W H Goss


Location and period of operation:

W H Goss




(See sources)

William Henry Goss - Porcelain, Parian and Earthenware manufacturer at the Cock Works, John Street, Stoke (1858-70)
and from 1870 at the Falcon Pottery, Stoke, Stoke-on-Trent.

It is probable that Goss took over the works in John Street from J Mountford

For a brief period of about one year around 1868 William Adams Peake joined Goss in partnership as and they traded as Goss & Peake. 


His early work consisted of parian ware
- mostly unglazed but some with hand enamelling. 

Jewitt said of him: "In Parian - for which Mr. Goss ranked deservedly high - busts, statuary (notably an exquisite group of Lady Godiva), vases, tazzas, bread-platters and many other ornamental goods were made. Notable among these are admirable busts of Queen Victoria, the Earl of Beaeonslield. Mr. Gladstone. Lord Derby, etc. As portrait-busts, they rank far above the average and are, indeed, perfect reproductions of the original persons. It is not often that this can be said of portrait-busts, but il was a particular study of Mr. Goss and he succeeded admirably in it." 

W. H. Goss made a substantial contribution to souvenir and commemorative ware. The company made articles of very thin moulded porcelain, which was particularly translucent.

They made ornaments rather than functional items, and in the earlier years of the business, from about 1860 to about 1890, they produced fine, beautifully coloured ware, including vases, jewellery, and dressing-table articles.

Goss exhibited at the Great International Exhibition of 1862 (held in South Kensington, London)
He won an important medal for his display of parian ware. 



In the later years from 1883, and especially not long after Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee of 1887, they branched out into much cheaper souvenir ware. 

These articles were shaped like Cleopatra's Needle, Marble Arch, Nelson's Column, or more mundane things, such as wheelbarrows, cottages, and animals, and decorated with the heraldic crests (termed "crested china") of various towns or resorts.



The business was renamed Goss China Co. Ltd. in about 1934 - the works closed in 1944. 

1985 the Goss trade mark was revived by Royal Doulton Ltd. (who has subsumed Lawleys - and others)


Goss factories: 

the Cock Works
- click for more -

the Falcon Works
- click for more -

W. H. Goss biography: 

William Henry Goss
1833 - 1906

- click for biography -


Goss's productions at the Great International Exhibition of 1862
Goss's productions at the Great International Exhibition of 1862 



Goss Parian ware

Parian is a porcelain which, instead of being moulded into shape like dough is poured, while liquid, into moulds - parain ware is often left unglazed and so has a marble like apperance. 

Parian ware's chief experimentalist and exponent was William H. Goss - his steady stream of fine ornamentals in this material competed with, and sometimes overshadowed, the products of such manufacturers as Copeland. 


Three parian busts by W. H. Goss
Southey, Granville and William H Goss himself

picture: Lynda Pine, Goss and Souvenier Heraldic China


W H Goss Parian Ware Portrait Bust of Sir Walter Scott c1880
W H Goss Parian Ware Portrait Bust of Sir Walter Scott c.1880

mark on the above piece


W. H. Goss Parian Figure - Venus emerging from a Sea Shell
W. H. Goss Parian Figure - Venus emerging from a Sea Shell



Goss and Peake terracotta: 

W.H. Goss terracotta wall plaque of Benjamin Disraeli
W.H. Goss terracotta wall plaque of Benjamin Disraeli 



A Goss and Peake terracotta vase
A Goss and Peake terracotta vase


Around 1868 William Adams Peake joined Goss in partnership as and they traded as Goss & Peake. 

Together they manufactured terracotta - the reddish brown earthenware has suddenly become fashionable - making wine bottles, jardinieres and vessels Greek and Roman style - the manufacture of this ware only covered the years 1867-9.  


Goss crested ware:   


The development of the heraldic china souvenir business: 

William H Goss had  invented an improved technique for the body and enamels for heraldic china and in 1873 registered a patent. 

W.H. Goss had been producing small vases and pots with the Arms of Colleges and Schools on for presentations. 

His son Adolphus joined the business in 1883 - Adolphus noted how the lower classes were now able to travel further (due to the expanding train network) and had more spare time and disposable income than ever before. A market had developed for souvenirs for people to take home from their day trips out. 

Goss developed the small vases and pots into small cheap items and produced them with any town names and crests on. These were an instant success, and Adolphus travelled the country, and eventually around the world, signing-up agents to sell from, as well as drawing pictures of the local scenes to send back to the factory for new designs.

The collecting of these souvenir items  caught on in a big way and by the turn of the century had become a collecting craze. 

From the beginning with seaside resorts - virtually every town and city in the land now had its arms produced and sold by a Goss appointed agent and by 1900 there were 481 agencies in Britain. 

It is said that, in 1910, some 90% of homes in Britain had some "Crested china" in their home. 

Between 1883 and 1900 the Adolphus Goss criss-crossed the country, building up a network of more than 1,000 local agents, each responsible for promoting their local coats of arms, which could be placed on any one of upwards of 600 small, mass-produced named models. 

The first of these were copied from museum pieces, but the later ones reproduced animals, lighthouses, fossils, fonts, statuary and crosses and many other things.

 Goss china souvenir's came in a range of 'standard' shapes to which
various crests could be added - thus speeding up the delivery cycle


 Goss china - model of an antique pipe with arms of Baddacombe, 
a pilgrims leather bottle with arms of Rayleigh Essex, a Welsh lady's hat with arms of Brecon....

Goss cottages:

Although the heraldic crested wares made up the bulk of the company's sales, Goss also made 
a popular series of hand painted buildings known as Goss Cottages -

Starting manufacture in 1893 over 40 different ones were made. These were made in two styles,
Some of the cottages were made with a large model which could be used as a night light. 
Smaller models were made which were purely collectables, and these had considerable detail and accuracy. 


W H Goss cottages

The First & Last House in England
Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Shakespeare's House 



Initials and marks used on ware for identification:






the Falcon was a printed mark of W.H.Goss
the Falcon was a 
printed mark of W.H.Goss

the bird is a Falcon, as reflected in the factory name of the factory "Falcon Works".

The heraldric description of the crest is 'a falcon rising, ducally gorged'  



old enameled shop display sign advertising Goss Porcelain
old enameled shop display sign advertising Goss Porcelain 


Questions/comments/contributions? email: Steve Birks