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British Industrial History

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J. and G. Meakin

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of Eagle Pottery, off Bucknall New Road, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs

1840s James Meakin Senior (1807 to 1852) started potting in Longton.

1845 A partnership began between James Meakin and John Proctor at Lane End, Longton.

1846 James Meakin moved to the Newtown Pottery in Longton and then to Cannon Street in Hanley.

1851 Due to ill health James was succeeded by his two sons, James and George. They formed what was to be a long and successful partnership later known as J. and G. Meakin Ltd. The brothers stayed only one year at Cannon Street before moving the factory to Market Street where they stayed for 7 prosperous years.

1859 On its completion, they moved to the now famous Eagle Pottery, on the side of the Caldon canal. The Eagle pottery was bold and visionary, well in advance of its time. Erected on the moorlands on the outskirts of Hanley with good access by canal to the Mersey ports.

The two brothers were quick to realise the potentials of the export market and the business grew rapidly. George went to America to set up the sales market. James remained in England and managed the pottery works and the shipping.

The pottery was known early on for the vast quantities of cheap ironstone china it produced for the domestic English market and for export, especially to the United States and to South America, Australia, and other traditional British markets. There were also close family and corporate affiliations to the pottery Johnson Brothers (Hanley). Although export teaware and tableware was the factory’s staple, Meakin also manufactured toilet ware, kitchen ware and a wide range of fancy earthenware.

1885 James Meakin junior died

1887 The company purchased the Eastwood Pottery from brother Charles Meakin, to become the largest potting company in Britain. Their aim was to provide an attractive and strong china with distinct patterns made for the tastes of the individual markets that they serviced. The majority of Meakins' wares were made for export to the USA and British Empire Colonies.

The Meakin factories were, at that time, at the cutting edge of the technology of the day. From the first day of production in 1851, the factories were continually upgraded until in the 1950s they had achieved production of over 1 million pieces per week. During the war, all products were unpatterned.

1890 Incorporated as J. and G. Meakin Ltd

1891 George Meakin died

1891 The family business continued under George Eliot Meakin (son of George Meakin)

1922 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of White Granite and Semi-Porcelain, White and Decorated. (Stand No. E.1) [1]

1927 Bernard Meakin (son of George’s brother James) took over until his retirement in 1955.

Post-WWII: pictureware patterns were produced with patterns varied to suit the intended export destinations.

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) [2]

1951 In their centenary year Meakin produced a range of commemorative wares.

1958 Family control of the business ceased when acquired by pottery entrepreneurs J. W. E. Grundy and A. Derek Jones.

1968 Acquired W. R. Midwinter Ltd through a friendly merger; the two companies continued to operate independently as subsidiaries of Meakin and Midwinter (Holdings) Ltd.

1970 Wedgwood acquired the whole share capital of J. and G. Meakin Ltd but the company continued as a quasi-independent entity within the Wedgwood Group until 1980 when it became part of Wedgwood’s Creative Tableware Division. Meakin shapes and patterns were subsumed into the Johnson Bros. earthenware brand from c.1991.

2000 Production under the Meakin name ceased, and their long-established works, the Eagle Pottery, were made over for the production of Johnson Bros pottery, which was transferred abroad in 2004.

  • 2005 The works were demolished.


See Also

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  • [1] The Potteries Website
  • [2] Wikipedia
  • Pottery history [3]

Sources of Information