Wardle & Co


Location and period of operation:

Wardle & Co (Ltd)

Shelton (Hanley)




Earthenware, Parian, Majolica manufacturer at William Street and then the Washington Works, Shelton (Hanley), Stoke-on-Trent

  • Formerly James Wardle - the business was renamed to Wardle & Co in 1871 when James died and his wife Eliza took over the business which continued at the William Street Works (in the mid 1950s William Street was renamed to Yates Street).

  • A potter named Thomas Forester joined the business and it appears that at Wardle & Co he mastered the production of majolica ware. Around 1874/5 Forester left to take charge of the works of Messrs. Peterinck & Son at Tournai in Belgium.

  • 1882 they moved to the newly built Washington Works in nearby Victoria Road (now named College Road). Eliza's son-in-law David Jones was appointed as works manager with Eliza's two sons William Wallace and later Frederick Charles acting as assistants. 

  • In 1885 a new range of art pottery was introduced. An advert of that year noted that "the finish is admitted to be superior to their past productions..." 

  • In 1899 David Jones took over management of the factory. Frederick Hurten Rhead was appointed as art director (at the age of 19) and strongly influenced the development of art ware.

  • Frederick H Rhead's sister, Charlotte Rhead, joined the factory in 1901 - working as a tube-liner. 

  • In 1902 Frederick H Rhead emigrated to the U.S.A. and his brother Harry took over the position of art director at Wardle's.

  • The business was incorporated as Limited Company in 1903. With  David Jones as Managing Director, G.G. MacWilliam as Chairman (who was also responsible for the London showroom and export trade) with F.T. and C.T. Maling (of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne pottery) as directors.  

  • David Jones died in 1908, and in 1910 the company was taken over by J A Robinson & Sons Ltd. The name changed to Wardle Art Pottery. and the business moved to the Wolf Street Works in Stoke.  

  • By 1917 the Washington Works were occupied by Swinnertons   


Formerly: James Wardle 

Subsequently: Wardle Art Pottery Co Ltd



"William Wardle was a Staffordshire potter. His son, James, followed his father's trade and set up a pottery in Shelton in the mid-nineteenth century. The company was not particularly successful, and it was not until his death in 1871 that the business passed into the hands of his wife, Eliza, who carried on trading as Wardle & Co.

With the help of her family and friends Eliza expanded the export business that her husband had initiated and soon moved to a larger factory in Hanley. In 1885 a new range of art pottery was introduced, and the company moved into a yet higher gear. In 1899 her son-in-law, David Jones, took over management of the factory and introduced new techniques - tube-lining and slip decoration.

Jones died in 1908, and the company was taken over by J A Robinson & Sons Ltd. The name changed to Wardle Art Pottery. Wardle Art Pottery was later amalgamated with Cauldon Potteries, and finally ceased trading in 1935."

'British Ceramic Art 1870-1940' - John A. Bartlett 



Wardle & Co
William Street Pottery, Hanley

Keates Directory - 1873

Wardle & Co
William Street Pottery, Hanley

Keates Directory - 1879

Wardle & Co
Washington Works, Victoria Road, Hanley

Keates Directory - 1882

courtesy: R K Henrywood - 'Staffordshire Potters 1781-1900'



Wardle & Co
Washington Works, Victoria Road, Hanley

Manufacturer of Superior Majolica, Green Glaze, &c.
for the American and other foreign markets

Pottery Gazette,  January 1885


Wardle & Co
Washington Works, Victoria Road, Hanley

Manufacturers of Vases, Curious, Poma Ware, Fauna Ware.
Farmyard Scenes, and Georgian;

also of Majolica Flowerpots, Pāte-sur-Pāte, Hand Painted and other Decorations

Sole makers of The Imperial Rockingham Ware

Pottery Gazette,  January 1906



Wardle & Co.,
earthenware & majolica manufacturers,
Washington Works

from: 1907 Staffordshire Sentinel 
'Business Reference Guide to The Potteries, Newcastle & District'

vase in a Woodland sponge ware pattern
this vase carries the artists name:
R Dean

jardiničre in the same Woodland pattern

R Dean

The signature of Ronald Dean (of the family of pottery artists) 
Ronald Dean also produced designs for Thomas Forester & Sons


- the number 1603 is the
 mould number for the shape -

photos of the jardiniere and markings courtesy: Elaine Stones




flower vase with hand painted decoration 

W & Co
printed mark with crown over 


impressed mark

- the number 1998 is the
 mould number for the shape -


photos courtesy: Tom Weber 


unusual piece of Wardle art pottery
- flat back with the impressed mark WARDLE ENGLAND -

photo courtesy: Nathan Butler 



Wardle pottery vase depicting with Rhuddlan Castle Wales - designed by Frederick Hurten Rhead 



- the number 2018 is the
 mould number for the shape -

photos courtesy: Anthony Jago



Wardle jardiniere  



photos courtesy: Alison Westcott



Marks used on ware for identification:

("ENGLAND" added from 1891) 

click below for examples of Wardle marks and ware: 




1925 map showing the Washington Works on Victoria Road

Blue - Washington Works of Wardle & Co
Red - Cleveland Works of William Bennett
Green - Atlas Works of Gosling & Gatensbury 



- click for more information on the Washington Works



1881 census details for the Wardle family:
James Wardle died in 1871 and his widow (Eliza) and son (William - named after his grandfather the founder of the business) continued the business.

Dwelling: 7 Clive St
Census Place: Stoke Upon Trent, Stafford, England


Marr | Age | Sex

  Birthplace Occupation
Eliza WARDLE  W 53 F Head Burslem Majolica Manufactorer
William W. WARDLE U 21 M  Son Hanley Potter Manufactorer
Frederick C. WARDLE 14 M  Son Hanley Scholar
Ann DURBAR  U 20 F Serv Cobridge Domestic Serv

Questions, comments, contributions? email: Steve Birks