Paragon China Ltd., 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.
Although not yet fifty years old the firm now known as Paragon China, Ltd. has already earned for itself a well merited reputation at home and abroad as producers of almost every type of line in fine bone china. A visit to their London Showrooms would demonstrate better than words the excellent technical and artistic qualities which are their contribution to the ceramic story of today.
The firm was inaugurated as a partnership under the name of Star China in 1897, the principals being H. J. Aynsley and Hugh Irving. For over twenty years this partnership continued and the business gradually laid the foundations upon which its present day prosperity has been built.
In 1919, at the beginning of the inter-war years, Hugh Irving became the sole proprietor, a private Limited Company was formed and the name changed to Paragon China, Ltd. Since that time it has had the advantages which only accrue from the direction being in the hands of one family of potters. Irving's two sons Leslie and Guy Irving in due course joined their father, the former in 1928, the latter in 1933. They are now Managing Directors of the firm.
In its early day the activities of the business were limited to tea and breakfast wares and the greater part of their output was exported to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
But early in the 1930's this policy was expanded to meet the requirements of the trans-Atlantic Continent – Canada, the United States and South America. To this end it was found necessary to enter the china dinner ware field. They succeeded so well that it has been found advisable to increase these lines year by year. The pursuance of this policy has placed the factory in quite a different category.
In 1933 Paragon China Ltd. was honoured by being appointed China Manufacturers to the late Queen Mary and in 1938 a similar Royal Appointment was granted by H.M. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, the latest Royal Appointment being to H.M. The Queen. The honour of receiving such appointments is one of which Paragon China Ltd. is justly proud.
In 1936 an ambitious reconstruction programme was planned – its aim being to create a smokeless factory with all modern improvements. Before the second war two new shops and an electric enamel kiln were completed. Resuming after forced inaction, the post war period has seen the installation of an electric glost kiln in its own new house, an up-to-date flat-making shop and drying warehouse, decorating shops and offices. Finally, since 1950, a new one-storey building to house biscuit kilns and biscuit warehouses has completed a far-reaching scheme which will enable Paragon China to progress still further upon the path to ever-widening activities and even greater reputation than it enjoys at the present time.
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