Histories of UK potters and pottery manufacturers

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© Michael Perry 2011. Contact

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Last updated: 1st August 2011

Francis Wedgwood and his descendents

Francis Wedgwood, Josiah III’s younger brother managed the business from about 1830 and his sons entered the partnership in 1859 (Godfrey), 1863 (Clement) and 1868 (Laurence). Francis Wedgwood died in 1888 and the business was then managed by the three sons, who were joined, in due course, by their sons Cecil, Kennard and Francis Hamilton Wedgwood. (Clement Wedgwood’s second son, Josiah IV took no part in the management of the business, but was a leading member of the British Labour Party and became the first Baron Wedgwood).

Cecil Wedgwood joined the partnership in 1884 and after service in South Africa during the Boer War returned to the business. Following its incorporation as Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Ltd in 1895 the remaining partners became directors of the new company with Cecil Wedgwood the Company Chairman, a position he held until his death in 1916. He was succeeded as Chairman by his cousin Francis Hamilton (Frank) Wedgwood, the eldest son of Clement Wedgwood, who guided the company through the 1920s and the early year of the Great Depression. Francis Hamilton Wedgwood died, unexpectedly, in 1930 and leadership of the company then passed to Kennard Wedgwood, the eldest son of Laurence Wedgwood and during his tenure from 1930 to 1946 the company survived the Second World War and made significant inroads into the important North American market.

Josiah Wedgwood (V)

Although Kennard Wedgwood became Chairman of Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Ltd in 1930, day-to-day management of the business passed to Josiah Wedgwood V, the son of Josiah IV.  He had joined the family business in 1927 and on the death of his uncle (Francis) became the company’s managing director. He was later (1946) to follow Kennard Wedgwood as the company’s Chairman. Josiah V was the last member of the Wedgwood family to directly manage the business and on his retirement in 1967, Arthur Bryan was appointed as the new Chairman and Managing Director.

Sir Arthur Bryan

Arthur Bryan had joined Wedgwood in 1947 and after working in production and administration at Barlaston was appointed as assistant to the manager of the company’s important London operations. In 1953 he was appointed London manager and was instrumental in the formation of a retail division Wedgwood Shops Ltd operating Wedgwood outlets within other retail stores. In 1959 he was appointed general sales manager, and after a period managing Wedgwood’s North American operations he was appointed managing director in 1966 (1963?). In 1967 he succeeded Josiah V as the Chairman of the company, also acting as joint managing director with Peter Wells.

Bryan reinforced Wedgwood’s industry dominance through a policy of aggressive expansion, however, in the mid-1980s an unwelcome bid by the large conglomerate known as the London International Group (the owner of Royal Worcester and Spode at the time) forced Bryan to negotiate a merger with Waterford Crystal owned by the Irish industrialist Tony O’Reilly. Bryan became First President of the merged Waterford Wedgwood in 1987, a position he resigned, perhaps in disappointment, after only two years.

Arthur Bryan was appointed the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire in 1968, a position he held until 1993. He received a knighthood in 1976. Sir Arthur Bryan died in February 2011 at the age of 87.


© Mike Perry 2010





Partner or Director



1730 to 1795

1759 to 1795






Sons of Josiah Wedgwood




1766 to 1844

1790 to 1793,

Also a partner 1800-1812

Josiah II

1769 to 1843

1790 to 1841



1771 to 1805

1790 to 1793






Sons of Josiah II



Josiah III

1795 to 1880

1823 to 1841



1800 to 1888

1827 to ?






Sons of Francis Wedgwood




1833 to 1905

1859 to 1881



1840 to 1889

1863 to ?



1844 to 1913

1868 to 1895






Grandsons of Francis Wedgwood



1863 to 1916

1884 to 1916

Chairman 1895 to 1916


1867 to 1930

1889 to 1930

Chairman 1916 to 1930

Josiah IV

1872 to 1943

No role in company management


1873 to 1950

? to 1949?

Chairman 1930 to 1946





Son of Josiah IV



Josiah V

1899 to 1968

1927 to ?             

Managing Director 1930? to ?
Chairman 1946 to 1967

1Dates in this table are from the history of Wedgwood at wedgwoodmuseum.org.uk

2Cecil, son of Godfrey Wedgwood; Francis Hamilton Wedgwood and Josiah IV, sons of Clement Wedgwood; Kennard, son of Laurence Wedgwood.



Josiah Wedgwood (I)

Josiah Wedgwood was born in 1730 into a family of North Staffordshire potters. He joined the family business, run by his brother Thomas, as an apprentice in about 1747. He remained with the family business for about five years, but left in 1752 to join John Harrison and Thomas Alders in a pottery manufacturing partnership. The venture lasted for two years before Wedgwood became a partner of Thomas Whieldon, one of the leading potters of the period.

In 1759 Wedgwood established his own business and he remained the sole proprietor until 1790 when he took his three sons John, Josiah (II) and Thomas, plus nephew, Thomas Byerley, into partnership. John and Thomas Wedgwood left the partnership in 1793 to pursue other interests (John Wedgwood was to return to the business from 1800-1812). Only Josiah (II) and Thomas Byerley continued as partners with Josiah Wedgwood and from 1793 the firm was known as Josiah Wedgwood, Son and Byerley. Josiah Wedgwood died in 1795 leaving the Etruria estate and factory to Josiah II ,his second son.

Josiah Wedgwood (II)

Josiah Wedgwood (II), like his brothers, was well provided for by his father’s estate and took only an intermittent interest in his family business, the day-to-day management falling to Thomas Byerley from about 1795 until his death in 1810. In the years following Byerley’s death, the Wedgwood business was in decline under the indifferent control of Josiah II. He was joined by his eldest son, Josiah (III), as a partner in 1823, and in 1827 by his third son, Francis Wedgwood. Josiah II remained as the senior partner in the business for over 50 years until his retirement in 1841, shortly before his death in 1843.

Josiah Wedgwood (III)

Josiah III, inherited the Wedgwood business in 1843 but, like his father, he took little interest in its management and although remaining a partner until at least 1841, he resided in Surrey pursuing other interests.