William Kirkham


Location and period of operation:

William Kirkham


1862 (1859?)


 (See sources)

Manufacturer of Earthenware & Terra-cotta at London Road, Stoke.

Subsequently renamed Kirkhams and then Kirkhams Ltd.


Initials used on ware for identification:






KIRKHAM, William (1829-1913), pottery manufacturer, Stoke upon Trent.

WK was born on January 19th or February 2nd 1829 at Radwood, Staffordshire, the son of Samuel Kirkham. His wife, Mary Ann, born in Wellington, Shropshire, bore him four daughters and two sons.

In 1859 he bought a pottery factory in London Road, Stoke upon Trent, and began manufacturing hospital and laboratory ware, school and artists' requisites, chemists' receptacles and a wide range of components for industry. In 1881 he employed 33 men, 18 women, 16 boys and 5 girls.

He was active in local government, serving as mayor of Stoke upon Trent from 1890-3 and acting as chairman of the committee appointed to implement the Technical Education Acts in the borough. He was a member of the Stoke upon Trent school board, was elected to Staffordshire county council and was county justice of the peace. He also belonged to the Duke of Sutherland's Lodge of Ancient Shepherds.

During his period of office as mayor he was presented by his workpeople with a portrait of himself painted by Lucien Boullemier. After his death, which occurred on 13th April 1913, his sons took over the business.


Sources: British Bulletin of Commerce, 1955; Dir. 1872-1907; Woolley (or Fenn) Almanacks for 1872-1903; C. Penn Staffordshire at the Opening of the 20th Century (photograph on p. 63). People of the Potteries.