Ridgways (Bedford Works) Ltd






 

Location and period of operation:

Ridgways (Bedford Works) Ltd

Shelton

1920

1952

 

Earthenware manufacturer at the Bedford works, Shelton, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, England
  • In 1920 the business of Ridgways was incorporated as a limited company under the name Ridgways (Bedford Works) Ltd.

  • Members of the Ridgway family remained in control until the business was acquired in 1929 by Cauldon Potteries Ltd (the base of the expanding empire of J. A. Robinson & Sons Ltd.  

  • Ridgway (Bedford Works) Ltd operated under its own name within the Cauldon Group and was sold when the parent company was placed in recievership in 1932. 

  • In 1933 the Globe Pottery Company purchased the larger Ridgway (Bedford Works) Ltd. At that time the beneficial owner of the Globe Pottery Company was Harry Wood (the principle of Wood & Sons Ltd). Both the Globe Pottery and Ridgways traded as subsidiaries of Wood & Sons Ltd

  • From 1934 the Globe Pottery Company moved its operation to the Bedford Works.    

  • In the 1940's Lawleys Ltd acquired an interest in both the Globe Pottery Comapny and Ridgways and by 1948 both were wholy owned subsidiaries of Lawleys. 

  • The period October 1952 to February 1955 was a time of reorganisation of Lawley Group pottery companies. In October 1952 Adderleys Ltd and Ridgways (Bedford Works) Ltd were combined as Ridgway & Adderly Ltd.

 

Formerly: Ridgways  (1879-1920) 

Subsequently: Ridgway and Adderley Ltd  (1952-1955) 

 


 

Ridgways, Bedford Works, Hanley, is a familiar name to dealers all the world over, particularly in the United States of America, in connection with the manufacture of pottery. They are amongst the oldest of the most reputable potters of Staffordshire. The London sample-rooms are at 17, Thavies Inn, where they are represented by Mr. Richard Wheeler. They are manufacturers of high-class toilet ware, dinner ware, tea and breakfast ware, and of useful household goods generally in semi-porcelain. A very complete line of samples is always to be seen at the London rooms, and the firm are prolific in their production of novelties. They have a wide range both as to form and decoration, the latter from neat, inexpensive patterns up to richly enamelled and gilt. 

Toilet and dinner ware are special lines, and in both the samples shown are in accordance with the best modern taste. I say the "best" because popular taste sometimes favours shapes and decorations that do not commend themselves to persons who only appreciate what is artistic. Ridgways aim at improving the taste of the public, and, like other high-class makers, they do not manufacture goods that will not do justice to their reputation, though there may be a demand for them. The new samples of toilet ware and dinner ware are proof of this. 

There is a large assortment of new patterns in dinner ware, which includes several pleasing small designs. A neat laurel leaf border in green round the rims of dinner ware is very attractive. There are novelties in toilet ware equally interesting, and Mr. Wheeler, who had returned from the works, told me that other new toilets are being prepared for the new year. That they are new is indicated by their names, "The Durbar" and "The Delhi". It is, however, premature to say more about them. 

The company are famous for their fancy suite ware. The range "Coaching Days and Coaching Ways" will be well remembered by dealers as an interesting and good selling line. There are several other series that are equally pleasing. One consists of reproductions of scenes from Dickens' "Old Curiosity Shop", that were brought out by the firm many years ago. This makes an artistic but inexpensive suite. The "Ellesmere" suite is decorated with birds and flowers in colours - a bright and pleasing ornamentation. "Ambrosial Ware" has pretty landscapes and sea views on a cream ground with gold border. But perhaps the most artistic suite of all (and there are several others) is appropriately named the "R.A. Ware". There are copies of famous paintings on a delicate canary ground. The subjects are beautifully executed on plaques and plates - chiefly the former. One, which is typical of many others, is a clever reproduction of Holman Hunt's "The Light of the World". This is a very high-class decoration, and will do much to encourage artistic taste. The decorations on each of these suites are applied to vases, jugs, plates, dishes, and all miscellaneous table ware - except the "R. A." subjects, which are chiefly on round and oval plaques. 

