William Kent


Location and period of operation:

William Kent





Earthenware manufacturer, particularly of 'Staffordshire Ware' figures, dogs, flat back ornaments, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England.
  • From 1870 in various partnerships with John Gaskell and John & Richard Parr at the Wellington Street Works.

  • In 1894 William Kent took sole ownership of the business and renamed the works to the Novelty Works. 

  • William ran a successful business and by 1899 the factory had expanded and now had two bottle kilns.

  • By 1925 the works had significantly expanded and now had six bottle kilns.

  • William was later joined in the business by his sons E. J. Kent, S. H. Kent, W.F. Kent and eventually (probably after the Second World War) his grandson J. S. Kent.

  • Development of the works continued and by 1937 a seventh kiln had been added. 

  • During the Second World War the company was part of the Essential Work Order (EWO) which became law in March 1941. The EWO tied workers to jobs considered essential for the war effort. Manufacture of decorative ware was suspended and the company concentrated on the manufacture of porcelain for electrical fittings.  

  • Towards the end of the War the company changed its name to William Kent (Porcelains) Ltd


Formerly: Kent & Parr  

Subsequently : William Kent (Porcelains) Ltd  


Kent, Wm., earthenware manufacturer


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



William Kent
Novelty Works, Wellington Street, Burslem
Manufacturer of
Earthenware Figures, Dogs, Horsemen, Cows, Toby Jugs &c.,
also Teapots inwhite, jet, rockingham, samian, &c.,

The Pottery Gazette - 1st January 1913 


"Old Staffordshire" Pottery
A Family Tradition

 from a 1955 booklet produced by Kent of Burslem


"In 1894, the firm [of Kent & Parr] became William Kent and the works [Wellington Street Works] were named the Novelty Works. 
The same type of Staffordshire earthenware figures and animals were produced into the twentieth century. An advertisement of 1904 reads: 


A page from a twentieth-century Kent catalogue showing typical models is reproduced below. 
It includes several that are reissues of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century figures. 

These Kent “Staffordshire” figures are unmarked."

Jewitt "Ceramic Art of Great Britain"

A page from a twentieth-century Kent catalogue showing typical models
that have been produced for very many years.




Cow and Milkmaid - Maid Standing No 2
reference number 63 


Marks & initials used on ware for identification:


most ware was unmarked



Staffordshire Ware

this mark with the initials WK inside a
Stafford Knot is likely
1920s / 30s 


the Wellington Street Works from a 1879 map
at the time of the partnership of John Parr and William Kent the 
works were very small with just one bottle kiln



By 1899 an additional bottle kiln had been added. The adjacent Waterloo Works had been replaced by housing.

By 1925 the works had expanded considerably and been renamed the Novelty Works'. To accomodate the expansion some houses behind the works had been demolished. 



This 1937 map shows further expansion of the Novelty Works
and the addition of a seventh kiln


1930 photo of the Sneyd Colliery and Brick Works and surrounding area

 Purple = Sneyd Brickworks
Green = Royal Doulton Works
Blue = Adelaide Works
Red = Novelty Works of William Kent

source: Britain from Above


Adelaide Works in the foreground and the Novelty Works centre & left 


Questions, comments, contributions? email: Steve Birks