Wedgwood Windermere China History

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Wedgwood Windermere China History
The elegance of Wedgwood china speaks for itself. (Image by, courtesy of Karen)

The history of Wedgwood Windermere china is as intricate as one of its blue Asiatic Pheasant patterns. Enoch Wedgwood (1813-1879), who founded Wedgwood and Co., was a distant cousin of Josiah Wedgwood, the more famous Wedgwood who headed Josiah Wedgwood and Sons.

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Mistaken Identity

Even though the two businesses were similar in name and geographically close, they were separate companies.

Added to a confusion of names is a confusion of geography. Wedgwood & Co. (Tunstall) operated in Tunstall and Josiah Wedgwood & Sons operated in Burslem. In March 1910, the boroughs of Hanley, Burslem, Longton and Stoke and the districts of Tunstall and Fenton federated to become a city now named Stoke-on-Trent. Stoke-on-Trent is the most famous pottery district in the world and is located in the north of England's Staffordshire County.

In an ironic twist of history, Josiah Wedgwood and Sons took over Enoch Wedgwood and Co. in 1980.

Enoch Wedgwood Takes Over

Potter Enoch Wedgwood joined Podmore, Walker and Co. around 1850, and by 1856 he had become a senior partner, rounding out the firm as Podmore, Walker and Wedgwood. Enoch made many improvements between 1853 and 1861, renting the Swan Banks works and taking over the Unicorn works in Great Woodland Street. When the partnership dissolved in 1859, Enoch and his brother Jabez formed Wedgwood and Co. The company operated a factory in the pottery district that occupied an acre of land and employed about 700 people.

The Asiatic Pheasants Line

Podmore, Walker and Co. introduced a series of contemporary romantic china patterns that they successfully exported, especially to America, including the highly successful Asiatic Pheasants line. Wedgwood and Co. improved and expanded the Asiatic Pheasants line, and it became the most popular dinnerware pattern of the Victorian era.

Wedgwood and Co.

In addition to the Asiatic Pheasants line, Wedgwood and Co. manufactured high quality earthenware that included dinner, tea, breakfast, dessert and toilet services and other pieces that they successfully sold to domestic, continental and American markets.

It created Imperial Ironstone China, superior in body and glaze, as its signature product and sold hundreds of pieces of this china to marine markets. A unicorn and Royal Blue Ironstone were two of Enoch Wedgwood's best-known trademarks, and their trade names included Imperial Porcelain, Queen's Ivory, Wacol Ware, Wacol Imperial, Everware, Royal Tunstall, Vitrilain and Semi Royal Porcelain.

Enoch Wedgwood (Tunstall) Ltd.

Eventually Wedgwood and Co. declined, and in the late 1880s, Hollinshead and Kirkham took over the Unicorn Works and the Asiatic Pheasants copperplates. By 1900, Wedgwood and Co. had become a limited company and operated under that title until 1965, when it changed its name to Enoch Wedgwood (Tunstall) Ltd. in an attempt to avoid the confusion between the old title and marks with that of Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Ltd.

The Wedgwood Name Continues

In 1980, Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Ltd. took over the company as a subsidiary and renamed it Unicorn Pottery. Josiah Wedgwood and Sons Ltd. went into administration, an alternative to liquidation, on Jan. 5, 2009. In March 2009, KPS Capital of the United States bought the company as part of Waterford Wedgwood and will continue the Wedgwood name.

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