Stoke-on-Trent - Potworks of the week

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Cock Works, Stoke
these were the first works of W.H. Goss, off Liverpool Road, Stoke

See details of W H Goss ware


  • William Henry Goss studied at the School of Design, Somerset House, London. He initially specialised in ivory porcelain and perfected a method of improving the finish of jewelled porcelain, and invented the body and enamels for the heraldic china by which he is best known today. [see biography of W.H. Goss]

  • In the late 1850's Goss obtained rights to use the madrepoarla over-glaze, which had been improved upon from ancient lustres by Brianchou, a French chemist-artist. This gave parian ware a unique irridescent finish. An artist, Goss knew that the combination of graceful shape and irridescent coating was in itself sufficient beauty, but he also knew that the public might care for something more spectacular for its money. For this reason he put to one side his unnamed new discovery and continued his work in Parian.

  • From 1858 to c.1870 William Henry Goss was at the Cock Works in John Street (now Leese Street), off Liverpool Road. He set up in business here on his own after working at W.T.Copelands for about a year. 

  • At the 1861 census Goss was recorded as employing 14 men, 2 women and 34 boys. 

  • Goss exhibited at the Great International Exhibition of 1862 (held in South Kensington, London)
    He won an important medal for his display of parian war. Cassell's Illustrated London News (15th Nov 1862) said 'The perfection of art manufacture seems certainly to have been reached' 

  • Goss & Belleek: 

McBirney and Armstrong, small potters in the village of Belleek in Ireland, obtained Goss's permission to carry on with the experimental irridescent coating and were soon so successful, especially in making it heat-resistant, that they finally hired away Goss's foreman and several of his artists. Together the new group developed it chemically and artistically, put it on the market with wonderful success, and for want of a better name called it Belleek-Irish China.

In 1863 17 (12?) of his best men left him and went to work for Belleek in Ireland taking with them the skill in making parian ware. 

  • Under the guidance of William Bromley (Goss's manager), William Wood Gallimore, William Henshall (who introduced basket making and flower modelling at Belleek) and a Mr. Ferran (a parian caster) and the other of the 17 Goss men, Belleek started to change manufacture from earthenware to high quality parian ware.

  • Belleek thrived under workmanship of the former Goss craftsmen and by 1865 were receiving orders from Queen Victoria for their delicate parian ware.   

  • Listed in the 1868 Staffordshire Potteries' Directory as "Goss, William Henry, John Street, Stoke-on-TrentóChina, Parian Statuettes, etc., Terra Cotta, Fire Clay, and Patent Goods." 

  • Terracott ware became fashionable and around 1868 William Adams Peake (a terracotta roofing tile manufacturer) joined Goss in partnership as and they traded as Goss & Peake. 
    Together they manufactured the reddish brown earthenware making wine bottles, jardinieres and vessels Greek and Roman style - the manufacture of this ware only covered the two years 1867-9.  

  • By early 1869 Goss's partner William Peake was jailed as a 'Prisoner for Debt' and in June 1869 both Goss and Adams were declared bankrupt. 

  • The bankruptcy was discharged in September of 1869 and Goss continued on his own - still at the Cock Works, John Street.

  • Around 1870 Goss transfered his business to the Falcon Works, Edward Street (now Sturgess Street), off London Road, Stoke. 

  • Goss moved to the Falcon Works around 1870. 




1898 map showing in red the Cock Works, John Street (now Leese Street), Stoke where William H Goss operated 1858-70
1898 map showing in red the Cock Works, John Street (now Leese Street), Stoke where William H Goss operated 1858-70
outlined in Blue is the Spode Works of W.T. Copeland where 
Goss worked as Chief Artist for a brief one year period in 1857

running to the side of the Spode Works in the Newcastle to Stoke Canal
and at the top right is the Trent & Mersey Canal 






Related pages 

Details of W H Goss ware
Biography of W.H. Goss
Falcon Works 
the two remaining glost kilns
the workshop/warehouse range