1928.
1936.
November 1936. Carraware.
1959.
1961.
November 1963.
2017. A set of complete urinals (Doulton and Co) found May 2017 at Williamson Tunnels.
2017. Urinal detail at Williamson Tunnels.

Doulton and Co, of Royal Doulton Potteries, High Street, Lambeth, London, SE1; and Nile Street, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire. Telephone: London - Reliance 1241; Burslem - Hanley 7266. Cables: "Doultons, London"; "Doultons, Burslem". (1929)

Works at Lambeth, Erith, Dudley, Burslem, St. Helens, Paisley (1935)[1]

The Doulton Company produced tableware and collectables, with a history dating back to 1815. Operating originally in London, its reputation developed when it moved to The Potteries, where it was a relative latecomer compared with other leading names such as Spode, Wedgwood and Mintons. Today, its products include dinnerware, giftware, cookware, porcelain, glassware, collectables, jewellery, linens, curtains, and lighting, among other items.

Its three key brands are Royal Doulton, Royal Albert, and Minton. Together, the three brands make up Doulton Home, which is now part of the Waterford Wedgwood group. Most of the pieces in these three brands are manufactured outside the United Kingdom, in the Far East and Indonesia.


1815 John Doulton (1793–1873) used his life’s savings to make a £100 investment and become a partner in the pottery of Martha Jones in Vauxhall Walk, London, together with John Watts. The business became Jones, Watts and Doulton. It specialised in making stoneware articles, such as decorative bottles and salt glaze sewer pipes

1820 Mrs Jones withdrew from the business

1826 Doulton and Watts flourished, moving in 1826 to premises in Lambeth High Street.

1834 Doulton and Watts establishment at High St, Lambeth involved 12 men working 2 kilns per week[2]

Eventually 6 of John's sons joined the business including John junior (the eldest) and Henry who became an apprentice in 1835. Henry was to be the driving force behind a number of innovations which made the name of Doulton world famous. Their portfolio later extended to artistic pottery, ultimately embracing ornamental, commemorative, and tableware products.

1846 Henry Doulton left home to start his own business to make ceramic pipes for the sanitary market, taking full advantage of the revolution in sanitation during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). It established the world’s first stoneware pipe factory and went on to become Britain’s top Victorian manufacturer of sanitary ware. In addition Henry continued to help his father's firm of Doulton and Watts, and both concerns gradually expanded onto adjoining land and premises.

1853 John Watts retired.

1853 Doulton and Co was established by John and his son Henry as makers of fine English stoneware.

1855 Partnership dissolved: Doulton and Watts, potters, High St, Lambeth[3].

At some point the 3 businesses of Doulton and Watts, Henry Doulton and Co and the independent pipe works owned by Henry's brother, John Doulton junior, were brought together.

c.1857 John Sparkes, principal of the Lambeth School of Art, approached Henry Doulton with the idea of producing artistic ware. While the functional pottery business was so successful, there was little incentive to develop new product lines. Eventually Sparkes and Edward Cresy, an engineer and lifelong friend of Henry Doulton, convinced him to experiment with artistic designs. Much work was needed to solve the problems of making artware.

1862 Doulton and Watts demonstrated a potter's wheel at the International Exhibition[4].

1867 Henry Doulton presented the first examples of his art pottery at the Paris Exhibition.

1870 Doulton's technical problems with artware were finally solved.

By 1871, Henry Doulton had launched a studio at the Lambeth pottery, and offered work to designers and artists from a local art school. Their names included the Barlow family (Florence, Hannah, and Arthur), Frank Butler, Mark Marshall, Eliza Simmance, and George Tinworth.

1873 John Doulton senior died. By this time, the firm was an established leader in industrial ceramics, and was just entering the field of art pottery.

The revival by Doulton and Co of the salt glaze stoneware that came to be known as Doulton Ware was one of the major triumphs of the firm. From small beginning, the staff of artists and decorators (including such well-known names as George Tinworth and Hannah Barlow) rose to 345 by 1890.

1876 John Duneau Doulton registered the company's first trademarks.

1877/8 Doulton bought a small factory from Pinder, Bourne and Co at Nile Street in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire – a facility that handled tableware as well as ornaments and earthenwares. Doulton became increasingly popular, thanks mainly to the artistic direction of John Slater, who worked across a wide variety of figurines, vases, character jugs, and decorative pieces. The company was soon producing bone china at this factory.

1882 The name of the Burslem works was changed from Pinder, Bourne and Co to Doulton and Co Ltd.

1882 A new building was added to the High Street Pottery to cope with the demand for artware, which took numerous medals and prizes. This success was matched by growth in the Staffordshire potteries. The knighthood conferred on Henry Doulton in 1887 was a recognition of his outstanding achievements.

1884 Studio-based success prompted diversification. The business introduced new techniques and produced bone china from 1884. The ideas and inspiration of key individuals like John Slater and Charles J. Noke built its reputation in figurines, vases, and decorative pieces. When Henry died in 1897 he was widely mourned. But the Doulton name for fashion and functionality was spreading apace.

1889 The Lambeth establishment employed c.2000 people and there were another 2000 employees in other parts of the Doulton empire; drain pipe works were also at St Helens and Rowley Regis[5]

1891 Doulton and Watts, encaustic tile makers, filter makers and crucible makers, 28 High St, Lambeth. Doulton and Co was at Albert Embankment. [6]

1891 Henry Lewis Doulton became a partner.

1895 Doulton and Watts, Lambeth Pottery, London SE, manufacturers of Doulton ware, etc. Showroom at Albert Embankment. City showroom at Holborn Circus. Encaustic tile manufacturers, 24 High St, Lambeth. Doulton and Co (Lambeth Sanitary Engineering works) and makers of carbon filters, 24 High St, Lambeth[7].

