In the decades following the industrial revolution, when most large towns and cities were associated with a well-known trade or famous company, indeed the manufacturing backbone of the country, Stoke-on-Trent had perhaps more than most.
One such enterprise was the Carlton Ware Pottery of Wiltshaw and Robinson which was established at Copeland Street in 1890. Although it ceased to be run by the founders, mainly the Wiltshaw family in 1967, it survived under different guises until 1989.
It was a labour-intensive, medium-sized factory in pottery terms, with perhaps some 300 souls employed at peak times. Product lines were many and diverse but the firms ‘Best Ware’ and ‘Handcraft’ ranges are as in vogue today as when produced in the 1930s. The design and quality of these products bears comparison with any other English maker.
This site is created by Barry and Elaine Girling as a holistic approach to Carlton Ware, within the times and the general context of The Potteries. It seeks to identify the history of the famous works, the designers, the processes involved and most importantly the lives and trades of the employees themselves. Relevant information will be drawn from the six towns. Occasional random articles will be posted and contributions welcomed. Very few records survive and with the exception of a few books by enthusiasts and a documentary film, the products have to speak for themselves in terms of design, date of production and the manufacturing process used. From time to time examples of ware will be shown.