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Histories of UK potters and pottery manufacturers

© Michael Perry 2011. Contact

Image courtesy of Lema Publishing Ltd, publishers of ‘Tableware International’

Last updated: 1st August 2011


UK general ceramics websites

UK commercial ceramics websites

UK special interest ceramics websites

UK ceramics collectors clubs

UK small/studio potteries

The Web holds a vast quantity of information on the ceramic industries of the United Kingdom and is now the primary source of reference and the first point of access for people seeking information.

Perhaps the most significant difference between the Web and traditional sources of information is that the Web is current, but transient, whilst print-based information sources record past events, but are permanent.

There is some convergence, in that books and other print resources are increasingly becoming available as the originals are digitised and placed on the Web. The fact remains, however, that a business’ website is no more permanent than the business itself and this can hardly be better illustrated than by the closure of the Royal Worcester and Spode businesses in 2009 and the removal of their presence from the Web.

All, however, may not be lost and in some cases the website of a closed business may be located by searching the archive of websites at ‘’. This site is an archive of 150 billion Web pages published since 1996. As an example, Regency China Ltd was a business that closed in about 2005, however a search of the archive can recover some of the company’s Web pages from 2001 to 2005.

The websites listed here are just a starting point to the resources available. For anyone interested in UK ceramics, the vast site at run by Steve Birks is a starting point for any query concerning the ceramics industry of North Staffordshire and Derbyshire. Other outstanding general resources are those of the Stoke on Trent museums ( and

Every commercial ceramics business now maintains a website and most are orientated to sales, either wholesale or retail, of the company’s products. A history of the company may be included and in some cases the company sponsors its own collectors’ club as a marketing tool.  For smaller manufacturers and individual potters, the web may now represent (apart from factory shop or studio door) sales, the primary marketing medium. For these businesses sales depend more on purchaser reaction to the ethos of the business and its owner and websites often included biographical details and manufacturing information.

A second category of website are ‘interest’ sites, usually developed by individuals or small groups interested in the products of individual manufacturers or particular collectible themes—for example piggybanks. Websites devoted to a particular manufacturer are often associated with collectors’ clubs and historical information is often available together with activities, newsletter and other member services. The best of these sites— and are two good examples—are actively building information databases and pattern and shape image libraries based on public responses to their web presence. There are also websites devoted to particular collecting themes and an outstanding example is that devoted to research on Ironstone China ( In this case an individual’s lifetime of interest and knowledge has been made available to enrich the experience of other collectors. It is to be hoped that some way can be found for such sites to continue into the future.