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Report - John Tams, Crown Works, Stoke On Trent.



dweeb

Super Moderator
Staff member
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#1
This was where the Tams company began, at Longton's crown works. It went on to run 5 factories, Crown Works, Atlas Works, Blyth Works (see report) Sutherland Works and a warehouse at the former Monarch flatware site.

The company went in to recievership, and then a management buyout created "tams group" from the former John Tams Empire. This lasted a very short time, and now all 5 works are closed.

The John Tams pottery group went into receivership last week because the bank ‘‘pulled the plug''.
This had been denied by administrative receiver Myles Halley, from accountants and business advisers KPMG.
But company chairman Mrs Angela Tams says: ‘‘It was the bank's right to call for the repayment of its money whenever it wanted.
‘‘I made a pact with myself not to apportion blame in this tragedy. To do so would only be counter-productive. The bank did what it considered it had to do. To say I'm sad is a great understatement. I'm devastated.
‘‘But there are no recriminations. It's not for me to answer on behalf of the bank. It has its own reasons and rights, which have been exercised.''
Mrs Tams denied there had been a boardroom split and in-fighting over the decision to call in the receiver.
She revealed: ‘‘We burned the midnight oil. We had meetings around the clock with advisers and, in the end, were unanimous that it would be morally and legally wrong not to act in the way we did.''
Last Friday she plucked up courage to visit all five factories, shaking hands with every employee.
She said: ‘‘I thought it was my duty to give them support in these traumatic and uncertain times, but they were the ones hugging me and reassuring me that everything would be all right. I was humbled. I was told: ‘We are one, big family. We must stick together, come what may.' These were people who could be looking for another job in a few days.
‘‘There were many tears, but smiles too. They lifted me more than I did them.''
Mrs Tams reassured all employees that, although there would inevitably be ‘‘heavy job losses'', all redundancy payments would be paid in full.
She said: ‘‘That is enshrined in Employment Protection Law. It is the only gilt-edged guarantee in this whole sorry affair.''
Factory closures and redundancies within the group could be announced later this week.
With tragic irony, her own 70 per cent stake in the company is now, at a stroke, virtually worthless. Mrs Tams was still mourning the death of her husband when the loss of the company left her numb. She said: ‘‘Gerald and I have loved the business as if it was our own flesh and blood. Last Thursday, when the receivers took over, it was just like another death in the family. Something in me died all over again.
‘‘I have missed Gerald so dreadfully. It would be wrong to suggest I was getting over his death because I wasn't, but I was getting on with my life, which was the family business.
‘‘It was that we'd both shared and nurtured for so long. So in a strange way, my life with Gerald lived on through the company.
‘‘Now sudden death has struck again to take away another love of my life. And although to observers it may have seemed as if the company was on its death-bed, it never looked that way to insiders, to me and Gerald.
‘‘Even when shares were suspended on the Stock Market at the beginning of the month, I was confident a solution would be found and we would pull through.''
Mrs Tams sat at the head of the table used for board meetings, the empty chairs representing the ghosts of prosperous yesterdays when the company was valued at £33 million and the future seemed certain.
The Tams group is one of the last great family-run pottery firms in Stoke-on-Trent and this year should have been celebrating its 125th year.
Mrs Tams' husband had been with the company for 40 years - 20 years as production director before rising to chairman and managing director in 1984.
Having built up the company from two factories to five, he led a management buyout in 1984 and took the company public four years later.
The company was growing fast and by the time it died last week, it employed 730 workers.
Mrs Tams said: ‘‘I am overcome by a sense of personal failure. I know it's not true. I know I've done everything possible, but I still feel I've failed - failed the workers, who are the only people that matter. They are the victims.''
She added: ‘‘I hope Gerald would be proud of me. I've tried desperately hard to do things morally right, because that always meant so much to Gerald.
‘‘He would have been anxious to ensure every single worker realised how much we cared - for every one of them and the name of the company."
She said there was no defining moment which put the company into a nosedive. ‘‘Despite Gerald's vision and strength of leadership, in all honesty I don't think the outcome would have been any different if he was still alive.''
Mrs Tams' pride for the company is matched only by her admiration for her two grown-up children, Catherine and Jeremy, who have ‘‘gone their own ways, without relying on the family business''.
Catherine is in banking and Jeremy is a sales manager with another Stoke-on-Trent pottery firm.
Mrs Tams suddenly brightened. ‘‘There is a ray of sunshine,'' she said. ‘‘In June I shall be a grandmother. That will keep me occupied, if nothing else does. So, I still have something to look forward to.''
1907 advert from "the Pottery Gazette"
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Two views of the Blyth works, the latter after the works had been almost doubled.
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