George Albert Wade |  People from Stoke-on-Trent

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George Albert Wade

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WADE, George Albert (Major), M.C. and Bar. 
Pottery Manufacturer. 
St. Quentin, Sandy Lane, Newcastle, Staffs.

Born 1891. Son of George Wade, J.P.
Educated at Newcastle High School.

Married 1915, Florrie, daughter of late Samuel Johnson.

Held various positions in Conservative Party Organisation; 
Chairman of Society of Industrial Artists, North Staffs. Branch, 1933. Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Member of British Ornithologists' Union.

Enlisted August 5th, 1914, in North Staffs. Regt. commissioned October, 1914, South Staffs. Regt.; 
seconded to Machine Gun Corps on its formation and served in France and Egypt, 1915-18.

Recreations - Ornithology and Painting.

Heir - George Anthony Johnson Wade. Born 1923.

"Who's Who in Staffordshire" 1934

1901 census:

Dwelling: Porthill, (the Watlands)
Census Place: Wolstanton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England


Marr | age | sex

  Birthplace Occupation
Harriet Wade Wid | 72 | F Head Whitchurch, Shropshire  
William Wade S | 40 | M Son Tunstall, Staffordshire Manufacturer of earthenware and tiles (employer)
Eleanor Reade James M | 45 | F Daughter Tunstall, Staffordshire  
George Wade M | 37 | M Son Tunstall, Staffordshire Manufacturer of pottery used in textile industry (employer)
Marie Hart Wade M | 38 | F Daughter-in-law Castle Donnington, Leicestershire  
George Albert Wade | 9 | M Grandson Burslem, Staffordshire  
Albert Joseph Wade S | 35 | M Son Tunstall, Staffordshire Manufacturer of earthenware and tiles (employer)
Mary Ann Wade S | 33 | F Daughter Tunstall, Staffordshire  
Harriet Annie James S | 22 | F Granddaughter Norton-in-the-Moors, Staffordshire Elementary school teacher
Maud Price S | 21 | F Servant Silverdale, Staffordshire Domestic servant cook
Elizabeth Baskeyville S | 15 | F Servant Talk 'O the Hill, Staffordshire Domestic servant cook


George Albert Wade was bon on July 19th 1891 in Burslem to George and Marie Hart Wade.

His father, also George, owned a pottery in Burslem and was a local Justice of the Peace (JP).
Young George had an older sister, Daisy but she died aged three in 1893 leaving George to grow up as an only child.
Whilst still very young the family moved to Watlands Hall in Porthill (near Burslem) and George attended Wolstanton Board School and later the Newcastle-under-Lyme High School.

early work life: At 15 George left school and joined the family business which at that time 1905, had just acquired the firm of Henry Hallen, his fathers old rival, and the company was also moving into the newly built Manchester Pottery.

army life: Young George worked for his father up to the outbreak of the First World War but on 5th August 1914 he signed up with the North Staffordshire Regiment as a private soldier where he stayed for three months before transferring to the South Staffordshire Regiment as a lieutenant in the Machine Gun Corps seeing service in France and Egypt. He was awarded the MC for valour in December 1917 with a Bar added in January 1919, the latter for his part in the crossing of the St. Quentin Canal in September 1918.

after the war: On his release from the Army in 1919 aged twenty six, Major George Wade was welcomed home by his family and friends, his father making him a partner in the company - thereafter called George Wade & Son Ltd.
George had married Florrie Johnson on 18th September 1915 whilst on leave from the army and prior to him going to the Western Front. She was the daughter of Samuel Johnson JP, a teapot manufacturer of some note. Florrie was a gifted painter who had won a scholarship to go to Florence but her father had rejected this idea. George and Florrie Wade had three children, Iris was born in 1917, Cynthia in 1922 and George Anthony Johnson in 1924.

After the war the family moved to their new home in Sandy Lane, Newcastle-under-Lyme. It was a large property with beautiful gardens which was originally called 'Elersfield' but which George changed to St. Quentin, no doubt after his wartime experiences.

the move towards giftware: George Wade & Son Ltd based in the Manchester Pottery, were manufacturers of gas and electrical components as well as other industrial ceramics and George Wade, the Major, made a conscious decision that he wanted to move towards the lucrative giftware market, no doubt having seen the success of both Wade Heath & Co Ltd at their Royal Victoria Works as well as A.J. Wade Ltd at the Flaxman Pottery. With this in mind George hired Jessie Hallen to work for him at the Manchester Pottery initially modelling garden gnomes for Carter's seeds progressing to flowers, animals and ladies.
In 1930 Jessie was allowed to set up her own small department at Wade's Manchester Pottery, reporting directly to George Wade himself. Here she produced her delicate floral arrangements, and now famous lady figurines. With her great gift for modelling and his flair for marketing, they were a formidable pair. Eventually Jessie had studios in all three factories.
After the 1905 expansion of the company when George Wade Snr had bought out his rival Henry Hallen and acquired the Manchester Pottery, it was another twenty six years before the next expansion occurred. In 1931 his son, Major George Wade became a director of both Wade Heath and A.J. Wade Ltd. and when A.J. Wade died.

In 1933 he became Chairman of both companies even though he was only a minor shareholder. George senior retired in 1927 dying on New Years Day 1938 leaving the business to his son, the major.