1897 Henry Doulton retired in summer 1897, and died in November.

1898 Doulton and Co: offer of public shares in the company[8]. The growth of the company and the withdrawal of Sir Henry's capital had made this step necessary, which took place on 1 January 1899; Henry Lewis Doulton was chairman and managing director; the other directors were Ronald Duncan Doulton (Henry's nephew), Benjamin Hannen, a builder, and William Turnbull, a partner in a firm of china merchants.

1899 The company was registered on 29 November, to take over the business of Doulton and Co, of the Lambeth Pottery. [9]

1901 The popularity of Doulton products had come to the attention of the Royal Family and the Burslem factory was granted the Royal Warrant by the new King, Edward VII. It was this that enabled the business to adopt new back-stamp and a name that would last: Royal Doulton.

1911 Engineers (Sanitary) for the Railways.[10]

1914 Listed as potters and sanitary engineers. Specialities: the art pottery universally known as "Doulton Ware"; the "Lambeth Faience"; "Carrara" stoneware, largely used for architectural decoration; "Terra Cotta" for architectural use and horticultural ornaments; "Holbein", "Rouge Flambé", "Crystalline" glazes; fine earthenware and china. Employees 4,000. [11]

WWI Morgan Crucible Co acquired the crucible business of Doulton and Co

1918 Henry Lewis resigned the managing directorship and the chairmanship in 1925, being succeeded in both positions by his nephew Eric Hooper.

After the first World War, Royal Doulton went on to become synonymous with the finest English china worldwide. That name and reputation continued to grow with flambé ware, titanian ware, and bone china.

1929 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Fine China and Fine Earthenware for all services and all markets. Decorative Pottery, China Statuettes, Rouge Flambé, Chang and Sung. Also Lambeth Stoneware Art Goods. (Stand No. G.61) [12]

1938 In the past year had acquired the business of Whieldon Sanitary Potteries Ltd[13]

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.1196) [14]

1956 The Lambeth factory closed due to new clean air regulations that prevented the production of salt-glaze in the urban environment. Following closure, all work was transferred to The Potteries. The firm's headquarters remained there until 1971. The building was demolished in 1976.

1968 The old established pottery company Mintons was acquired by Doultons[15].

1968 Queen's Award to Industry for Technological Innovation to Doulton Industrial Products and Doulton Research. [16]

1968 Acquired Dunn, Bennett and Co[17]

1969 Sold pipe interests to Hepworth Iron Co[18]

1971 S. Pearson and Son acquired Doulton and Co and the outstanding interests in Allied English Potteries that it did not already own[19]. As a result Royal Albert, as a part of Allied English Potteries, joined with Royal Doulton.

Since then, the business has combined the current three main brands under a shared identity: Royal Doulton, Royal Albert, and Minton.

1980 Doulton, as the industrial subsidiary of Pearsons, acquired Fairey Holdings[20]

2004 All production by the company in the UK ceased. Following Waterford Wedgwood's acquisition of Royal Doulton on 14 January, 2005, Royal Doulton has left its factory in Burslem having established a state-of-the-art production facility in Indonesia.

2008 The company still produces fine bone china, fine china and Royal Doulton Lambethware.


Brass and Iron Founders

Late in the 19h century, additional works for the manufacture of metal work of all kinds for sanitary purposes were established at Paisley and Paris. So Doulton and Co were also brass and iron founders, with works in London and Paisley.

1908 Messrs Doulton of Paisley had an extensive display of fitted bathrooms at the Scottish National Exhibition[21]

1928 Bath manufacturers of London and Paisley; took part in a campaign to ensure foreign imports were marked as such; sales of cast iron baths were unprofitable to UK manufacturers[22]

1937 Manufacturers of general and chemical stoneware, sanitary equipment, etc. The profits of the business had improved considerably; the Paisley works had been closed[23]. Paisley works advertised for sale[24]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times, May 03, 1935
  2. Birmingham Daily Post, 5 November 1889
  3. The Bradford Observer 18 January 1855
  4. The Times, 27 March 1862
  5. Birmingham Daily Post, 5 November 1889
  6. Post Office London Trades Directory, 1891
  7. Post Office London Directory, 1895
  8. The Times, 3 December 1898
  9. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  10. Bradshaw’s Railway Manual 1911
  11. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  12. 1929 British Industries Fair p51
  13. The Times, Apr 04, 1938
  14. 1947 British Industries Fair Adverts 398 and 399; and p86
  15. The Times, Aug 19, 1968
  16. The Engineer of 26th April 1968 p650
  17. The Times, Aug 19, 1968
  18. The Times 23 January, 1969
  19. The Times, 3 November 1971
  20. The Times, May 02, 1980
  21. The Times, Jun 12, 1908
  22. The Times , Feb 15, 1928
  23. The Times Mar 19, 1937
  24. The Times, Mar 03, 1937
  • [1] The Potteries Website
  • [2] Wikipedia
  • Trademarked. A History of Well-Known Brands - from Aertex to Wright's Coal Tar by David Newton. Pub: Sutton Publishing 2008 ISBN 978-0-7509-4590-5
  • Papers of Henry Lewis Doulton, National Archives [3]