A very interesting novelty is shown at the rooms: there are some beautiful figures in the style of the old Staffordshire ware that was, and is, so greatly admired. There is a genuine piece of old Staffordshire - a figure of a naval officer, in colours - produced by the Ridgways in the early part of the last century. This is now a valuable piece. Mr. John Ridgway, as an artistic experiment, we presume, has produced figures of H.M. King Edward VII. and H.M. Queen Alexandra as they appeared at the time of their coronation. These are finely modelled by H. Till, and are coloured naturally. Figures of King George V. and of Queen Mary are reproduced in the same style. These Staffordshire figures will some day be valuable far beyond their present intrinsic worth, and no doubt that is one of the objects Mr. Ridgway had in producing them. They are not unique, but they may even now be considered as very rare specimens, for I understand that only a small number will be produced, and that the mould will then be destroyed. We give illustrations of the original old Staffordshire figure, and of their Majesties King Edward and Queen Alexandra, reproductions of photographs we were permitted to take of the figures now on view.

 

 

The Pottery Gazette - January 1, 1912 

 


 

Examples of ware produced by Ridgway (Bedford Works) Ltd:

"In the 20th century, Ridgways was a large manufacturer of mid-range somestic earthenware, ornimental earthenware, sanitary pottery and tiles. 

The company developed an extensive export business to North America, specialising in tableware decorated in traditional 19th century patterns."

      British Pottery Manufacturers 1900-2010 - Michael Perry

 

Many of the Ridway patterns did not have a name.

 


jug in the style of the Willow pattern


Ridgways
England
SEMI CHINA
Engraved for W. Ridgway & Co
1832

The wording 'Engraved for W.Ridgway & Co 1832' refers to the fact that the pattern was first produced in 1832 by one of the former companies William Ridgway & Co. who operated in this period.

It does not mean that this ware was made in 1832

 

 


 

 

 
hand painted plate 


Ridgways Hand Painted
Bedford Ware
Made in England

c.1927+

 

 


 

 


Platter in 'Ridgways Old Ivory' 


Ridgways Old Ivory
Bedford Ware
Made in England

c.1930+ 

 

 


Sugar basin and milk jug in 'Ridgways Old Ivory' 

 


 

  
Gaudy painted Willow pattern with impressed manufacturing date mark of July 1929 

 

 




printed pattern plate with gilt edging 


Ridgways 
Shelton England
England
Est
1792

c.1930+ 

The "Est 1792" does not refer to the Bedford works but to the original potworks established by Job and George Ridgway. 

 


 


blue & white transfer printed dish in the Venice pattern


Est 1792
Ridgway 
Made in England

c.1950+ 

 

 


 

transferware handleless cup - based on the Willow pattern

 


 

Marks used on ware for identification:

The style of marks used by Ridgways continued to be used by Ridgways (Bedford Works) Ltd. 

The earlier bow & quiver mark was continued (usually with the addition of the diamond mark) and the roundal mounted by a crown was continued.

Trade names included 'Bedford Ware'

 

 

Diamond marks:-
  


diamond with bow & quiver printed marks
these also include an impressed mark giving the month/year of manufacture 

 


Ridgways
England
SEMI CHINA
Engraved for W. Ridgway & Co
1832

The bow & quiver trade mark was registered by
Ridgways in 1880 and was used by Ridgways and subsequently by Ridgways (Bedford Works) Ltd.


The wording 'Engraved for W.Ridgway & Co 1832' refers to the fact that the pattern was first produced in 1832 by one of the former companies William Ridgway & Co. who operated in this period.

It does not mean that this ware was made in 1832

 

 

Godden's Encyclopaedia of British Pottery and Porcelain Marks gives a date of c. 1927 for the introduction of the diamond mark (mark 3317)
this has been found to be incorrect - examples show that variations of the diamond mark were in use at least as early as 1885 and probably from the formation of the company in 1879/80.

- click for details -

 


 


Ridgways Hand Painted
Bedford Ware
Made in England

c.1927+

 

 



Ironstone Ware
Ridgways, Bedford Works
England

c.1930+ 



Ridgways Old Ivory
Bedford Ware
Made in England

c.1930+ 

 



Ridgways 
Shelton England
England
Est
1792

c.1930+ 

The "Est 1792" does not refer to the Bedford works but to the original potworks established by Job and George Ridgway. 
It was not unusual for companies to try to put an early as possible date to give an appearance of age and stability.

 


 


Ivory China
BEDFORD
Made in England

c.1934+ 



Ivory China
Ridgways
England

c.1934+ 



Est 1792
Ridgway 
Made in England

c.1950+ 

The "Est 1792" does not refer to the Bedford works but to the original potworks established by Job and George Ridgway. 
It was not unusual for companies to try to put an early as possible date to give an appearance of age and stability.

this style of mark was continued by subsequent companies

 


- click picture for more on the Bedford Works -


Questions, comments, contributions? email: Steve Birks