Report - - J H Weatherby, Falcon pottery works, Stoke on Trent | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - J H Weatherby, Falcon pottery works, Stoke on Trent


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Weatherby moved to the Falcon works from a smaller works in Tunstall in 1892. The factory was in the Weatherby family until closure in 2000. The works made everything from fancy goods to domestic ware, but their main lines were in Hotel and crested ware.

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.

I first got into the falcoln works about two or three years ago. In my opinion it was the best and most intact pottery in Stoke. Since then it has gone down hill at an alarming rate. I arrived this time to find most of the roof raped of its slates, and as a result the whole building is wet through and falling to pecies. Despite the fact it is a listed building, I doubt anyone will be able to do much with it after this damage.

Despite the theft and rot, the pottery is still complete with moulds, all the work's machinery and piles and piles of finished and unfinished ware, dating from all ages...

If anyone wants to see this place, now is the time. After the next winter the building is going to be in a very bad way indeed...




All of the pottery making machinery was home produced in Stoke. With the industry in tatters, I would be suprised if any of these firms have survived.






This is a 'horse' for stacking saggers in the bottle kiln.



The bottle kiln is still amazingly full of saggers, a very rare sight. It is probably 50 years since these will have been used, when the tunnel kiln replaced the bottle kiln method of firing ware.










I loved this. The plaster dust on the floor of the mould store had left 'ghost' moulds in the floor.




Marls, used for stacking ware in the kiln. The company that produced these is too derelict. No pottery factories left means no market for marls I suppose.


Weatherby pts used for mixing glaze