This place has been on my list since i first started looking around the local area for stuff! Unfortunately it has always been accessible for those who have a big enough distance between their legs and the ground, being vertically challenged means until recently this place has been the one that was just out of reach!
J H Weatherby & Sons established a small works at Tunstall in 1891. In the following year they moved to the larger Falcon Pottery at Hanley. Good quality earthenware tableware has been produced up to the present time. The marks include the initials J H W & Sons or the name ‘Weatherby’.
Another famous pottery to close
By Business Reporter Stephen HoughtonOne of the last remaining family-owned pottery firms is to close after more than a century.
J H Weatherby and Sons in Hanley is currently being run down and is will soon cease trading after 109 years.
Its chairman, Christopher Weatherby, the great-great grandson of company founder John Henry Weatherby, today blamed cut-throat competition in the hotelware business for the firm’s decline.
At its height the company employed 200, but the figure was down to 50 at the turn of the year and now stands at 10.
Mr Weatherby said: ‘‘We have decided to cease trading and are in the process of finishing off stock and things like that.
‘‘Basically we’ve decided to close down before someone else forced us to – while we are solvent rather than insolvent.
‘‘It’s really upsetting. One of the main reasons is for the employees who work here.
‘‘We have had two or three generations of people working here and one of the things I’ve found warming is their reaction to this.
‘‘They have been very sympathetic and understanding. Everyone who works here has been very happy here.”
The company was founded in Tunstall in 1891 and moved to Hanley the following year.
It first made domestic ware such as basins and ewers, later moving into tableware and giftware.
The firm also entered the market for hotelware – leading ultimately to its downfall.
Mr Weatherby pointed to tough competition from home and abroad for the company’s current problems.
These included pressure on prices owing to ‘‘block production” and the concentration of the business in relatively few hands.
The 59-year-old added: ‘‘The hotel part of it was more fragmented. That has been changing and it’s relying on more standard patterns.”
Mr Weatherby admitted the firm had even considered importing cheaper products from abroad, but was deterred because of the high volumes needed to make the operation profitable.
This route was controversially followed by another failed family firm, James Sadler and Sons.
Although the Burslem-based family firm went under earlier this year with the loss of 140 jobs, James Sadler Imports Limited continues to trade.
Mr Weatherby also partly blamed a planning issue dating back to the early 1970s, which ‘‘blighted” the family firm and restricted investment in it.
After the closure of J.H.Weatherby in 2000 Jonathan Weatherby took over producing for JONROTH, working with a very limited staff at the Falcon Pottery. ….. operating as a decorator under the name of Jonathan Weatherby At Falcon Pottery.