J & G Meakin (Ltd)






 

Location and period of operation:

J & G Meakin

Hanley

1851

2000 #

 

Earthenware manufacturers of domestic tableware at Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Stoke-on-Trent, England
  • The potter James Meakin had four sons who were also all potters - see more on the Meakin Brothers.

  • The father, James (b.1807 d.1852), started potting around 1846 as an earthenware and china manufacturer at the New Town Pottery, High Street, Longton

  • In 1850 he moved his business to works in Cannon Street, Hanley.  In 1851, due to ill health, his sons James and George Meakin took over the business. 

  • The brothers kept on the Cannon Street works for a short time, but by 1852 they took over another pottery in Market Street, Hanley where, during a period of seven years they built up a profitable business. James was the technical man, the potter, his brother, George, being the 'salesman', publicity manager and traveller. Realising the potential of the export business George went to America to set up a sales market there. 

  • Following on from their success they commissioned a new up-to-date works on the moorland outskirts of Hanley and in 1859 the Eagle Pottery was opened alongside the Caldon Canal. 

  • James Meakin died in 1885 and the business was continued by his brother George. 

  • In 1890 the business was incorporated as a limited company under the name J & G Meakin Ltd.

  • In 1891 George Meakin died and the family business continued, firstly under George Eliot Meakin (son of George Meakin), from 1891 to 1927 and then under Bernard Meakin (son of George’s brother James) from 1927 until his retirement in 1955.   

  • 1956 Article on J & G Meakin

  • 1958 Family control of the business ceased in about 1958 when management control was acquired by pottery entrepreneurs J. W. E. Grundy and A. Derek Jones.

  • The 1960 Pottery Gazette Reference Book lists the company officers as - President: James F. Meakin, Chairman: J. W. E. Grundy, Managing Director: A. Derek Jones.

  • 1968 - W. R. Midwinter Ltd was acquired by Meakin through a friendly merger in September 1968 and the two companies continued to operate independently as subsidiaries of Meakin & Midwinter (Holdings) Ltd. 

#

Demise of the Meakin brand

  • In January 1970 Wedgwood made an offer for the whole share capital of J. & G. Meakin Ltd and Meakin (and its subsidiary Midwinter) became part of the Wedgwood Group. 

  • J. & G. Meakin Ltd continued as a quasi-independent entity within the Wedgwood Group until 1980 when it became part of Wedgwood’s Creative Tableware Division (with Midwinter, Johnson Bros, and others). 

  • Meakin shapes and patterns were subsumed into the Johnson Bros. earthenware brand from c.1991 and use of the Meakin brand name had been abandoned by 2000.

  • In the year 2000 the production of J&G Meakin ware ceased and the Eagle Pottery was given over to the production of Johnson Bros tableware - they produced at the Eagle Pottery until 2004 when manufacturing was transferred abroad. The Eagle Pottery works were demolished in 2005.

Much of the detailed information courtesy: A Handbook of British Pottery Manufacturers 1900-2010; Michael Perry


Factory Sites:

Dates are approximate and may overlap.  

1846 - 1850 James Meakin, China & Earthenware, Newtown Pottery, High Street, Longton

1850 - 1856 James Meakin, China & Earthenware, Cannon Street, Shelton

1853 - 1860 James & George Meakin, Earthenware Manufacturers, Market Street, Hanley

1859 - c1980 J & G Meakin, Earthenware Manufacturers, Eagle Pottery, Ivy House Road, Hanley

1888 - 1959 J & G Meakin, Earthenware Manufacturers, Eastwood Works. Lichfield Street, Hanley


 


J & G Meakin

This fragment dates from 1853-1856 period which was when the brothers James & George Meakin were operating from works in Market Street, Hanley. 

It was found on the beach along Lake Michigan in Port Washington, US. Numerous pottery fragments are found from the October 1856 ship wreck of the steamship Toledo.

photo courtesy: Jenny Guetchidjian
 

 


 

Typical examples of ware produced:

Prior to 1945 they made predominantly inexpensive export wares, particularly for the American market. In the 19th century the firm was well-known for its white granite (undecorated ironstone) wares in imitation of contemporary French porcelain.

In the 20th century the firm has been most widely recognised for the "Sol" wares produced between 1912 and 1963 for home and hotel use.

Post war expansion in the home market for domestic tableware resulted in the production of a wide range of traditional and fashionable shapes and patterns.

17 shapes and over 100 patterns have been identified for the period 1945-1975.

Notable designers: Post war design team of Frank Trigger, Alan Rodgers and Tom Arnold worked under the direction of I Travers-Smith (Homes Sales Manager) and they were noted for the Studio (shape 2) range 1963-late 1970s.

 

The entry in the 1951 & 1956 Pottery Gazette Reference Books records that the company produced...

"Earthenware - breakfast, dinner, tea, coffee, hotel, canteen ware; sandwich, supper, fruit, salad sets; cereal bowls; cheese dishes; mocca cups; salad bowls; teapots."

The 1960 entry lists...

"Earthenware - dinner ware, tea ware, badged ware, breakfast ware, canteen and hotel ware, coffee ware, cups (egg), cups (mocca), condiment sets, dishes (meat), dishes (veg.) fruit or dessert sets, kitchen ware, salad ware, scallops (covered), TV sets, teapots (earthenware decorated) 

 


 


white ironstone jug

Ironstone China
J & G Meakin
1869

Mark from the Eagle Pottery Works - unusually this includes the date of manufacture

 


 

 


white ironstone jug

Ironstone China
J & G Meakin
Eastwood Works
Hanley, England

J&G Meakin operated the Eastwood Works from 1888. Marks with 'ENGLAND' are 1891 onwards

 


 

Marks used on ware for identification:

Trade names listed in the 1951,56 & 1960 Pottery Gazette Reference Books are:

'Celeste' ware, 'Rosa' ware, 'Sol' ware, 'Sunflower' ware, 'Sunshine' ware, 'Vitresol' hotel ware. 

1965 Traded under "Bull in a China Shop" by J&G Meakin

1980 "Bull in a China Shop" used as a brand name for Wedgwood group Creative Tableware Division inc. Johnson Brothers, J&G Meakin, Midwinter, Unicorn and Franciscan. 

 

J & G MEAKIN

SOL

VITRESOL

STUDIO WARE

IRONSTONE CHINA

ROYAL STAFFORDSHIRE

ENGLISH STAFFORDSHIRE


 

                

        - click for further details of the numerous marks used by J & G Meakin -

      

 


Questions, comments, contributions? email: Steve Birks