Thomas Forester and Sons Ltd


Location and period of operation:

Thomas Forester




Thomas Forester and Sons 




Thomas Forester and Sons Ltd





Majolica, earthenware and later, china manufacturer at Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, England

  • Thomas Forester was born in 1832. His father was a warehouse-man at Minton's china factory and Thomas was apprenticed there as a presser. 

  • In 1856 Thomas was engaged as manager at the Victoria Works, Shelton, for Lockett, Baguley & Cooper. After a few years he joined Mrs. Wardle (Wardle & Co) as a majolica manufacturer.

  • He was invited to take charge of the works of Messrs. Peterinck & Son at Tournai in Belgium.

  • Thomas Forester returned to England and in 1877 started business at a small works in the High Street, Longton and he soon took additional premises in Church Street - the Church Street Majolica Works. 

  • He demolished the Church Street Works and built the Phoenix works  which he completed in 1879.

  • In the beginning of 1883 he took his sons Herbert and Victor into partnership and the title of the business became '& Sons'

  • Incorporated as a Limited Company in 1891.

  • By 1893 the business was recorded as employing 520 people at the "Imperial and Phoenix Works" and by 1900 they employed over 700 people.

  • Artists: Thomas Dean was a freelance artist and ceramicist working, at various times, for Minton, Wedgwood, Watcombe, Spode/Copeland and Foresters. Ronald and Albert Dean were two of Thomas Deanís sons and all three designed for Foresters at various times. Ronald Dean ended his career at Foresters as works manager immediately prior to the Second World War. (Information: Mr. Ian Turner)

  • In 1941, under the Wartime Concentration Scheme, the business of Collingwood Bros operated with that of Thomas Forester & Sons at the Imperial Works, Longton. 

  • The business closed in June 1959.


NOTE: There three men named Thomas Forester who operated pottery works in the Fenton/Longton area of Stoke-on-Trent - all at the same time....

Thomas Forester & Sons (Ltd) - at the Phoenix Works, Longton (this page)

Thomas Forester Son & Co - at the Sutherland Pottery, Fenton 

Thomas Forester & Co - at the Melbourne Works, Longton




Thomas Forester
High Street and Church Street, Longton, Potteries
Majolica and Earthenware of every description
for Home and Export
Jugs, Mounted Teapots, Tea, Dinner & Toilet Services

Pottery Gazette,  November 1880



Thomas Forester & Sons
Phoenix Works, Longton, Staffordshire
The new "Moncrieff" Ware in Elegant Designs of Form and Colour

Pottery Gazette,  January 1885



From: A descriptive account of The Potteries (illustrated)
1893 advertising and trade journal.



Station Square
Forester, Thomas and Sons, Ltd.,
earthenware and fancy vase
manufacturers, Imperial Works 

Church Street
Forester, Thos., and Sons, Ltd.,
majolica, earthenware, and fancy goods
manufacturers, Phoenix Works 


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



Thomas Forester & Sons Ltd
Art Potters
Longton, Staffs
Specialities Vases, Flower Pots
China Tea and Breakfast Ware

The Pottery Gazette - 1st January 1913





Typical ware produced by Thomas Forester & Sons:

"The firm have dvoted themselves almost exclusively to the production of art specialities, vases, flower pots, pedestals etc., etc., in endless varieties of shapes and decorations." 
(1893 trade journal of the Potteries)

China manufacturer 

"Makers of Fine Art Pottery, China, Faience, &c."  from a 1905 letterhead. 

Pre-1900 the company was known for producing a vast range of majolica - their early factory in Church Street - the Church Street Majolica Works. Techniques were later improved, which led to the production of many elaborate art pottery designs including Trogon Ware during the 1920s and 1930s.



china cup & saucer - likely produced at Foresters Imperial Works 

Foresters Ltd
Imperial Bone China




Thomas Forester Showroom - 1890

Courtesy: Thomas Forester Pottery



majolica cheese keeper 

most of Thomas Forester majolica is unmarked

Majolica International Society


a pair of Ronda Ware vases designed by Ronald Dean 

The signature of Ronald Dean (of the family of pottery artists) 
Ronald Dean also produced designs for Wardle & Co




tube-lined Trongon Ware vases 


hand painted trio, with cobalt blue and gilt decoration - Phoenix China 



transfer decorated trio


probably c.1950s 

Phoenix China
T. F. & S. LTD
this mark appears on the saucer and plate

Best English China
Foresters Ltd
this mark appears on the cup


photos courtesy: Megan at My Butlers Pantry




two handled vase - art pottery style 



small hand painted with gilt - china jug 



Marks & initials used on ware for identification:


T F & S



Ronda Ware

Moncrieff Ware 




most of Thomas Forester majolica is unmarked




Phoenix Art Faience

These two marks often appear together

early mark possibly from the 1880s - before the company
became '& Sons' in 1883



Phoenix Ware
T. Forester Ltd

INDUS is the pattern name

this mark is unusual - it is post 1891 which is when the 
business was incorporated as a limited company,
however it doesn't have '& Sons' which is usual after 1883



T. F. & S. 

mark without 'LTD'

1883 - 1891 


T. F. & S. LD.

T. F. & S. LD.

mark of the Phoenix - without a globe

1891 - 1912


Phoenix China
T. F. & S. LTD.

mark incorporating a globe

1912 - 1959 


Phoenix China
T. F. & S. LTD.
Made in England

MADE IN ENGLAND was generally used in the 20th century  - this style of mark appears to have continued until the 1950s




various marks c.1925-59 



Made in England
T. F. & S. LTD.


this mark was used under the Wartime Concentration Scheme  



the phoenix Works in 1893

click for more information


Questions, comments, contributions? email: Steve Birks