Wade Potteries Ltd: In November 1935 the new company was floated on the stock market. Known as Wade Potteries Ltd, it was made up of Wade Heath and A.J. Wade Ltd. George Wade was Chairman with George Heath the new Managing Director. However on 4th June 1937, just over two years after the flotation, George Heath died suddenly aged 64 and thus George Wade assumed control of Wade Potteries. It wasn't until as late as 1958 that Wade Potteries Ltd took over George Wade & Son Ltd and Wade (Ulster) Ltd and, for the first time brought all the Wade group of companies together under Colonel, Sir George Wade.

before the Second World War: Wade Heath were producing their beautiful ceramic artware, known as Flaxman Ware - jugs, vases, bowls, all in the fabulous art deco style which was made from around 1935 whilst at the same time Jessie Van Hallen was producing her 'ladies,' mostly with a cellulose finish to satisfy the cheaper end of the market. During the 30's Wade also obtained the Disney licence for Snow-white and the Seven Dwarfs, which was also modeled by Jessie Van Hallen, and produced by Wade Heath in their Royal Victoria Pottery which coincided with the release of the Walt Disney film of the same name. Wade Heath also produced a Mickey Mouse figure as well as a child's Mickey Mouse tea set which, according to the author Pat Murray, were both released in 1935.

second World War: Then the Second World War intervened. Jessie Van Hallen left the company for ever, George Wade was commissioned into the South Staffordshire Regiment and organised National Defence in Cheshire and Staffordshire. In 1940 he was promoted to Colonel and appointed to command the Birkenhead Garrison. It was at this time, while his company was turned over to the war effort that he wrote numerous pamphlets and a series of books on military training and tactics. He was author of Minor Tactics Training Manual, the Home Guard Bible.

Parliamentary candidate: At the end of the war, in the general election, Colonel George Wade stood as a parliamentary candidate for Newcastle-Under-Lyme, but he lost to the Labour candidate. This was his single foray into politics which he never repeated.

Wades in Northern Ireland: When the war ended in 1945, industrial ceramics were in great demand and short supply. It was for this reason that he sent his son-in-law Major H. Straker Carryer on a quest to find a new factory. He came up with an old linen mill on the banks of the river Bann in Portadown, County Armagh, Northern Ireland. In 1946 the company bought the leasehold on the property and soon was producing electrical insulators. In 1950, the factory showing great success, became a private limited company named Wade (Ulster) Ltd. At its height it had a work force of over 400 and contributed greatly to the local economy as well as the overall success of Wade, England.
With the decline for industrial ceramics in the early 50's Wade (Ireland) - on 2nd January 1950, they became a private limited company, changing the name somewhat to Wade (Ulster) Ltd - went over to giftware with its own distinct 'Irish' look porcelain, reportedly originally a mistake, albeit a successful and lucrative one! The Wade (Ulster) factory was run by Major H. Straker Carryer and his wife Iris, Sir George's eldest daughter, who was Art Director. They launched themselves headlong into producing a wide range of giftware, goblets, vases, tankards, jugs, pots, ashtrays, pictures, wall plaques (see article on Wall plaques) etc. etc. as well as other notable pieces which until recently were thought to have been made in Burslem (see the feature on Wade (Ireland)
In 1952 Colonel Wade purchased at auction Brand Hall. Built around 1700 it is situated near Norton-in-Hales, some miles south-west of Stoke-on-Trent. A large brick building with stone facing, it is better known to Wade collectors as Bloodshot Hall from the Whimsey-on-Why set.

introduction of 'Whimsies': With the demand for industrial ceramics falling off in the early 50's, by far the most important innovation was the introduction of Whimsies, an idea of Iris Carryer, small solid porcelain figures of animals, birds, mammals etc. With many years of experience making small industrial pressed ceramics, Whimsies were the perfect product for Wade to produce. The actual name is attributed to Tony Wade's secretary who thought the little figures Whimsical. The product was soon very popular. The first series, released in 1954 were a set of animals: a leaping fawn, a horse, a spaniel with a ball, a poodle and a squirrel. Many more sets followed and Whimsies are still both popular and in production today.

knighthood: George Wade was knighted in 1955, "for political and public services,'' just recognition to a leader in innovation and the father of Wade collecting. He chose to include a rhinoceros in his coat of arms with the words 'Why Not'.
In the post-war period Wade held numerous licences and the gift ware market or maybe the fledgling 'collectors' market, was booming. Disney, Noddy, Mabel Lucie Attwell, Thomas The Tank Engine, MGM, as well as their own brand names, TV Pets, Whoppas, Minikins and Whimsies.
For a period of around 35 years Wade was a byword for colourful and cheap porcelain gift ware, while all the time still producing the electrical ceramics. To some extent the gift ware lines were 'infills' between large industrial contract orders.
A talented painter, Sir George formed the Friends of the City Art Gallery and actively supported the building of the New Victoria Theatre.
Sir George never really retired, although by the early 1980's he had given over the day to day running of the business to his son Tony.

Col. Sir George Wade M.C. former chairman of the Wade Pottery Group died on January 27th 1986 - aged 94

from an article by David Chown of C&S Collectables


updated: 15 Nov 2005