A Meakin (Ltd)

Alfred Meakin (Tunstall) Ltd


Location and period of operation:

A Meakin (Ltd)
Alfred Meakin (Tunstall) Ltd







Earthenware manufacturer at various works in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent, England.
  • Alfred Meakin set up in business in 1875 at the Royal Albert Pottery, Tunstall. NOTE: a 1913 article in the Pottery Gazette states that the business was started in 1873. 

  • Alfred was the younger brother of James and George Meakin who ran a large pottery company in the nearby town of Hanley. 

  • In 1896 it was incorporated as a Limited Company. 

  • Alfred Meakin died in 1904 and was succeeded by his son Alfred James who died only four years later in 1908.  

  • Following his death Alfred James' uncle Robert Johnson bought the company  for his son Stuart Johnson. The name Alfred Meakin was retained. 

  • 1913 the name was changed to Alfred Meakin (Tunstall) Ltd. In 1914 the directors were listed as A. S. Johnson, H. Johnson, F. C. Johnson.

  • Alfred Meakin remained open during the Second World War under the Wartime Concentration Scheme - they were permitted to produce undecorated domestic ware. They also produced canteen ware for the British armed forces

  • By 1949 the business had over 1,200 employees and both bottle and tunnel ovens were in use.

  • 1969 - Interpace Corporation (New Jersey, US) purchased both Alfred Meakin (Tunstall) Ltd. and Myott & Sons Ltd. who operated as separate companies.

  • The company employed 1,000 in 1973, and 2,000 in 1977.

  • The business stayed in the Johnson family's hands until March 1974 when Myott acquired the share capital of Alfred Meakin - both businesses continued to operate under their own names until the formation of Myott-Meakin Ltd in 1976.


According to an 1881 advertisement, Alfred Meakin manufactured ironstone china and white granite ware, suitable for export. Examples of their ironstone export wares are illustrated in the Wetherbee and Heaivilin collectors’ guides. The company are reported to have set up their own methods of distribution in the USA and used the mail order catalogues of large US companies. Shapes such as Bamboo (1870’s-80’s), Fishhook (1880’s) and Chelsea were the most common. Alfred Meakin was one of the most prolific manufacturers of the Tea Leaf design, exported by many other Staffordshire companies following its introduction as a motif in the mid-1850s. Together with other simple designs it supplemented the plain white ironstone which was in common use in America. The motif was normally produced in copper lustre although examples of gold lustre have been found – the design was consequently also known as Lustre Spray. Production of the tea leaf design stopped in 1910.

In addition to wares for export, ordinary domestic and traditional tablewares were made, such as the Bleu de Roi dinner ware, presented to King George V and Queen Mary on their 1913 Royal Visit to the pottery. 

Tiles were also manufactured by Alfred Meakin from the 1890s featuring art nouveau floral designs and the company were still reported as being involved in tile making in 1922.

In 1932 children’s ware, such as Peter Pan and decorated wares, such as this hand-painted plate (See below) were being made. Art Deco designs were manufactured. A company promotional leaflet of 1949 states that they were famous for coloured banding. Their products were used on public transport such as the Flying Scotsman. 

After moving to a new factory in 1957, many new tableware shapes and patterns were introduced. Some designs from the 1950s and 1960s are similar to better known designs, such as Midwinter’s Riviera or Cannes or Ridgway Potteries Homemaker and are typical examples of what many firms of the period were producing. 


Myott-Meakin revived the use of the Alfred Meakin backstamp for bone china in 1985 but this range (some of which was manufactured in China) was discontinued late 1989/early 1990 to concentrate on earthenware production. The majority of Myott-Meakin production was exported.




1875 - Royal Albert Pottery; Victoria Pottery (built 1858); Highgate Potteries, Parsonage Street, Tunstall (known collectively as Royal Albert, Victoria & Highgate Potteries)

1930 - Newfield Pottery (in addition to above); (by 1928, known collectively as Royal Albert, Victoria and Newfield Potteries).

1957 – c.1980 Victoria and Highgate Works (new)

c.1980- Alexander Works , Cobridge (built by Myott in 1902)

also (1949) owned the Furlong Mill as a subsidiary company preparing materials.


