An earthenware and china manufacturer at the Gold Street Works, Longton. James Wright
Beswick began earthenware manufacture in about 1890 at the Albion Works, Longton,
moving to the Britannia Pottery, High St, Longton, in 1892 and finally, in 1896,
to the Gold Street Works, Longton now firmly associated with the Beswick name. His
elder son John Beswick joined his father in the mid-1890s and was associated from
the start with the Gold Street Works.
In 1918 the Warwick China Works in Chadwick St, Longton was purchased allowing the
business to manufacture bone china ware and fancy items in addition to its extensive
domestic earthenware. John Wright Beswick died in May 1920 and John Beswick became
the proprietor and driving force behind the expansion of the business. His brother
Gilbert I Beswick appears to have played a lesser role in the business. John Beswick
died in October 1934 after a prolonged illness at the age of 65.
John Beswick Ltd (1938-2002)
From 1934 to 1938 the business was controlled by John Beswick’s executors, but in
1938 the business was incorporated as John Beswick Ltd with John Ewart Beswick and
his two sisters Dorothy and Gladys Beswick as the Directors. In 1945 the adjoining
premises of H. M. Willamson & Sons were acquired and in 1957 the factory of Thomas
Lawrence was purchased to allow further expansion of production. From 1957 John Beswick
Ltd traded as a listed public company. John Ewart Beswick had no heir and in June
1969 he sold the entire share capital to Doulton & Co. Ltd.
After its 1969 takeover, Doulton continued to produce the Beswick animal models and
figurines under the Beswick name, although the range was reduced and only a few new
models entered production. From early-1989 Doulton ceased using the Beswick trade
name, although the Gold Street factory continuing to produce the same models with
a Doulton backstamp. The Beswick mark was briefly resurrected for the centenary of
the name 1994. Doulton ceased production of the ‘Beswick’ models and closed the Gold
Street factory in 2002, the site being sold for development in the following year.
UKI Ceramics (2005-
In 2004 Doulton put the Beswick ‘brand’ up for sale with an asking price of £1.5
million and, in mid-2005 it was sold to John Sinclair, owner of a chain of antique
shops. The new owner announced plans to re-start production of prestige limited-edition
Beswick collectors’ wares in Tunstall and to sell mass-market Beswick figures and
ornamental wares manufactured in Malaysia by the giftware company Enesco. The company
has continued to successfully market ‘Beswick’ products up to 2011.
Trade names and backstamps
The company’s mark was a simple printed ‘John Beswick, England’ or the familiar script
Baynton, V., May, H., & Morton, J. The Beswick Collectors Handbook. (Kevin Francis
Publications Ltd, London, 1986).
Callow, D. & J. (1997). The Charlton Standard Catalogue of Beswick Pottery. Charlton
Press. ISBN-10 0889681929.
Callow, D. & J, & Corley, F. (2008). Beswick Collectables: A Charlton Standard Catalogue.
CharltonPress, 10th revised edition.
Callow, D. & J, & Sweet, M. & P. (2011) Beswick Animals: Charlton Standard Catalogue.
Charlton Press, 10th revised edition.
Irvine, L. (1992). John Beswick and Royal Albert Beatrix Potter Figures. UK International
Ceramics Ltd, Suffolk. ISBN 095177722X.
Irvine, L. (1992). John Beswick and Royal Albert Beatrix Potter Figures and Craftware.
UK International Ceramics Ltd, Suffolk. ISBN 0951777262.
Irvine, L. (1994). Beswick: A Catalogue. UK International Ceramics Ltd, Suffolk.
Irvine, L. (1995). The Charlton Catalogue of Royal Doulton Beswick Jugs. UK International
Ceramics Ltd, Suffolk. ISBN 088968166X
Irvine, L. (1998). Royal Doulton and Beswick Cartoon Classics and other Character
Figures. UK International Ceramics Ltd, Suffolk. ISBN 0951777270.
May, H. (2001). The Beswick Price Guide: Price and Colour Guide to Beswick Pottery
Collectibles (Fifth revised edition). Francis Joseph Publications. ISBN 1870703790.
From mid-2011 this web site replaces the printed Collecting Doulton & Beswick magazine
edited by Barry Hill and Jocelyn Lukins. It is an independent and authoritative source
of information for collectors of Royal Doulton and Beswick.
The site carries articles, diary dates, letters, small advertisements, auction reports
and other Beswick and Doulton news. It is currently free, but may introduce a small
subscription to access in-depth articles and archives.