Upper Hanley China Works

Upper Hanley Works Occupation Periods

Ridgway & Robey 1835-1840
William Ridgway (& Son) 1840-1848

(These dates are subject to confirmation.4)

 

Bone China Patterns.

The following bone china wares have been a puzzle. Several of the dessert patterns are on William Ridgway 'Milan' shape, and those with printed patterns use a known William Ridgway & Co. print, yet William was supposed not to have produced bone china. There is, however, a reference in John Ward's 'The Borough of Stoke-upon-Trent' (1843) quoted, without page reference1, in Geoffrey Godden's 'Ridgway Porcelains' (1985), p.140, when referring to the various works of William Ridgway. The same entry from the facsimile edition of Ward is as follows:
'First, a china manufactory in Hanley, formerly George Taylor's, and afterwards Thomas Taylor's (this being carried on by the firm of W. Ridgway & Son).'
Godden adds 'c. 1835 onwards'. That is not in the original, but is a reasonable assumption. Although Godden then goes on to describe the products of most of the works listed, he ignores this one, and does not attempt to pinpoint its location. This is the only factory of William's that Ward lists as a 'china manufactory', the rest being referred to as 'earthenware manufactory' or 'pot-works'. Of course, one doesn't know how accurate Ward's descriptions are, or exactly what he meant by 'china'. When I showed two of the 'Milan' shape pieces to Geoffrey Godden he was inclined to think they may well be by William Ridgway.
I approached Stoke-on-Trent Archives, and the Chief Archivist, Chris Latimer, was extremely helpful in enabling me to pinpoint the location of the factory. He pointed me to a book by Peter Roden2 that goes into the detail of Allbut's Directory of 1802. This clearly shows that George Taylor's potworks was on High Street, Hanley on the same side and just north of Elijah Mayer. Now we know that Elijah Mayer occupied the Cobden Works at this time, and the only logical potworks just north and on the same side of the road as the Cobden Works was what later became known as the Upper Hanley Works. The advertisement of the sale of the contents of three of William Ridgway's factories on his first bankruptcy in 18483 includes 'the "China Works," Upper Hanley'. So it is fairly clear that it is talking about the same place.
I would conjecture that when Ridgway, Morley, Wear, & Co. bought the Broad Street Works in Hanley in 1835 either the partners only wanted to continue production of ironstones and earthenwares, or William Ridgway wanted to secure the bone china side for himself, whereupon William moved the production of Hicks, Meigh & Johnson bone china to the Upper Hanley Works, and soon added his own patterns which he issued with three figure, and fractional pattern numbers under 1/, 2/, and perhaps others. It would appear from the numbering that there are many more patterns out there to find. The Upper Hanley Works was only a small factory so it is unlikely that production numbers were ever particularly high, which may explain how so few of these patterns have come to light.

 

Numbered Patterns. xxx series Tea wares.

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525 Bread & butter plate, tea cup & saucer, 7 inch muffin. Bone china. Drab and gilt arcaded border with circle of printed flower groups just inside border. Printed flower groups are filled with multicoloured enamels. Gilt centre circle, edge line, tracing on handles. 525

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Numbered Patterns. 1/xxx series Dessert wares.

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1/12 Square dessert dish. 'Milan' shape. Bone china. Border of alternating rays of grey & white with gilt line & saltire decoration. Gilt edge, tracing on handles, centre ring, inner band to border with row of bezants within. 1/12
1/44 Leaf or shell dessert dish. 'Milan' shape. Bone china. Wide green border. Centre flower sprig printed in puce, filled red, rose, yellow green, yellow, off-white. Gilt wide and narrow lines round centre, gilt line arround border. Edge mouldings gilt dotted and c-scrolls around. Handle traced in gilt. 1/44
1/45 Comport, square dessert dish, dessert plate. 'Milan' shape. Bone china. Green scallopped border with gilt line in and out. Cream flower head with gilt leaves & fern at border peaks. Small flower groups between peaks printed in puce and filled with mulicoloured enamels. Gilt centre line and ring. 1/45
1/81 Dessert plate. 'Milan' shape. Bone china. Marone scallopped border with gilt line in and out. Cream flower head with gilt leaves & fern at border peaks. Small flower groups between peaks printed in puce and filled with mulicoloured enamels. Gilt centre line and ring. 1/81
1/238 Square dessert dish. Bone china. Pale blue Japan style floral print filled underglaze blue, and overglaze iron-red. Gilt edge, tracing on handles, & highlights. 1/238
1/261 Dessert plate. Bone china. Mazarin blue and gilt border. Hand painted multicoloured landscape centre with named views. 1/261
1/361 Oval dessert dish, dessert plate. Bone china. Egg shell blue and gilt border. Hand painted multicoloured landscape centre with named views. 1/361
1/438 Dessert plate. Bone china. Pale blue Japan style floral print filled underglaze blue, and overglaze green, iron-red, yellow. Gilt edge & highlights. 1/438
1/458 Dessert plate. Bone china. Egg shell blue and gilt border. Hand painted multicoloured landscape centre with named views. 1/458
1/503 Leaf or shell dessert dish. 'Milan' shape. Bone china. Pale blue Japan style floral print filled underglaze blue, and overglaze green, iron-red, rose, yellow. Gilt edge, highlights, tracing on handle. 1/503

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Numbered Patterns. 2/xxx series Fancy wares

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2/222 Basket. 'Milan' shape. Bone china. Turquoise and gilt border. Hand painted multicoloured landscape centre with view of "Mount Tom and the Connecticut River". 2/222
2/253 Vase. Bone china. Overall white & gilt. The principal reserve has a multicoloured hand-painted view of "Little Falls, Mohawk River". The other reserve has a view of an ecclesiastical building by water. 2/253

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Figures

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Nicholas Nickleby Ralph Nickleby, Mrs. Nickleby, Kate Nickleby, Nicholas Nickleby, Wackford Squeers. Bone China. Painted in multicoloured enamels. Nickleby

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Notes.

1. The page number in both the original and the twentieth-century facsimile reissue of Ward is 374.

2. Peter Roden, Copyhold Potworks and Housing in the Staffordshire Potteries 1700-1865.

3. Staffordshire Advertiser, Saturday, 29 July 1848.

4. The dates that are known are as follows: The Ridgway & Robey bone china figures were 'Published' 15 June 1839. The partnership between William Ridgway and Ralph Meyer Robey was dissolved on 30 April 1840 (London Gazette 5 May 1840). Newspaper reports of a robbery at 'Mr. W. Ridgway's china manufactory' date to February and March 1842. Ward's book referring to 'W. Ridgway & Son' was published in 1843. The sale of the contents of three of 'Mr. Wm. Ridgway's' factories including the '"China Works," Upper Hanley' was on 14 August 1848 (Staffordshire Advertiser 29 July 1848). With thanks to Pat Halfpenny for finding the press cuttings.

 

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