Alfred Meakin
manufacturers of Ironstone China, White Granite,
Royal Albert Works, Tunstall, Staffordshire

 The Pottery Gazette, American and Canadian Edition, January 1st 1880

Alfred Meakin Ltd
manufacturers of Semi-Porcelain, Ironstone China, White Granite & Tiles
Royal Albert, Victoria and Highgate Potteries, Tunstall, Staffs

The Pottery Gazette, 1st February 1906



Alfred Meakin (Tunstall), Ltd., Royal Albert and Victoria Potteries, Tunstall, have recently made large additions to their already extensive buildings, and amongst the many improvements and extensions one of our representatives had the pleasure of being conducted through one of their new decorating shops, which for size, healthy surroundings, and adaptability to its purpose is probably unrivalled throughout the Potteries. We reproduce two views of this room, prepared from special photographs.

The firm, whose productions have a world-wide reputation, was established so far back as the year 1873 by the late Alfred Meakin, who very soon won a unique position in the American trade, for which he especially catered, and made his name famous for the excellent quality of his white granite and decorated goods. 

After his death the business was carried on by his son Alfred J. Meakin whose early death came as a shock to the trade. Fortunately, at this critical crisis in the history of the firm passed into the hands of that prince of potters, the late Robert L. Johnson, and is now under the active management of his sons, who received their commercial and technical training in the largest ceramic concern in the world. The management is thus marked by youthful vigour and experienced knowledge of the trade.

To catalogue fully the many beautiful designs produced by this firm would tire our readers, but we cannot help mentioning one or two. The first thing which attracts attention is the wonderfully successful way in which the firm has been able to deal with that most difficult of colours mazarine blue. To see a huge warehouse practically filled with goods in this favourite decoration was a sight indeed. They have named it the "Bleu de Roi," and a more suitable appellation it would be hard to find, for, with its deep rich tint and beautifully velvet surface, the decoration is one of truly regal splendour. Besides the usual embellishment of gold lines, they do a variety of uni-coloured and multi-coloured borders, all of them harmonising beautifully with the mazarine band, and making very rich and telling effects. An illustration of one of these accompanies this article. We also show another decoration, very simple in design, but very telling in effect, consisting of a decoration in the new matt gold and a border something after the manner of the well known key border. An illustration in black and white does not, of course, convey anything like a full idea of the effect of this combination, which has to be seen on the ware to be appreciated. 

There are many other effective designs, and, what is perhaps more important to the dealer in bulk lines for which the firm especially caters, the quality and finish of their white goods is very remarkable. Samples of all these can be seen at their London showrooms, 25, Holborn Viaduct, where their courteous representative, Mr. Ernest Dean, is ever ready to welcome buyers. The impression left on a visitor to this extensive works is that he has been round one of the most go-ahead and up-to-date establishments in the ceramic industry.

Pottery Gazette, 1st April 1913


New Decorating Room : Alfred Meakin (Tunstall), Ltd




Alfred Meakin (Tunstall) Limited
Manufacturers of Ironstone China & Semi-Porcelain in White & Decorated

Royal Albert, Victoria & Newfield Potteries

letterhead dated September 8th 1928




globe mark c. 1875-97
the mark with 'ENGLAND' is likely 1891-97



Alfred Meakin
Royal Semi-Porcelain

c. 1891+

Alfred Meakin Ltd
Royal Semi-Porcelain

c. 1897+

In 1896 Alfred Meakin was incorporated as a Limited Company
so marks with 'LTD' are always post 1896
NOTE: not all marks post 1896 include 'LTD'



c. 1891+

c. 1897+

Royal Ironstone China

marks incorporating the Royal Arms were often used on ironstone ware 



c. 1907+


Alfred Meakin

The mark shown indicates that the ware was produced for and supplied to the British Government; it was ultimately property of the Crown/Government, hence the GR-VI Cypher.

This mark is there to distinguish the piece from being normal ‘utilitarian’ ware for public sale during the period surrounding the Second World War. 

Alfred Meaking (and others) were given government contracts throughout the late 1930s and into the 1940s (WWII) and produced canteen ware - most likely for the armed services.

The year of manufacturer is generally included.



















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the 'World's Biggest Teapot' 




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