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Report - Weatherby's Pottery, Stoke 20/06/09

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Rookinella, Aug 22, 2009.

  1. Rookinella

    Rookinella I should have danced all night
    28DL Full Member

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    Visited with Rigsby on our Summer pottery extravaganza which I'm still trying to catch up on. We swung by Spode after a night's kip in a car park but seeing a load of workers on site, we decided to give it a miss and do J H Weatherby instead. Lovely Jubbly :thumb

    Here's some information about the pottery taken from a big useful online pottery resource.

    One 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.


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