Longton Hall  1873-1960

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  contribution by: Peter Ferneyhough

Ferneyhough domestic backstamp 

This stamp shows a branch from a fir tree - perhaps a reference to the first part of the Ferneyhough name.
Longton Hall was the name of the works where the factory was sited. [This should not be confused with the soft paste porcelain factory of Longton Hall] It is interesting to note that when the factory sold goods abroad, it did so under a different name -- that of Woodlands. No mention is made on the export backstamp of the Ferneyhough name. Perhaps Longton Hall is not mentioned to avoid confusion with the output of the (defunct) porcelain factory. The front of this plate is decorated with roses.


Woodlands export backstamp

This backstamp is that of the Ferneyhough decorator’s works at Longton Hall. When selling goods abroad, they used the name ‘Woodlands’, perhaps to avoid confusion with the output of the former factory at Longton Hall. This itself though, is not to be confused with the output of the Woodland Pottery, Tunstall. Once again, the theme of the fir tree refers to the Ferneyhough name. The front of this plate is decorated with lilies.


Mr. Peter Ferneyhough

This is our first donor, Peter Ferneyhough, in the entrance to the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke on Trent.

He is holding a plate decorated at Longton Hall Works, founded in 1873 by his great-grandfather James Ferneyhough

The Ferneyhough family history

The Longton Hall Works was founded in 1873 by our donor Peter’s great-grandfather James Ferneyhough. The company decorated and sold blank ware which was produced by other pottery manufacturers.

James Ferneyhough had two sons, Leonard and Thomas. Leonard went into the business, but Thomas refused. Leonard eventually ran the works and handed it on to his son Wilfred.
Nothing was made at the site - the factory bought in ready-made tableware (plates, cups, saucers and so on) painted decorative designs onto them, and fired them in a bottle oven.
Wilfred’s notes on gilding with burnished gold
, recorded in a notebook, calculate the cost and the likely profit from this production.......


This account can be found in the diary which Wilfred used as a notebook:

Interview with Mr Walker, Feb 20/51

Preparation: The pieces must be clean, no grease or foreign matter Ord Lithos can be gilt with one face
Do finish Litho Deco only
Clean with methylated spirits not Turps  If Turps is used application of cold clear water to clean & thoroughly dried
No blobs of gold must be allowed to go on the ware as it will peel off
A reasonable ‘coat’ of gold will do.
Bottle must be thoroughly shaken up & down to fetch up the gold sediment

Wilfred Ferneyhough (grandson of the founder) had two sisters, Marion and Lorna. Marion worked as a secretary for a number of potteries in Stoke. She died in 2000 at the age of 90. Her sister Lorna, worked as a free hand paintress, first at the Longton Works, and later at Wedgwood.  

Most of the tableware produced at Longton Hall Works was sold in markets in Lancashire - Haslingden, Rawtenstall and Rossendale for example. The material was delivered to stall holders in the works’ van. Wilfred’s notebook gives us a list of things he never need buy - presumably as he was able to acquire all he needed from market traders.


Markets in Lancashire
There were stalls in Bacup, Rawtenstall, Rossendale
and Haslingden, and may have been more.

Most of the ware produced at Ferneyhough’s Longton Hall Works was sold in markets in Lancashire, where they traded as Calgrove Pottery Stores.

Accounts produced in 1925 show that the annual cost of fuel, carting, crates and straw exceeded that of raw materials bought to decorate the plates. In 1942 the cost of market tolls exceeds that of materials, and by 1950 (the year in which we see Wilfred’s despairing memorandum) the entry for ‘Stalls, Rents and Market Expenses’ is £121/2/3. Only buying in the ware for decoration and wages were larger business expenses.

Wilfred’s advice on setting out a stall with goods (to Mrs Hickson, a vendor in Bacup, Lancs.) is recorded in his diary. In 1960  the site in California Street, Longton, where the Works stood, was taken over by Stoke City Council. A letter from the Estate Valuer’s Department states the purchase price was £1,100. 

Wilfred’s son Peter - shown above, believes the factory’s compulsory purchase may have been a relief to his father. In school holidays Peter would work loading the bottle oven with ware for firing, but holiday jobs aside, Wilfred actively discouraged his son from going into the industry. When the business was sold, Wilfred joined the Creda Works of the Simplex Electric Company in Blythe Bridge, a village just outside Stoke. Peter went on to work in the chemical industry at James Brown Ltd, manufacturers of zinc oxide. (There is a connection with the family history of paint though - zinc oxide is a principal element in the colour battleship grey - used by the navy for their warships.)



California Street, Longton
where the Longton Hall decorating works stood
From a 1898 map

see larger map of Longton Hall area

more on Longton Hall


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