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Staffordshire Potteries Ltd - 1977


Staffordshire Potteries Limited - Kilncraft Tableware
Staffordshire Potteries Limited - Kilncraft Tableware

from the 1977 - City of Stoke-on-Trent Handbook


STAFFORDSHIRE POTTERIES LIMITED of Meir Park at Stoke-on-Trent are manufacturers of Kilncraft tableware, dinnerware, tea and coffee ware and coffee mugs. This is one of the largest units in the area and over a million pieces a week are produced. The policy of the company is to produce products of good quality and design, well packaged and at competitive prices.

from the 1977 - City of Stoke-on-Trent Handbook


Staffordshire Potteries Limited grew out of the Keele Street Pottery Group – a company which had grown through acquisition of several smaller local firms. The disused 38 acre Meir Airport provided the opportunity to gradually develop production on that site and by 1963 most operations were located there.

During the 1950s they became the largest producer of utilitarian white cups, also manufacturing blue band kitchen ware and dinner and tea wares. These cups are advertised in the trade press for 1957 thus – "the demand for odd white cups is considerable and these three popular shapes [Windsor; Worcester block handle; Osborne] will satisfy most requirements. Packed in cartons of four dozen they are easily transported and stored." (Pottery & Glass May 1957 p.xxxvii)

During the 1960s and 1970s the company concentrated on the production of mugs, kitchen and dinner wares. The Kilncraft brand name was introduced in 1972 and introduced a new range of modern shapes, colours and surface decorations, such as the Bramble and Bacchus ranges. This range was so successful that the name and trade mark was adopted as the corporate symbol for Staffordshire Potteries Ltd.

In 1979 the company acquired Royal Winton, who were successful manufacturers of vases, giftware and planters.

In 1981 a new range of red stoneware ‘cook and serve’ dinner wares and cookwares was produced, specially designed for microwave ovens. "Designed for practical cooking and elegant serving." (Staffordshire Potteries 1982 catalogue) However, by 1983, this range described as "rustic stoneware style", had been abandoned in favour of more delicate, pastel colours and both freelance and in-house designers were being used. (Tableware International October 1982 p.14-17)

By 1985, Staffordshire Potteries were the largest manufacturers of mugs in the world, producing over 750,000 per week, including commissioned designs for promotional and corporate purposes.

In 1986 the company was taken over by Coloroll Group of Manchester. This Group also acquired Biltons Tableware of London Road, Stoke-on-Trent. This activity made Coloroll overnight a major player in the manufacture of earthenware in Stoke-on-Trent.

In 1990 after a management buyout it was renamed Staffordshire Tableware.

The Coloroll Group were best known for their home furnishings, wallpapers and carpets. Their purchase of ceramic companies (including also Denby Tableware and Edinburgh Crystal) enabled them to pursue a strategy of selling a complete range of co-ordinated home furnishings to young people, fostering the home fashion and ‘tabletop’ image.

In 1989, they commissioned customer research to identify market needs and gaps. Their products were identified by their consumers as follows –

  • Biltons ware was perceived as traditional
  • Kilncraft was regarded as modern
  • New Medici Collection was perceived as classical, and more akin to ‘best china’

(Tableware International December 1989 / January 1990 p.34)

Having these three distinct ranges allowed them to cover a wide range of low- to mid-market consumer needs.

The financial failure of Coloroll as a group was not due to poor performance of the Ceramics Division.



contents: 2010 adverts