Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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June 1933.
December 1933.

Spode, a manufacturer of pottery and porcelain, of Stoke-on-Trent

1767 Josiah Spode (1733-1797) opened a factory in Stoke-on-Trent

1776 He developed the current Spode factory. His business in creamware (a fine cream-coloured earthenware) and in pearlware (a fine white-glazed earthenware) was very successful.

1778 Decided to open a London shop at 29 Fore Street, managed by his son, Josiah Spode II.

The firm moved successively to 46 then 45 Fore Street.

1784 Josiah Spode perfected the blue under-glaze printing process for which he earned renown in the ceramics business.

1784 William Copeland started work for Josiah II in London

1794 Finally moved the London shop to 5 Portugal Street, adjacent to Lincoln's Inn Fields. Domestic residences accompanied the premises.

The father and son team of Josiah Spode I and II also perfected the recipe for bone china, which was first produced after much experimentation in about 1799. Early pieces were marked Stoke China. It is this recipe that was to become the standard English porcelain now universally known as Fine Bone China.

From 1800 until 1822 Henry Daniel was in charge of Spode's enamelling studio, producing finely designed and painted scenes, often with exquisite gilding.

1802 Spode bought the Portugal Street warehouse and the adjoining domestic residence, reflecting the firm's growing success and in readiness to market the new bone china his father was producing.

1805 The London business was put in the hands of William Copeland and William Spode as equal partners.

1806 Following a visit by the Prince of Wales, Spode was allowed to title himself "Potter and English Porcelain Manufacturer to H.R.H. Prince of Wales".

1812 Spode retired and Copeland went into partnership with Josiah II in the London business.

1813 Spode adopted the term 'Stone China', which he matched with elaborate Chinese porcelain designs.

1816 Introduction of the 'Blue Italian' range.

1824 William Copeland's son, William Taylor Copeland, became a partner

1826 Following the death of his father, William Taylor Copeland entered into an equal partnership with Spode.

1833 Copeland became sole owner of the London businesses and the factory in Stoke.

1833 Copeland went into partnership with Thomas Garrett, manager of the Stoke pottery, the firm being known as Copeland and Garrett. Copeland was Lord Mayor of London 1835 - 36. The Spode brand name was used alongside the Copeland name throughout the 19th and 20th centuries often styled 'Copeland late Spode'.

1847 The partnership was dissolved; the company was then known as W. T. Copeland

1856 First installation of the newly patented Needham and Kite filter press

1867 The company name became W. T. Copeland and Sons when Copeland's sons joined the business.

1932 Took limited company status

1966 The firm remained in the Copeland family until 1966 when it was acquired by the US Carborundum company[1]

1970 to commemorate the founder, the name was changed to Spode.

1970 Took over the Hammersley pottery at Longton[2]

1976 Royal Worcester merged with Spode; the company business was Porcelain and Fine China.

1983 Crystalate acquired Royal Worcester including Welwyn Electronics, manufacturer of resistors.

1984 Crystalate sold Royal Worcester Spode without Welwyn to LRC International; Crystalate sold the industrial ceramics division separately to Coors Porcelain of the US[3] [4].

2009 Portmeirion Potteries acquired the Royal Worcester and Spode brands and brought much of the manufacturing back to UK

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Jul 18, 1966
  2. The Times, May 14, 1970
  3. The Times, Sep 29, 1984
  4. The Times, Oct 18, 1984
  • [1] Wikipedia
  • Biography of William Copeland, ODNB [2]