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British Industrial History

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Joseph Bourne and Son

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April 1946. Denby oven and table ware.
August 1958. Greenwheat by Denby.
November 1963.

of Denby Pottery, near Derby. Telephone: Belper 40. Cables: "Bourne, Belper 40" (1929)

Ditto Address. Telephone: Ripley 377. Cables: "Bourne. Ripley 377". London Office: 34 Holborn Viaduct (1947)

The works were commenced in 1809 by a Mr. Jager, on the estate of W. Drury Lowe, Esq., where, some time before, a valuable and extensive bed of clay had been found to exist. This clay, previous to the establishment of the Denby Works, was used at the Belper Pottery for the manufacture of stoneware ink, blacking, and other bottles. In 1812 Joseph Bourne, son of William Bourne, of the Belper Pottery, succeeded Mr. Jaeger and the Belper and Denby works were carried on simultaneously until 1834 when the Belper Works were discontinued, and the plant and workpeople moved to Denby.[1]

1806 While the road from Derby to Alfreton was being constructed, an important discovery was made of a deposit of the finest stone-ware clay. William Bourne obtained a lease of this clay bed. Other sources[2] indicate that the clay works were started in 1809 by a Mr. Jaeger. This clay was used at the Belper Pottery for the manufacture of stoneware ink, blacking, and other bottles.

1809 Business founded by William Bourne, a potter in Belper, and his son Joseph Bourne

1812 Joseph Bourne succeeded Mr. Jaeger / Jager (other sources suggest that the 2 sons of William, Joseph Bourne and John Bourne ( -1819), ran the business until John died). The Belper and Denby works were operated together

1833 The Codnor Park Works were acquired

1834 the Belper Works closed; the plant and work people moved to Denby

1845 Shipley Pottery was acquired

c.1850 The business became Joseph Bourne and Son when Joseph Harvey Bourne, his son, was taken into partnership

1851 Employing 130 persons.[3]

1857 Codnor Park: Messrs. Joseph Bourne and Son, of Denby pottery, have also a manufactory here, of stone-ware, bottles.

1860 Joseph Bourne died

1861 Employing 300 persons.[4]

1869 Joseph Harvey Bourne died and the business was then continued by his widow, Sarah Elizabeth Bourne, until her death in 1898.

1898 Joseph Bourne Wheeler, a nephew of J. H. Bourne, continued the business in association with other relatives of Elizabeth Bourne until 1907 and then, as the sole proprietor

1916 The business was incorporated as Joseph Bourne and Son Ltd. Joseph Bourne Wheeler continued as the governing director of the company until his death in 1942.

1929 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Denby Domestic Stoneware: Teapots (patent Nevva-Drip), Coffee Jugs, Cooking Ware (patent "Blue Flame" Casserole) Footwarmers, "Danesby" Electric Blue and "Orient" Vases, Bowls, etc., Tobacco Jars, Stone Bottles, Electrical Insulators, Battery Jars. (Stand No. G.39) [5]

1930s Although it was a thriving business in the thirties of this century, it was because of this that the premises were found to be inadequate to the demands of the home and export markets. The new works were more efficient and provided better conditions of work.

1942 On Joseph Bourne Wheeler’s death, overall control and management of the business passed to members of the Wood and Dale families, both long associated with the Bournes in the management of the business.

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Stoneware, Oven and Table Ware. Plain and Decorated Vases, Jugs, Bowls, Ash Trays, Animal Novelties, Foot-Warmers, Bottles and Jars. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1183) [6]

1959 In an attempt to increase production capacity, Bournes acquired Lovatts Potteries Ltd at nearby Langley Mill for a sum of £25,000. Lovatts Pottery continued in operation and in 1967 was renamed the Langley Pottery Ltd.

1970 Joseph Bourne and Son Ltd became a public company, listed on the Stock Exchange under the new name Denbyware Ltd, with Joseph Bourne & Son Ltd and the Langley Mill Pottery Ltd as subsidiary companies.

Mid-1970s The Crown House Group, owners of Edinburgh Crystal, Thomas Webb Crystal and Dema Glass acquired an interest in Denbyware Ltd

1981 Crown House gained control, renaming the business Denby Tableware Ltd. The Langley Pottery was closed. The historic pottery closed in December 1982 after 117 years of operation.

1987 Crown House sold the Denby Tableware business to the Coloroll Homewares Group.

1990 Coloroll went into receivership; Denby Tableware Ltd was purchased from the receiver by its management, renaming it Denby Pottery Co. Ltd

1994 Denby Pottery Co. Ltd converted to a public listed company in 1994

1995 Denby purchased Wren Giftware Ltd, a Stoke-on-Trent manufacturer of bone china cups and mugs for £1.3 million. Wren was sold to the Churchill Group in 1998

1999 there was another management buyout and the business returned to private ownership with the operating company, Denby Pottery Co. Ltd and Denby USA Ltd, a North American distribution arm, becoming the subsidiary of a new holding company Denby Group plc.

2010 Denby Holdings acquired Burleigh Pottery Limited.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Ceramic Art of Great Britain by Llewellynn Jewitt. 1877
  2. Ceramic Art of Great Britain, by Llewellynn Jewitt (1877)
  3. 1851 Census
  4. 1861 Census
  5. 1929 British Industries Fair p24
  6. 1947 British Industries Fair p36
  • [1] The Potteries Website
  • [2] Potteries History