Stoke-on-Trent - Potworks of the week



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Falcon Works, Stoke
these are the works of W.H. Goss, off London Road, Stoke
- not to be confused (which they often are) with the Falcon Works of J.H. Weatherby in Hanley.


See details of W H Goss ware


 

  • William Henry Goss studied at the School of Design, Somerset House, London. He initially specialised in ivory porcelain and perfected a method of improving the finish of jewelled porcelain, and invented the body and enamels for the heraldic china by which he is best known today. [see biography of W.H. Goss]

  • From 1858 to c.1870 William Henry Goss was at the Cock Works in John Street (now Leese Street), off Liverpool Road. He set up in business here on his own after working at W.T.Copelands for about a year. 

  • Goss moved to the Falcon Works around 1870. 

  • In 1873 Goss registered a patent for improvements in manufacturer of various items made from ceramic materials. 

  • 1883 - His son Adolphus joined the firm and was key in developing the souvenir trinket market.

  • 1900 Adolphus left the firm after some disagreements with his father. 

  • Between 1902 and 1905 the Falcon Works were extended.  

  • William H Goss handed over the firm to two of his other sons, Victor Henry and William Huntley. 

  • W H Goss died in 1906 and was buried in Hartshill Cemetary. For probate the business and effects were valued at 59,603 14s 5d. (equivalent of 6 million in 2013) 

  • In 1913 Victor Henry died in a riding accident and William Huntley was left in charge of the business. He was not interest in progress and the firm gradually fell behind the times.

  • 1929 the business taken over by Cauldon Potteries Ltd. and continued under the Goss name.  

  • 1929 Goss was an exhibitor at the British Industries Fair, Birmingham. They were listed as 'Manufacturers of Ivory Porcelain, Teaware, Preserve Pots and Souvenirs. Art Pottery.'

  • 1934 - the business was renamed Goss China Co. Ltd. 

  • The business was aquired by Harold T. Robinson who also purchased Cauldon Potteries and many heraldic china producers. 

  • The works closed in 1944


The business and works since 1956 

  • 1956 - the moulds and engravings were purchased by the Lawley Group Ltd. and by this time the Falcon Works belonged to Portmeirion Potteries Ltd. [who in 1961 aquired the business and works of Kirkhams Ltd who operated next to the Falcon Works.] 

  • August 1979 - the two remaining glost kilns and workshop/warehouse range were registered as Listed Buildings.  

  • 1985 - the Goss trade mark was revived by Royal Doulton Ltd. (who has subsumed Lawleys - and others)

  • In 2002 Portmeirion carried out a study called 'The Potteries Response On Maintenance Of The Environment (PROMOTE) LIFE PROJECT. 
    The original PROMOTE LIFE proposal was to build a working factory of the millennium, incorporating a Visitor Centre, on a derelict site, of about 1.3 hectares, adjacent to the factory on London Road, incorporating the former Falcon Works kilns and buildings. However, following a review of the Visitor Centre project, the Portmeirion Board of Directors decided to invest in its core business, rather than develop the tourism sector.

  • In December 2002 Portmeirion applied for listed building planning consent for 'Part demolition of the Falcon Works and refurbishment of the remaining area' - this application was abandoned.  

  • 2011 - In the Stoke-on-Trent City Council 'Stoke Town Masterplan', October 2011 the Falcon Works was identified as "a beautiful site with potential for residential conversion but the market is unlikely to bring it forward in the short term and there are issues with noise from the Portmeirion works. In the medium term the proposal is a market-led approach that brings forward a residential refurbishment together with a new build element to screen the Portmeirion factory."

  • 2011 - the Falcon Works were sold by Portmeirion to a company named Connexa. 

 

 


 

1898 map showing the location of the Falcon Works of W.H. Goss (red) and the works of H.G. Kirkham (blue)
1898 map showing the location of the Falcon Works of W.H. Goss (red) and the works of H.G. Kirkham (blue)
to the right is the Newcastle to Stoke Canal

 


 

 

Pottery works around London Road and the Newcastle to Stoke canal - 1935
Pottery works around London Road and the Newcastle to Stoke canal - 1935

photo: britain from above 

 

 

 

in the centre of the picture is the Falcon Works of W.H. Goss and the works of H.G. Kirkham
in the centre of the picture is the Falcon Works of W.H. Goss and the works of H.G. Kirkham  

 

 

Red outline area The Falcon Works of W. H. Goss
Blue outline area The London Road works of W. Kirkham
Purple Line London Road
Yellow Line Penkhull New Road
Green Line Edward Street (now called Sturgess Street) 
Light blue lines Newcastle to Stoke Canal
Light blue oval Stoke Public Library
Green oval Mintons Ltd. china and earthenware
Yellow outine area Campbell & Co. tile manufacturers

 

 


 

 

in the centre is the works of W. H. Goss and to the left is the works of W. Kirkham
in the centre is the works of W. H. Goss and to the left is the works of W. Kirkham
in the foreground (on the opposite side of London Road) the  bottle kilns
of one of Minton's factories and also the Campbell & Co tile works 

photo: britain from above 
(photo: 1935)

 

 

 

the pottery works of Portmeirion dominate the former sites of both the Kirham and Goss factories
the pottery works of Portmeirion dominate the former sites of both the Kirham and Goss factories
in the top right corner the 1902-05 extension to the Falcon Works can be seen in both photos

photo: Bing Maps (2013)  

 

 


 

Photographs taken at the Falcon Works - from 28DaysLater.co.uk
the images are to the photographer. 

 

the two remaining bottle kilns on the Falcon Pottery site
the two remaining bottle kilns on the Falcon Pottery site
these are downdraught glost ovens with circular hovels in a range

'glost' is a second firing to fix the glaze over the pattern
the 'hovel' is the bottle shaped exterior (the actual kiln is inside) 

 

 


to the right is the kiln inside the range 
up the couple of steps is the clammins (or doorway) into the kiln interior
around the kiln are the flues and firemouths 
the iron bands (bonts) are set about 12 inches apart and run around the kiln
to strengthen it as it expands and contracts during firing  

 

 

workshop and warehouse range - built 1902-05 as an extension to the original works
workshop and warehouse range - built 1902-05 as an extension to the original works  

 

 

 

 

Stone plaque of falcon in gable apex
Stone plaque of falcon in gable apex

the falcon was used as a mark on Goss ware

 

 

slipware jug in half of a plaster mould
a 'case' for a slipware jug 
this is the master that the plaster of Paris moulds are made from 

 

 

plaster of Paris moulds
plaster of Paris moulds 
liquid clay would be poured into these moulds - the plaster of Paris absorbed
some of the water and then the clay formed a thin skin - the remains of the
liquid was poured out and the moulds split open to remove the pottery ready for firing

 

 

 

Related pages 


Details of W H Goss ware
Biography of W.H. Goss
Cock Works in John Street 
the two remaining glost kilns
the workshop/warehouse range