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Pottery Identification

1 The name of the manufacturer and an approximation of date of manufacture can be discovered if the piece of pottery has a backstamp. 

The best reference book, although there are many others is - Geoffrey A Godden "Encyclopaedia of British Pottery and Porcelain Marks" ISBN: 0257657827

Check out a selection of marks and initials online:


2 The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery (formerly City of Stoke-on-Trent Museum) has the best collection of Staffordshire Ceramics in the world and has an identification service. An item can be left for identification , or information sent by post. A photograph is always helpful, remembering that it is the marks on the base which are most important. 

Ceramics Department
The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
Bethesda Street

Telephone (01782) 232323 or Email museums@stoke.gov.uk


3 Try searching on the ebay and amazon pottery auction web sites, someone may be selling the item you are trying to identify. On the ebay site you can chat with fellow collectors as well. 


4 Wedgwood, Spode and Royal Doulton have museums and company archival material. For pottery made by these companies, it is best to contact them directly for information.


Miss Gaye Blake-Roberts
Wedgwood Museum

Telephone (01782) 204218


Following the closure of Spode’s historic factory at Church Street, Stoke, where the collection had been located, much of the collection is presently in store and unavailable to the public.  The Trustees are working with a number of parties to establish a new permanent home, hopefully in conserved historic buildings on the Spode Church Street site.

Royal Doulton works  in Burslem are close and the business aquired by Wedgwood.


www.wedgwood.co.uk  www.spode.co.uk  www.royal-doulton.com 


5 Company archives - generally these are not available for companies other than those mentioned above. The City Reference Library, Bethesda Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, is the best source for company history. The material is well indexed and staff knowledgeable and helpful. The Pottery Gazette, the trade journal for the industry is available on microfilm with a copying service.

Telephone: UK 01782-238420, Overseas (+44) 1782-238420
Fax: UK 01782-238499, Overseas (+44) 1782-238499
Email: stoke.archives@stoke.gov.uk
Internet: www.staffordshire.gov.uk/archives/contact2.htm

6 The British Ceramic Confederation have an identification service, but do not have archives. They can tell you if a company is still manufacturing.


7 If all else fails, it is worth making an appeal for information through local newspapers and radio.


8 No museum can give a valuation on any item. If you are interested in the value of your pottery it is best to contact an auctioneer, who will see such items regularly and be able to give a selling and a buying price. 

Louis Taylor, Auctioneer, Town Road, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent has a free valuation service all day Fridays.

Britannia House
10 Town Road
Stoke On Trent, Staffordshire ST1 2QG
T: 01782 260222

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last updated: 5 March 2004