The Ridgway Factories

In these pages it is my intent to communicate some of the research I have done on the Ridgway group of partnerships illustrated by items from my own collection, and by some from other collectors and dealers who have given me permission to show their wares. The latter are duly attributed. I hope my work will have shed some light on a sadly neglected group of wares.

I have adopted the convention that pattern names printed on the wares are marked by double inverted commas thus: "o". Pattern and shape names obtained from factory pattern books and other factory sources are marked with single inverted commas thus: 'o'. Descriptive names thought up by myself and others are not so marked. For instance the cup shape known conventionally as Old English is referred to in the pattern books as 'Royal' shape. Dimensions are as given by the source of the photographs and may only be considered approximate.

My interest was originally stimulated by the books written by the late Dr Geoffrey Godden to whom I, and all of us, owe a deep debt of gratitude.

Pattern 1181 detail

I have split the research by factory, as follows, in order to simplify matters:

Cauldon Place
This factory was set up on the bank of the Caldon Canal by Job Ridgway in 1802 and subsequently occupied by his two sons John and William until their partnership broke up in 1830. John Ridgway continued potting on the site until his retirement in 1858, receiving the accolade of Potter to Her Majesty Queen Victoria in 1839. Production then continued under T. C. Brown-Westhead, Moore and Co. until in 1904 the name was changed to Cauldon (Brown-Westhead, Moore & Co.) Ltd. In 1920 the company went into receivership and was bought by Harold Taylor Robinson who renamed it Cauldon Potteries Ltd. J. A. Robinson & Sons Ltd. and its many subsidiary companies were then merged into Cauldon Potteries Ltd. In 1920 the company bought G. L. Ashworth & Bros. Ltd., and in 1924 Coalport China Ltd. In 1932 Cauldon Potteries Ltd. went into receivership and the assets were mostly bought by Harrison & Son (Hanley) Ltd. At the same time John Vivian Goddard bought back G. L. Ashworth & Bros. Ltd. In 1935 Cauldon Potteries Ltd. production was moved to the George Jones & Sons Ltd. Crescent Works, which Harrison also owned. The vacant factory caught fire in 1938 which caused significant damage. During the Second World War the derelict buildings were used for Civil Defence training. In 1948 the site started to be used for educational purposes. The site is now the Cauldon Campus of Stoke-on-Trent College.

Crescent Works
Cauldon Potteries Ltd. was at the Crescent Works, Stoke-on-Trent from 1935 to 1962 alongside Coalport China Ltd. and George Jones & Sons Ltd. In 1958 Coalport China Ltd., together with the bone china departments of both Cauldon Potteries Ltd. and George Jones & Sons Ltd., was sold to E. Brain & Co. Ltd. At that point the production of Cauldon bone china effectively ceased. In 1962 the residue of Cauldon Potteries Ltd. was sold to Pountney & Co. Ltd. of Bristol. The site is now occupied by a supermarket and a police station.

Bell Works
The original Ridgway factory used by George and Job Ridgway until Job departed in order to build the Cauldon Place factory. George continued at the Bell Works until 1815 when Job's sons John and William took it over. William Ridgway was sole owner from 1830 until his final bankruptcy in 1854. It is now the site of the Stoke-on-Trent Museum.

Church Works and Cobden Works
William Ridgway was in control of the Church Works from at least 1831, possibly before. Here he was in partnership with the modeller Leonard Stanley Abington and later William's son, Edward John Ridgway. The site is now under the junction of the A50 and the B5047. The Cobden Works, across the road from the Church Works, was also associated with these partnerships. Edward ended in sole control and, in 1866, moved the concern to the new Bedford Works.

Bedford Works
It was not originally intended to cover the products of this factory, opened alongside the Caldon Canal by Edward John Ridgway in 1866, as the majority of the early wares are not marked, but much interest has arisen because of its close association for many years with the Dudson factory. Most of the factory has been demolished and is now occupied by commercial premises.

Broad Street Works
Hicks & Meigh bought the factory in 1807 and rebuilt it c.1815. They sold out to William Ridgway and his partners in 1835. It subsequently passed to his son-in-law, Francis Morley, who in 1848 bought out the rights to the Masons name and designs. The factory then passed to the Ashworth brothers and became the Masons Ironstone factory, sadly now lost to us. The site is now occupied by a supermarket. Please note that Broad Street, Hanley was originally known as High Street, Shelton, Hanley. The factory is, therefore, sometimes referred to as the High Street Works. The exact date of the change is uncertain, but seems to have been between 1853 and 1857 when Hanley became a Borough, absorbing Shelton in the process.

Misleading pieces.
Replacements, copies, and puzzle pieces are discussed here.

Other Manufacturers
Pieces that have been thought at times to be by one of the Ridgway partnerships but are, in fact, attributable to another factory are to be found here. Alcock and Coalport are well covered, being the main sources of confusion. Machin is listed as at least one of the homes of the Moustache and Harbold shapes originally attributed by Godden to Ridgway, although Hicks & Meigh could also be a home. Dudson made products from the period of association with the Bedford Works are also listed here.

 

Dessert Plate pattern 6/5586

A dessert plate of pattern 6/5586 manufactured by John Ridgway at Cauldon Place, Shelton, Hanley c.1855.

This plate has been used for an illustration in a Shire Book on the Potteries
(David Sekers, The Potteries (Oxford, Shire, 2009), p.41).

 

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