People from Stoke-on-Trent

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Simeon Shaw

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Simeon Ackroyd Shaw (b.1785 d.1859), schoolmaster and author


Simeon Shaw, writer, teacher and antiquary.
Author of a History of the Staffordshire Potteries (1829), and The Chemistry of Pottery (1837).
Quoted and criticised in equal measure by later contributors to the subject of Staffordshire ceramics.



1785 Born 17 April 1785 in Lancashire. Son of Edmund Shaw (millowner) and Betty (nee Ackroyd).
As an auther and teacher Simeon Shaw came to Wolstanton in the North Staffordshire Potteries to work as a printer for the 'Potteries Gazette and Newcastle under Lyme Advertiser'.
1809 Married his first wife, Elizabeth Simpson, on 13 June 1809 at Bucknall.  
1818 by 1818 Shaw was running an academy in Northwood for young gentlemen.
1820 It appears that at this early stage in his career he was experiencing serious financial problems, for on the 15th April, 1820 he was summoned to appear before the Lancaster Quarter Sessions. Although imprisoned for an unrecorded period his release was made possible through the generosity of family and friends.

7th November 1820 his wife, Elizabeth died. Simeon and Elizabeth has five children together. 

1821 Simeon married his second wife, Harriet Marsh Broad, on Christmas Day - the 25th December 1921.
1822 by 1822 Shaw was running a 'Commercial Academy' in Piccadilly, Shelton.
1823 published a 6 volume work 'Nature Displayed'.
1826 Shaw was partly instrumental in the founding of the Pottery Mechanics' Institution in Frederick Street, Shelton. (although Ward does not include Shaw in the list of founders). 
1829 published the book 'History of the Staffordshire Potteries'.
Full title: '
History Of The Staffordshire Potteries And The Rise And Process Of The Manufacture Of Pottery And Porcelain - With Preferences To Genuine Specimens And Notices Of Eminent Potters'
by 1835 Shaw had a family of ten children 'with probability of an increase' 
1834 by 1834 Shaw had a large academy in Market Place, Hanley.
1837 published the book 'The Chemistry of Pottery'. 
1838 Shaw began to publish monthly installments of a local history work 'The Borough of Stoke upon Trent in 1838'.

The project had been carried out with the assistance of John Ward, a Burslem-based solicitor. Ward was apparently the owner of an important collection of historical documents to which he agreed to give Shaw access on the condition that any work based on this evidence was submitted to him for editing.  

Eight parts had been issued when Shaw had financial problems with his printers (W.Lewis & Son) - Shaw had to mortgage his book and the rights. 
John Ward completed the work in twelve more parts and the whole work was published under his name as a book in 1843.

1841 The 1841 Census records that that Simeon lived in Wolstanton with his eldest son Osmond, a warehouseman, and his four younger children Letitia, Isaac, Mary and James.
1851 By the time of the 1851 Census Simeon Shaw was still living in Wolstanton. 
Aged sixty six and classed as an author and public writer, Simeon was now head of a household of eight people. 

His eldest son Osmond had moved out and much to Simeonís disapproval, had become a Mormon - in 1852 Osmond emigrated with his wife and children to the United States, settling in Salt Lake City.

Simeon's his second son Isaac had taken the name Broad, the surname of Simeonís second wife Harriet. Isaac was a printer, his daughter Mary had become a dressmaker and his youngest son James worked as a painter and glazer in the Potteries. His eldest daughter Letitia had married Thomas Booth, an ironstone miner and Simeon was now a grandfather to Elizabeth Harriet and Thomas, aged only nine months.

1859 Simeon Shaw died on 8th April 1859 in the County Lunatic Asylum, domestic and financial worries and overwork led to his mental breakdown.
Shaw was buried in Bethesda churchyard.

His obituary, which appeared in the Staffordshire Sentinel on the 16th April, 1859 reads;

"After a life chequered by prosperity and adversity, his intellect gradually gave way, his strong memory failed, and his outer man decayed. He was not cut down, but gradually withered, dropped and died."