Stoke-on-Trent - Potworks of the week



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Foley China Works

'Foley" is a small district alongside King Street, Fenton - near the border with Longton.
There was a pottery at Foley as early as the eighteenth century, owned by Joseph Myatt, 
who made wares somewhat in the style of Wedgwood.

There were 5 different companies which had "Foley" in their name operating in this area.  



 

History of the Foley China Works

Robinson..

  • The Foley China Works were originated by a Mr. Robinson in 1850. 

  • From c.1864-72 Robinson was in partnership with a Mr Hudson - operating as Robinson, Hudson (& Co.). 

  • At some time later there was a partnership between William Robinson, David Chapman and Henry Hill who operated at the Foley Works as Robinson & Co. In 1875 Henry Hill retired from the partnership. 

    • This partnership also had another business at the Royal Porcelain Works in Longton which operated as Robinson, Chapman and Co. 

  • c.1881 father and son William Robinson and William John Robinson were operating as Robinson & Son.


Brain..

  • In 1885 the works were taken over by Elijah Brain in Partnership with Mr G. Hawker. Mr Hawker withdrew from the business soon after and his place was taken by the son William Henry Brain. 

    The company continued to use the name 'Chapman & Son' until about 1903 when it was renamed "E. Brain & Co"

    • Elijah Brain took a prominent part in the public life of the district and was the first Chairman of the Fenton Town Council.    

  • E. Brain died in 1910 and the business continued to prosper under the direction of  W. H. Brain. 

  • In 1924 W. H. Brain went into semi-retirement due to ill-health. 

  • W. H. Brain's son Eustace William Brain joint the company in 1931 and a few years later joined the Board of Directors. By 1956 he was Managing Director and the other director was T. H. F. Shirley. 

  • By 1956 the factory was smokeless - the bottle kilns having being replaced by an electric tunnel kiln for firing decorated ware and a gas tunnel oven for glost firing. 

  • 1958 - William Brain purchased the name and goodwill of Coalport China.


Coalport..

  • After purchasing Coalport China the Head of Design at Brain, Donald Brindley, lead a team to design new shapes and patterns to ressurect the Coalport business.

  • In 1963 "E. Brain & Co" closed and production continued at the Foley China Works under the name of "Coalport". The changes was sucessful and profitable.

  • 1967 Eustace William Brain sold the Coalport business to the Wedgwood group - Wedgwood's then built a new factory on the site of the former Barkers & Kent works, on the opposite side of Sidings Place.

  • 1985 Wedgwood moved Coalport production from the Foley China Works to the Minerva Works in Fenton. 


  • c.1995 Wedgwood then sold the remaing buildings of Foley China Works to James Kent Ltd who operated the adjacent Old Foley Pottery.

  • James Kent (1989) Ltd closed c.2008 and by 2010 both the Foley China Works and the Old Foley Pottery had been demolished. 

 

 


 

- click for information on the companies who operated from these works -

        Robinson & Son
        Elijah Brain
        Coalport

 

 


 

 

 

The Foley China Works of E Brain & Co. Ltd.
Pottery factory exterior taken at the Foley China Works, Fenton
Photo - date unknown but pre-1978 
Staffordshire Past Track

 


 



notice of dissolution of the partnership of of 
Robinson, Chapman & Hill in Sept 1875

 


 

entry for William Robinson & Co, King Street, Foley
1879 Keates Directory

 


notice of dissolution of the partnership of Robinson & Son
in Dec 1884 and the continuation of the business by 
Elijah Brain and William Hawker 

 



1889 advert for Robinson & Son
Foley Works

at this time the works were owned by Elijah Brain but they
retained the operating name 'Robinson & Son' until 1903

 - advert courtesy of R K Henrywood, Staffordshire Potters 1781-1900 -

 





1907 directory entry for Elijah Brain & Co.
China manufacturers and decorators,
Foley China Works

from..... 1907 Staffordshire Sentinel 
'Business Reference Guide to The Potteries, Newcastle & District'



 


map of the Foley area from 1947 Pottery Gazette & Glass Trade Review
(Church Street was later renamed as a continuation of King Street)

3 Shelley Potteries, Ltd. The Foley
4 Don Pottery Co.
5 Barkers & Kent, Ltd. Foley Pottery
6 E. Brain & Co., Ltd. Foley China Works
7 James Kent, Ltd. Old Foley Pottery
8 Barlows (Longton), Ltd. Melbourne Works
9 Bradleys (Longton), Ltd Crown Clarence Works
10 Thos. Forester & Sons, Ltd. Phoenix Works

 


 

 

 

1937 photo of the Foley district, on the Fenton - Longton border

1937 photo of the Foley district, on the Fenton - Longton border


  

- click for details of the 5 'Foley' potworks -  

 


 

 

location of  the five pottery works using the Foley name

location of  the five pottery works using the Foley name
the yellow lines shows the Foley China Works of E. Brain & Co.

copyright English Heritage, Britain from Above

 

 

red lines The Foley China Co. Wileman & Co. / Shelley Potteries, Ltd.
purple lines Foley Works Goodwin, Stoddard & Co
light blue oval  Houses at Foley Place
blue lines  Foley Pottery  Barkers & Kent Ltd.
white oval  the Potters Pub  (was the Railway Hotel)
yellow lines  Foley China Works  E. Brain & Co., Ltd.
green lines  Old Foley Pottery James Kent Ltd.

 


 

 

The Foley China Works of Elijah Brain is highlighted on this 1937 photograph

The Foley China Works of Elijah Brain is highlighted on this 1937 photograph
note: the factory boundary is approximate
to the left is the Old Foley Pottery of James Kent and to the right is 
the Foley Pottery of Barkers and Kent 

to the top right can be seen the Foley Crossing railway signal box
and behind that is Foley House
 

copyright English Heritage, Britain from Above

 


 

 

the remains of the Foley China Works in 2003

the remains of the Foley China Works in 2003
when they had been sold by Wedgwood to, and occupied by, James Kent Ltd

photo: Feb 2003

 


 

Sidings Place (was Foley Road)

Sidings Place (was Foley Road) 

 

the view from the railway - along Sidings Place to King Street
photo: May 2010


on the right is the remains of the Foley China Works of E. Brain & Co
to the left is the Wedgwood Coalport factory on the site of Barkers & Kent

 

 

 

earlier view of the back of Foley China Works when it was in the hands of Hadida - James Kent 

photo courtesy of Eileen Hallam  

 

 

Sidings Place view of Foley China Works when it was in the hands of Hadida - James Kent 

photo courtesy of Eileen Hallam  

 

 

 

 

The Potter pub (formerly the Railway Hotel) on the corner of King Street and Sidings Place (was Foley Road) 
photo: May 2010

- to the left and rear of the pub can be see the remains of the boundary walls of the Foley China Works to the right of the picture can be seen the factory built by Wedgwood after they took over the Coalport factory from E. Brain & Co.    

 

 

The Potter pub, Sidings Place and the Wedgwood Coalport Factory
photo: May 2010

The Wedgwood factory stands on the site of the former 
Barker & Kent Works 

 

 

In 1985 Wedgwood moved Coalport production from the purpose 
built works in Foley to the Minerva Works in Fenton.

The Foley factory became a factory shop for Waterford-Wedgwood ware

 

 

 


 

 

 

related pages 


The Foley, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

The area known as "The Foley" is centred on King Street, near the Longton boundary. By the 1830's there were several potworks and some large houses.

Anyone know where Foley is? 
- 'half remembered name hints at former glories' 
The five 'Foley' pottery works