Thomas Hughes & Son (Ltd)


Location and period of operation:

T Hughes & Son (Ltd)





Earthenware manufacturer at the Unicorn Works, Longport, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England
  • In 1888 Thomas Hughes purchased the Longport Pottery from Davenport's. This was a large pottery with many buildings. Hughes demolished some of the the buildings, letting others to other potters and by 1893 had started to move his manufactory to here from the nearby Top Bridge Works.

  • In 1895 the business was renamed to Thomas Hughes & Son.

  • In December 1899 Thomas Hughes left the business leaving Allan Edward Hughes as sole partner - the name Thomas Hughes & Son was retained. 

  • At some time after Joseph D Hodgkinson and Frank Garnett joined Allan E Hughes in the business. 

  • In September 1903 Joseph Dunn Hodgkinson left the business leaving the partners Allan E Hughes and Frank Garnett - the name Thomas Hughes & Son was retained. 

  • The business was incorporated as a limited company c.1910. 

  • A 1947 and 1951 trade directory record the Managing Director as B.V. Hughes and F.S. Crossley as a director and Sales Manager. 

  • The company got into financial difficulty and in May 1957 liquidators were appointed.

  • The Unicorn Pottery was taken over by Arthur Wood & Sons (Longport) Ltd. the other occupant of the historic Davenport Works site.


Formerly: Thomas Hughes


Thomas Hughes

 Portrait of Thomas Hughes - the master of Unicorn works pottery. 
It was painted by Leonard Hughes - a respected portrait 
painter and member of the Royal Cambrian Academy

in the collection of Jack Shamash
and used by by kind permission 



Hughes, Thomas, and Son, 
earthenware, sanitary ware,
and tile manufacturers

note the misspelling of Davenport Street 

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



The London Gazette
9 February 1900

notice that Thomas Hughes left the business 


The London Gazette
15 January 1904

notice that Joseph Dunn Hodgkinson left the business 


The London Gazette
21 May 1957

notice of the appointment of liquidators 



white ironstone plate in the wheat pattern

mark is 1895-1910

The predecessor Thomas Hughes produced large amounts of white ironstone
this type of ware was continued by Thomas Hughes & Son



white ironstone individual compote dish 

mark is 1910-1930




Serving tureen with lid - cobalt blue with gilt



hand painted jug with gilt



ware in the Willow pattern


plate in the Shapoo pattern - hand painted polychrome transfer ware with gilt 

T Hughes & Son Ltd

mark without 'LTD' 1895-1910



covered tureen in the Shapoo pattern

This pattern was first produced by T & R Boote who likely sold the pattern engravings to Thomas Hughes around 1888 when Boote stopped manufacture of decorated ware.   

Boote produced this pattern in Flow-Blue, Thomas Hughes produced it as a standard transfer-ware, mostly in bue & white but also in other mono-colours. 
T. Hugues & Son also produced this pattern in hand painted polychrome designs.  

T Hughes & Son Ltd

mark with 'LTD' 1910+





photos courtesy: Cy Coleman



plate in the Avon Cottage pattern





Konny Kraft covered serving bowl


Konny Kraft plates and serving tray

Konny Kraft cup & saucer


Konny Kraft was the name of a range of hand painted ware 
produced from c.1930 to 1957



Marks used on ware for identification:

Ware without '& Son' was produced by the predecessor Thomas Hughes.

Thomas Hughes & Son started operation in 1895.

In 1910 the business was incorporated as a limited company and marks included 'Ltd' are after this date. 

A shield mark was introduced around 1930 and continued to aorund 1950. 

From around 1935 marks were used with the name 'Hughes' (with 'T' or 'Thomas' or '& Son') - sometimes these marks have a unicorn symbol but not always.

Various marks throughout the period of operation (1895-1957) incorporate the place name Longport - the district in Stoke-on-Trent where the factory was located. 

Trade names used were 'Konnykraft' ware and 'Unicorn' ware. 



Thos Hughes & Son

early mark 1895-c.1910

Thomas Hughes bought the works off the Davenport family


Thos Hughes & Son

Thos Hughes & Son

T. H. & Son

Asiatic Pheasants is the pattern name 

Thos Hughes & Son 


this style of mark without 'Ltd' are generally pre 1910



Ironstone China
Thos Hughes & Son 


mark incorporates the Royal Arms

Ironstone Ware
Unicorn Works
Thos Hughes & Son Ltd 
Made in England


an earlier mark (1895-1910) was used without 'Ltd' and 'Made in England'

marks used on white ironstone ware



Thomas Hughes 

Thomas Hughes & Son Ltd
Staffordshire England

The letter 'B' indicates this was made under the Wartime Concentration Scheme 


Thos Hughes & Son Ltd
Staffordshire England

Avon Cottage is the pattern name

Shield was a registered trade mark 1930+ 




From around 1935 marks were used with the name 'Hughes' (with 'T' or 'Thomas' or '& Son') - sometimes these marks have a unicorn symbol but not always.


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

- click for the full article -



Unicorn Works, Longport, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent

- click for more information on the Unicorn Works -



Questions, comments, contributions? email: Steve Birks