A Message from Ruth at Antiques And Teacups

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rather Sad...Johnson Brothers Derelict Pottery

I came across some old photos from about 6 years ago taken on a trip to Stoke-On-Trent of the Johnson Brothers pottery building...one of the only ones of their 3 sites still standing which they are hoping to save...

Johnson Brothers is such a famous name in English pottery...especially transferware...think of Friendly Village and Rose Chintz...that it is so sad when I think of all the potteries that are either now closed or made elsewhere in the world. I carry quite a bit at my Antiques And Teacups website, but I really only like the older English made pieces...they feel different than the newer Indonesian and are better made.

Johnson Brother was founded in 1883, but in 1968 became part of the Wedgwood Group. But when subsequent reorganizations and slice-and-dice operations continued, the  various Johnson Brothers sites were closed, and fell into ruin. This one remains because of the distinctive so-called Bottle oven kilns...a distinctive shape that once dotted the Stoke-on-Trent skyline...

Another Johnson Brothers site on the Cauldon Canal was the Eagle Works...

This photo has the Johnson Brothers Hanley Pottery on the left and the Trent Pottery wall on the right....

Love this photo with the little 3 wheeled car...we loved seeing them in England...anyway, the site was demolished and this housing site was built on the former pottery site in 2013. 

The canal side houses are very upmarket, and they have done the same thing among the docks and warehouses in Birmingham along the canals as well...they are gorgeous. But it is sad in Stoke that it includes a lot of the lost history of the potteries that built the area. The are wasn't called The Potteries for nothing....   These last few photos are from The Potteries website.

The legacy of Johnson Brothers is immense. The company, as part of WWRD, Wedgwood, Waterford, Royal Doulton was acquired by the Finnish Company Fiskars this July, but whether or not they will move Johnson Brothers production back from the Far East remains to be seen.

Not far away from Johnson Brothers remaining site is the Gladstone Pottery Museum, which has become a bit of a catchment of local pottery lore and artifacts.  It is well worth a visit if you are in the area...but more on that in another post.

For a history of Johnson Brothers...except the recent stuff...here is a great article at Collector's Weekly HERE on the Johnson Brothers.


  1. I enjoyed your photo tour here. I have never been to England so appreciate your photos and knowledge!

  2. What interesting historical information! I love Johnson Brothers pottery, though I own only a few pieces of it. A friend of mine has the Fruit Sampler set and it is beautiful.

  3. Thanks for the info and the photos, Ruth! I have a particular fondness for JB patterns.

  4. That is really sad! I hope they will save the last one. It was such a shame when Johnson Brothers moved their operation overseas. It's simply not the same. I have the white swirl pattern, and the newer additions/replacements are heavier and not the same milky white as the much higher quality original.

  5. Yrs Johnson brothers pottery is wonderful. I have seen so many sets of Johnson Bros dishes I have wanted through the years
    and I really like Rose Chintz and have a few pieces
    It was interesting seeing the old factories along the rivers
    I loved Johnson bros toile patterns

  6. Sad indeed Ruth. I adore Johnson Brothers and have quite a lot. I finally had to stop gathering it. My favorite pieces are my various turkey plates. Great blog, great info.

  7. Thanks for the photo tour. I have several different pieces of Johnson Brothers. Some of those were made before the move off shore.


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