This March 2009 photo of the old
factory (formerly Wileman’s) depicts the building still standing (though
roofless) to the north of King Street in Foley. Next to the Shelley
factory the Foley Works of Goodwin, Stoddard & Co., as was (the now demolished row of buildings at the back may belong
to this works?). This seems (since the demolition of the Old Foley
works in 2006) to be the only one of the main buildings of the various
Foley pot works left.
View of the remains of
the Shelley Factory
The now roofless block formed the offices & factory shop.
photo: Mar 2009 MS Live Earth
this view shows the
larger area - the remains of the Shelley works, to the left, sits in isolation, many
of the surrounding buildings have been demolished and surviving parts incorporated
in industrial units.
occupied all of the ground there – with china production on one side of
the road that cuts through from king street to Brocksford road,
earthenware on the other (see map below).
1922 OS map of the
Wileman / Shelley works
the still surviving offices to the works is outlined in purple,
the surrounding street names and terrace houses have survived.
Shelley Potteries started
life as Wileman & Co when, in 1862, Joseph Ball Shelley was taken into
partnership with the firm of Henry Wileman at the Foley China Works,
Fenton, Staffs. Over the years, Wileman & Co was a melting pot for many
important designers such as Micklewright, Rowland Morris, Frederick Rhead
and Walter Slater.
In 1860 when the Wileman family, owners of the Foley works, a large
pottery between Longton and Fenton in Staffordshire, England, built a
second pottery for the purpose of producing fine china.
James B. Shelley left the Dresden
works and joined Henry Wileman and his sons as a traveller. In 1864, Henry Wileman died and his two sons Charles and
James split the two works with James running the earthenware works and
Charles the china works. In 1870, James dies and in 1872, Charles took
James Shelley in partnership to run the china works.
Shelley focused on getting the best china
product possible out of the company and staff. He worked on improving
china quality and building the foreign export part of the business. James
took his son Percy into the firm in 1881. Percy was to run the company for
some 50 years. Percy learned the business fast and set off to find top
pottery artists and litho designers to improve the appearance and quality
of its wares. In 1896, attention was directed to English and foreign sales
and after the death of Joseph, Percy Shelley was in full control.
popular Dainty shape was created by one of those artists named Roland
Morris. The renown Frederick Rhead came to work as art director and some
of the most beautiful pieces of art pottery became symbols of the company.
About 1910, Shelley got into a legal battle with other potteries in the
location about the use of the name Foley (the pottery region). Shelley
lost and decided to rename his pottery "Shelley" that became official in