Josiah Wedgwood began pottery manufacture in his own right in 1759, renting the Ivy House Works, Burslem from his cousins John and Thomas Wedgwood. The Brick House (subsequently named the Bell Works) was leased in 1764 and in 1766 Wedgwood acquired the Ridge House estate of 350 acres where he constructed the Etruria Works opened in 1769.
‘Etruria’ included a modern factory intended for ornamental wares, houses for Wedgwood and his partner in the venture, Thomas Bentley, and housing for the workers employed at the Manufactury. Wedgwood had met Bentley, a Liverpool merchant, in 1762 and at Wedgwood’s urging Bentley became a partner in the Etruria venture intended to manufacture ornamental wares. Bentley also managed the Wedgwood London showrooms from about 1769 until his death in 1780.
Josiah Wedgwood’s sons John, Thomas and Josiah II (and nephew Thomas Byerley) were admitted to the partnership in 1790, and on Wedgwood’s death in 1795, management of the business passed to the remaining partners Josiah II and Thomas Byerley (John and Thomas Wedgwood left the partnership in 1793). In 1895 the business was incorporated as a private company, ‘Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Ltd’. The Barlaston Hall estate was purchased in 1937 and construction of a new factory and village commenced in 1938. Construction was halted by the war, but resumed in 1945 and the factory commenced full production in 1950. It remained the company’s major manufacturing base in the United Kingdom until 2008. Etruria, home of the Wedgwood businesses for 180 years was demolished in 1966.
Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Ltd became a public company in July 1940 as part of a restructure of the company’s share capital to fund the completion of the Barlaston factory. The capital raising of £350,000 in new one pound shares was subscribed by the existing family shareholders numbering approximately 150 and control of the company remained firmly in the hands of the Wedgwood family.
Wedgwood Formal Gold
Discontinued pattern 1977 to 1987