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 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.

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, receiving the accolade of Potter to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, until his retirement in 1858. Brown-Westhead, Moore and Co. then continued until in 1905 the name was changed to Cauldon Ltd. The site is now the Cauldon Campus of Stoke-on-Trent College.

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 was sole owner from 1830 until his final bankruptcy in 1854. It is now the site of the Stoke-on-Trent Museum.

Church Works
William Ridgway was in control of this factory 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. The later products of that factory are, for the moment, beyond the scope of this website.

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 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. I understand that 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.
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.

 

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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