Thos. Lawrence Ltd, Falcon Pottery with Shaw and Copestake Ltd., Sylvan Works, Longton


NOTE: This article which follows originally appeared in a 1956 book 'British Potters and Pottery Today', is based mainly upon accounts provided mainly by the firms themselves.

These two firms, trading more or less as independent concerns, are nevertheless associated companies. How this came to be will be seen later.

The Falcon Pottery was founded in 1885 by Thomas Lawrence, the original site being on the corner of Wharf Street, Stoke. Ten years later he erected the present works in Longton. In the same year (1895) he took into partnership his nephew, John Grundy who, on the death of the founder in 1932 became the sole proprietor. The business was formed into a limited company six years later, just before John Grundy died, when Richard Hull, his son-in-law, and Eric J. Dennis were made Directors, positions they still hold. The works have been completely modernised since the time of the founder.

The Falcon Pottery has always made a specialty of artistically designed vases, flower holders, bowls, baskets, etc. and over the years has built up an enviable reputation for such wares, of which 'Rosslyn' and 'Misty Morn' are two of the most popular, especially in markets overseas. Among their ornamental jugs the 'Toast of the Cavalier' is one which was much esteemed before the war and has been revived with success along with others of a similar range.

The Sylvan Works were founded in l894 by William Shaw and his uncle William Copestake. The latter retired after only four years and in his place William Shaw was joined by Richard Hull, the father of Richard Hull of the Falcon Pottery, who had then recently returned from a sojourn in Canada. Richard Hull junior (of the Falcon Pottery) succeeded to his father's place as a partner in the Sylvan works when the latter died in 1935, and in the succeeding year, when the firm became a limited company, William Shaw became its Managing Director. For six years it was under his direction before he retired, whereupon he was succeeded by Richard Hull and was joined on the Board by Eric J. Dennis of the Falcon. Thus the connection of the two firms was already established.

Still closer relationship resulted however when, in the War years, the Ministry of Supply took over the Sylvan Works, for the business was transferred to the Falcon Pottery. This war-time amalgamation proved so satisfactory that it was decided, in 1945, to continue the arrangement on the sales side, while each continued to cater for its own particular market for earthenware 'Fancies'.

The productions of the Sylvan Works, under the trade name 'Sylvac', comprise an extensive range of animal models and other novelties, posy bowls, flower vases, etc. The animal studies in particular are their pride, since they demand a very high degree of skill, both in modelling and potting.


NOTE: This article which originally appeared in a 1956 book 'British Potters and Pottery Today', is based mainly upon accounts provided mainly by the firms themselves.

questions / comments? email: Steve Birks