Stoke-on-Trent - Potworks of the week

contents: 2009 photos

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Church Yard Works, Burslem

"The Churchyard Works, at the house adjoining which Josiah Wedgwood was born and where he was apprenticed to his brother Thomas, formed the north-east boundary of the Churchyard of the old church at Burslem.

The works were occupied by various members of the Wedgwood family until they were sold to Thomas Green in 1795. Mr. Green manufactured earthenware at these works and for some time resided at the house near the works, which had been built by one of the Wedgwood family. 

The property remained in Thomas Green's hands until his bankruptcy in 1811, when it appears to have been purchased by a manufacturer named Joynson, from whom it passed to John Moseley or Mosley (1812-22), subsequently J. & J. Jackson. 

The pot-works were then held by various tenants and, until about 1858, were let off in small holdings to different potters. 

About that period, Jesse Bridgwood of Tunstall became the tenant of the premises as a general earthenware manufacturer, and was soon afterwards joined in partnership by Edward Clarke, whose practical experience greatly increased the reputation of the works. The firm, having taken a lease of the premises, remodelled many of the buildings, erected others, and greatly improved the whole place by bringing to bear many improvements in body unknown to, and unthought of by their predecessors.

After Mr. Bridgwood's decease in 1864, these works (and the large establishment at Tunstall) were carried on by the surviving partner, Edward Clarke, until, after a short time, he ceased working them, when they passed into other hands as his tenants. 

The manufactory was afterwards again carried on by Mr. Clarke in partnership with Josiah Wood under the style of Wood & Clarke during the period 1871-2. The productions of the Churchyard Works, while carried on by Mr. Clarke, were opaque porcelain or 'white granite' for the American market; ordinary earthenware in the usual services; artists' goods (palettes, tiles, slabs, saucers, etc.); and door furniture. The impressed mark was "Bridgwood & Clarke', and the printed mark a royal arms, with the words "Porcelain Opaque, B & C, Burslem.'

In 1873, Mr. W. E. Withinshaw entered upon the Churchyard Works, and produced dinner, lea, toilet, and other services; vases, jugs, teapots, kettles, and jug stands: trinket and fancy articles: candlesticks, and all the usual varieties of useful and ornamental goods, both plain, printed, painted, enamelled, and gilt. In toilet services, he introduced many designs of novel character. In vases, also, Mr. Withinshaw produced some good designs, and the decoration was judiciously arranged. In jet ware, all the usual articles - teapots, kettles, jugs, spill-cases, etc. - were made. The impressed mark was W. E. WITHINSHAW; and on the dinner ware was printed the name of the pattern, with the initials W.E.W.

Mr. Withinshaw's connection with the Churchyard Works ceased in 1878, when he was succeeded by Francis Joseph Emery, who continued the manufactory until 1880, when it again reverted to Edward Clarke who, having relinquished his large works at Tunstall, removed hither and continued the production of the white granite ware for the American markets, in addition to this white granite, which was produced in large quantities and of the very highest quality of body, Mr. Clarke made a distinct class of fine white earthenware called "Royal Semi-Porcelain", which was specially adapted for retail trade in the United States. 

These goods are of a vitreous body, and in colour and richness of glazing strongly resemble French china; they have a fine and effective appearance with enamel decorations. In addition to these, Mr. Clarke produced ordinary earthenware services and the usual classes of articles of various degrees of decoration in printing, underglaze painting, and gilding. 

In 1887, Messrs. A. J. Wilkinson took the Churchyard Works from Edward Clarke, and continued into the twentieth century. This firm subsequently worked the Royal Staffordshire Pottery, Burslem."

Jewitt's Ceramic Art of Great Britain 1800-1900




St. John's Passage, Church Yard Works, Burslem
St. John's Passage, Church Yard Works, Burslem

photo: 1930 - Mr S Smith
The Warrillow Collection

Said to be part of Wedgwood's Church Yard Works, Burslem
Alterations in the surrounding buildings around 1930 revealed an old chert stone
(used for grinding) and a brick bearing the date 1760




The Churchyard Works
where Josiah Wedgwood served his apprenticeship 

- click picture for more on St. John's Church -

The small pottery site occupied and worked by the Wedgwood family from 1656, when Josiah Wedgwood I's great-grandfather first took possession of it. 

Josiah was born and served his apprenticeship there. The site derives its name from the nearby Church of St John's, where Wedgwood himself was baptised on 12th July 1730.



1851 Ordnance Survey Map
The bottle kiln in the photo is shown by the arrow in this map
it can also be located in the 1832 map below


1832 Hargreaves Map



1740 William Heaton Map

"The Churchyard Works.... formed the north-east boundary of the 
Churchyard of the old church at Burslem."


contents: 2009 photos