Josiah Spode I

more information on Spode I


SPODE, Josiah, I, (1733-97), pottery manufacturer, Stoke upon Trent. 

Josiah Spode I the youngest child and only son of Josiah Spode of Lane Delph, was born in March 1733. His father died, a pauper, in 1739. 

Josiah Spode was apprenticed in 1749 to Thomas Whieldon, for whom he worked until at least 1754. From 1762-70 he managed a pottery for William Barks and John Turner of Lane End. 

About 1760 he began in the pottery business on his own account, renting a works at Shelton, and later, in partnership with William Tomlinson, the Barks and Turner pottery at Lane End. The partnership with Tomlinson lasted until 1774. In 1776 Josiah Spode bought the factory with the aid of a mortgage of 1,000 from the owner, Jeremiah Smith, who had bought it from Barks. 

Josiah Spode had another partnership with Thomas Mountford, which ended in 1780. The pottery produced cream-coloured earthenware, blue painted ware in the Chinese style and other wares. Josiah Spode persuaded Thomas Lucas, an engraver, and James Richards, a printer, to leave the Caughley Works and enter his employment. On the basis of blue-underglaze transfer printing the business prospered and when Thomas Minton designed for him, from 1789-93, Spode's fortune was made. 

Late in life he began to experiment with bone ash in the manufacture of china, a method which his son Josiah Spode II perfected. 

Josiah Spode married Ellen Finley who had a haberdashery business, on 8 September 1754. He had seven children including Josiah Spode II. He gave a number of houses to his daughter Sarah on her marriage and a pottery at Foley to his son Samuel on his marriage. He was an accomplished violist, his readiness to play giving rise to the old local phrase 'as ready and willing as Spode's fiddle'. He was a member of the committee formed in 1792 for the improvement of the Tittensor and Talke turnpike and a member of the committee which built the Newcastle canal, running alongside the Spode works. He died at Stoke upon Trent on 8 September 1797. 

Sources: C. Bernard Hughes, The Story of Spode; Jewitt; M and H; VCH viii; L. Whiter, Spode, A History of the Family, Factory and Wares from 1733-1833; People of the Potteries.