Phoenix Works, Longton
(from a 1893 trade journal)
Index for Thomas Forester & Sons
Account of Forester & his works
Church Street Majolica Works - In 1877, Thomas Forester commenced business at a small manufactory in High Street; and as his business rapidly increased, he took additional premises in Church Street. These he shortly afterwards took down, and built upon their site a new manufactory – the Phoenix Works – which he completed in 1879.
The new premises gave him greater scope for his enterprise and, extending his connection, they were soon found to be too small for his requirements. He therefore purchased the adjoining china manufactory and completed his enterprise by joining the two works together, thus making one factory with six large ovens and every other possible convenience and appliance. The works enlarged with the business, and the business with the works, till Mr. Forester's manufactory ranked among the most important pottery establishments of the locality. Certainly no other instance is on record in which, in six years only, so much was done single-handed by any manufacturer.
A trade advertisement of the 1881-2 period is reproduced in Plate 55. In the beginning of 1883, Thomas Forester took his sons into partnership and the business was carried on under the style of Forester & Sons. Upwards of four hundred hands were employed.
The goods produced were of a varied character in both useful and ornamental classes, and included vases of unique design and of various sizes. Flowering 'a la Barbotin' was carried on to a large extent. Mr. Forester also introduced various articles of cabinet ware in vases, jardinières, etc. made with Barbotin flowerwork on tortoiseshell and marble grounds, some cornucopias upwards of thirty- six inches high giving evidence of considerable skill. One of the productions of merit is the life- size St. Bernard's dog on a large pedestal, three feet six inches in height, which was modelled by Gallimore from a prize dog.
The quality of' Messrs. Forester's majolica was remarkably firm and good in body, the colouring well managed and the glaze very satisfactory, as was the modelling of the floral decorations. Messrs. Thomas Forester & Sons (Ltd.) continued to 1959. The basic marks incorporate the Phoenix and the initials T.F. & S. Ltd.
Jewitt's Ceramic Art of Great Britain 1800-1900
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