Famous Potters of Stoke-on-Trent

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1680 JOSHUA TWYFORD - born 1640 - died 1729 (89) was the first Twyford to make commercial pottery near Shelton Old Hall, Hanley. Specimens of his work can be seen at Stoke on Trent City Museum, Hanley, including a salt glazed stoneware teapot inscribed ‘Sarah Twyford’.
1729 JOSHUA TWYFORD died. The precise date production ceased at Twyford’s original factory is not known, but they continued in the district with a possible a lapse of a generation.
1849 THOMAS TWYFORD established two factories where washbasins and closet pans of an elementary nature were made. Twyford was already exporting to America, Russia, Australia, France, Germany, Spain and many other countries.
1849, 23rd September – Thomas William Twyford is born. He was born in Hanover Street, Hanley, Stoke on Trent. 

1885 THOMAS WILLIAM TWYFORD (Son of Thomas) introduced the first one-piece pedestal closet incorporating the pan and trap as an integral piece of pottery. The UNITAS
1887 Cliffe Vale factory built as a model factory. The new factory’s toilet facilities and systems of ventilation were treated by Government Inspectors of Factories as a pattern for the whole of Staffordshire.

The Cliff Vale Works - Photo June 2000
The Cliffe Vale Works - Photo June 2000

1889 The first washbasins with combined overflows introduced by Twyford. 

1890 Twyford brought a group of Scotsmen with their families to Stoke-on-Trent and established a factory at Cliffe Vale to manufacture fireclay.
1896 Twyfords formed into a Private Limited Company 

1901 A factory built in Germany, but vacated in 1914 and not re-occupied after World War 1. Now Keramag. 

1903 Edward Curran Engineering Co. was founded.

1911 A new fireclay factory built at Cliffe Vale opposite the Head Offices. 

Fireclay factory on the left
Fireclay factory on the left
Photo taken from Etruscan Street - June 2000


1912 Etruria Works constructed from large buildings previously used as winter quarters by Barnum and Bailey’s circus.
1914 Edward Curran Engineering developed expertise in drawing and shaping metal and were involved in producing armaments used in the First World War.
1919 Twyfords became a Public Limited Company. 

1921 T. W. Twyford died. He was recognised as a leading pioneer in the application of principles of hygiene to sanitary appliances.
1945 Reconstruction of Etruria Works started and the first tunnel kilns installed.
1953 Fireclay factory reconstruction at Cliffe Vale. 

1956 Construction at Alsager, Cheshire of a vitreous china factory started on a 52 acre site. First stage completed in 1958. 

1960 Twyfords commenced manufacture of vitreous china in India, with Hindustan Sanitaryware & Industries Limited.
1961 Edward Curran invested in 1600 ton press to produce high quality steel baths.
1970 Twyfords commenced manufacture of vitreous china in a new factory located in Melbourne, Australia.
1970 Twyfords widened their range of fittings by manufacturing their own brand of luxury tap fittings - AZTEC - in gold or chrome finish.
1971 Twyfords joined Reed International Limited. The Reed Building Products Division was formed, with Key Terrain, the makers of plastic plumbing systems and Twyfords.
1972 Edward Curran began to manufacture acrylic baths. 

1973 Edward Curran Engineering Limited of Cardiff, the UK leading makers of steel baths, joined Reed Building Products division, adding steel and acrylic baths to Twyfords’ range of sanitaryware.
1975 Walker Crossweller (MIRA) of Cheltenham, the leading manufacturers of shower fittings, joined Reed Building Products.1976 A Ł5 million expansion scheme for the Alsager vitreous china factory completed.
1984 A further extension of Alsager factory completed by the acquisition of an additional 7 acre site with a 70,000 sq. ft. warehouse.
1985 In October Twyfords acquired by Caradon Limited who purchased the whole of the U.K. operations of Reed Building Products.
1986 The company name becomes Caradon Twyfords, a member of the Caradon Group of companies.
1987 Caradon becomes a Public Limited Company. 

1989 Caradon invest Ł10 million in improved manufacturing and design facilities at Alsager, Stoke and Cardiff.
1989 Caradon Group was purchased by M. B. Group which already included Stelrad Radiators, Ideal Boilers and Doulton Bathrooms.
1992 M B Caradon invest Ł13 million on a new National Distribution Centre and new Head Office, Showroom and administrative block on the Alsager site, which now becomes the largest single unit devoted to vitreous china production and distribution in Europe.
1993 First In Service initiative launched to create competitive advantage. 
M B Caradon acquires Pillar Group of companies for Ł800 million including brand names Catnic, Friedland, Garador, MK Electrical. Group turnover increases to over Ł2 Billion and a workforce of 25,000 and comprising 300 manufacturing or distribution locations throughout the world. 

1998 Caradon Plumbing Solutions launched as a new trading company for the ten major plumbing brands within the group 

SOURCE: Terry Woolliscroft, (Twyford Archive).

Other relevant links

Biography of Thomas Twyford


questions / comments? email: Steve Birks