Histories of UK potters and pottery manufacturers

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Last updated: 1st August 2011

Company History

J. W. Beswick (circa 1899–1938)

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 ‘Beswick’ name.

Reference

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. Charlton Press, 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. ISBN 0951777246.

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.

On the Web

beswickcollectorsclub.com

Site for the Beswick Collectors Club with a large information resource on the Beswick businesses and products

collectingdoulton.com

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.

beswick-collectables.com

A site run by UKI Ceramics promoting sales of Beswick wares produced since 2007 by John Sinclair, the current owner of the Beswick name.

beswickpottery.co.uk

beswickpotteryonline.co.uk

potteryfigurines.co.uk

collectablebeswick.com

beswickcollector.co.uk

beswickdogs.co.uk

beswick-horses.co.uk

These are web sites devoted to selling Beswick wares.

 

©Michael Perry 2011

 

 

 

 

BESWICK - COMPANY HISTORY

Beswick (J. W. Beswick)

Beswick (John Beswick Ltd)

UKI Ceramics

 

Beswick people

Beswick products

John Beswick Ltd ‘tennis set’ from the 1960s. The prancing horse design makes a link to the well known Beswick equestrian models.

Image: Mike Perry © 2011