The beginnings of the Worcester Porcelain Company

  • 17 Jan 2012
  • Trade and Industry
  • Back
By the middle of the 18th century 'china' was the fashionable rage throughout Europe. Several attempts were made to emulate the imported porcelain from the Far East, but the approach in England was different to that in France and Germany, where state factories were set up; in England it was left to private enterprise.

At Worcester, Dr. John Wall, scientist and physician, conducted experiments with Mr.Davis, apothecary of Broad Street, and formed a company with 13 of their acquaintances, and took a lease on Warmstrey House, next to the Bishop's Palace. These '15 Gentleman of 1751' subscribed a total of £4,500; as follows:

  • Wm. Bayliss, physician, Evesham - £675.10s
  • Edw. Cave, printer, London - £562.10s
  • Rd. Holdship, glover, Worcester - £562.10s
  • Josiah Holdship, maltster, Worc - £450.00
  • John Thorneloe, gent, Worcester - £337.10s
  • Sam. Bradley, goldsmith, Worcester, £225.00
  • John Berwick & John Brodribb, wollen drapers, Worcester -£225.00
  • Rd.BrodribbEsq, Beverley - £225.00
  • William Davis, apothecary, Worcester - £225.00
  • John Doharty, Worcester - £225.00
  • Edw. Jackson, merchant, Worcester - £225.00
  • Sam Prichett, clerk, knightwick, - £225.00
  • John Wall, physician, Worcester - £225.00
  • William Oliver, gent, Worcester - £112.00
They hoped to realise the possibilities of a private process of which two of their number had obtained particulars, 'to discover', as put in the prospectus English of the time, 'for the benefit of themselfs, the art, mystery and secret by them hitherto invented and found out'. Within a year, Dr. Wall had acquired the secret process of Miller & Lund's factory at Bristol, with their tools, moulds, etc, and had brought them to Worcester.

The first oriental pottery was copied with exactitude, but soon Worcester began to develop a style of its own. This was the period of the famous 'scale blue', and the era of transfer printed decoration.