Robinson & Leadbeater (Ltd)


Location and period of operation:

Robinson & Leadbeater (Ltd)





Parian and Porcelain manufacturers and modellers In Stoke, Stoke-on-Trent, England 

  • The original partners were James Robinson and Edward James Leadbeater (b.1837 d.1911), who served his apprenticeship at Thomas Worthington's factory, Hanley.

  • In 1865 Robinson and Leadbeater purchased the Glebe Street Works (business, plant and moulds) from an Italian modeller named Giovanni Meli who had set up business there in 1850 as a Parian manufacturer. 

  • In 1870 Robinson and Leadbeater purchased the nearby Wharf Street Works from the executors of Leveson Hill. They also kept the Glebe Street Works.

  • In the 1881 census they were recorded as employing 28 Men, 10 Women and 9 Children 

  • In 1882 Robinson & Leadbeater, together with Robert Leason established a separate company - the Victoria Pottery Company for the manufacture of majolica ware. 

  • The Robinson & Leadbeater parian business became insolvent in 1904. The partners at this time were Edward James Leadbeater and Frederick Robinson. 

  • In 1905 Frederick Robinson established his own business at 55 Wharf Street.

  • The original business survived and by 1906 was controlled by Harold Taylor Robinson. The title Robinson & Leadbeater was retained.

  • In 1905 (1908?) the business was incorporated as a limited company. 

  • around 1907 Edward J. Leadbeater's son Edwin founded a company, Hewitt & Leadbeater, with is brother-in-law Arthur Hewitt. 

  • Around 1910 the business became a subsidiary of J. A. Robinson & Sons Ltd. who also took over Wardle & Co in the same year. As part of cost saving measures the business of Wardle & Co. was moved to join that of Robinson & Leadbeater at the Wolf Street Works.  J. A. Robinson & Sons Ltd. was a holding company set up by Harold Taylor Robinson for control on his growing number of pottery companies. 

  • One of the founding partners, Edward James Leadbeater died in March 1911. His obituary states "Mr. Leadbeater was a man of artistic instincts, and his heart was in his fascinating manufactures."

  • In 1920 H. T. Robinson acquired Cauldon Ltd from the receivers, he renamed this Cauldon Potteries Ltd. In 1924 Robinson & Leadbeater, and other J. A. Robinson & Sons pottery companies were merged into Cauldon Potteries Ltd. Around this time the use of the name of Robinson & Leadbeater seems to disappear. In any event Cauldon Potteries Ltd. was placed into receivership in 1932 and its assets sold off.




Robinson & Leadbeater
manufacturers of
Parian & China Statuary, &c.,

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



Robinson & Leadbeater
(Successor to Giovanni Meli) 
Manufacturer of Parian Statuary, &c.
Near the Town Hall, Stoke-upon-Trent
Staffordshire Potteries
New Subjects by Eminent Artists Constantly Being Added

1867 Keates directory


Robinson & Leadbeater
Manufacturers of Parian Statuary Ornaments, etc., etc.,
for Home & Foreign markets
New Subjects in Parian by Eminent Artists are being Constantly Added
Works:- Glebe Street & Wharf Street

1870 Harrod directory


Robinson & Leadbeater
Manufacturers of Parian + Statuary, + &c.
Wolfe Street,

1882 Keates directory

Established 1850
Robinson & Leadbeater
Manufacturers of Parian Statuary, etc.,.
Wolfe Street,

1892 Keates directory

this series of adverts show the progression of the factories that Robinson & Leadbeater worked from:

Glebe Street (from 1865), 
Wharf Street (from 1870) 
and finally Wolfe Street (from around 1880)

NOTE: the advert that says 'Established 1850' - this was the date that the 
predecessor Giovanni Meli started his business - Robinson & Leadbeater purchased 
the Glebe Street works, business and equipment from Meli in 1865


Adverts courtesy of:  R. K. Henrywood's Staffordshire Potters, 1781-1900



The London Gazette
12 May 1905  

notice regarding a Deed of Assignment for
Creditors dated 24 October 1904 



Robinson and Leadbeater, Ltd.,
parian manufacturers, busts
of celebrities

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



Edward James Leadbeater, J.P.
Aged 73

"WE deeply regret to record the death (to which brief but sympathetic reference was made by our Potteries correspondent in our last issue) of Mr. E. J. Leadbeater, of Stoke. 

Mr. Leadbeater was one of the best known men in the trade, and though his health had been failing for some time, the end was not expected so soon, and his death at his residence, Sheppard st, Stoke, on March 22, has caused a deep feeling of regret. 

He was born at Hanley, and has been a resident in the Potteries all his life. The deceased was at one time the senior partner in the well-known firm of Robinson & Leadbeater, the largest manufacturers of fine Parian ware and statuary in the Potteries. 

The business was commenced in 1850 in a small way, but it gradually increased from the first, and in later years, owing to the perfection of the work, it rose to eminence. The firm were always careful to have perfect models - from the faultless form of the "Venus of Milo" down to the most perfect piece of modern sculpture they could obtain. The fidelity with which they reproduced these was a subject of admiration by all lovers of art. Their busts of great poets and statesmen, royalties, soldiers, divines, scientists, and other persons of distinction became famous practically all over the world, and those who are acquainted with the facts know that this success was due entirely to the personal attention of the partners. 

Mr. Leadbeater was a man of artistic instincts, and his heart was in his fascinating manufactures. The unaccountable way in which Parian ceased to be popular is well-known to all in the trade, and the consequences of this change in popular taste were disastrous to the firm. 

During his prosperity, although his business required and received a large share of his attention, he took an active part in local public affairs. He was elected a member of the old Stoke-on-Trent Town Council in 1881, and in 1899 he became Mayor of the Borough - an office to which he was unanimously re-elected in the following year. 

But even his municipal work added to his business cares did not exhaust his energies, for he was actively engaged in philanthropic movements. He was one of the promoters of the Hanley Ragged School, and was its president for nearly fifty years. He had latterly been associated with the firm of Hewitt & Leadbeater, in which his son is a partner. 

The funeral took place at Hartshill on March 25. The deceased leaves a widow, three sons and five daughters." 


The Pottery Gazette - 1 May 1911




Robinson &  Leadbeater - Parian Ware Catalogue

- click for archive of catalogue -  





The front part of the plinth has a signature ' C. H. Spurgeon' 
on the rear are the following inscriptions:-

Published by the
Rev. G.Dunnett.
Manfrd. by 

Stoke on Trent. 

On the plinth it has -

J. A. ACTON Facet 1878




parian busts of Jesus and Mary

cast-in R & L





tinted parian model of farm hand 

typical cast-in initials
R & L


Robinson & Leadbeater

printed mark





crested souvenir ware 

Leadless Glaze
Robinson & Leadbeater
Victorian Porcelain 





watering can - trinket ware 

Royal Ivory 
R & L Ltd




Marks and initials used on ware for identification:

Early parian ware was generally not marked  


R & L

cast-in initials R & L 
used on parian ware

c. 1885+



Royal Ivory Porcelain

Victorian Porcelain


NOTE: "Ltd" was added after 1905


Royal Ivory 
R & L Ltd

c. 1905-24




Messrs. Robinson & Leadbeater, Wolfe Street, Stoke

In the manufacture of Parian statuary we understand that this firm is very prominent in the country. 

Established in 1850, their business has experienced the steady increase which is only obtained by careful attention to the details of manufacture and of turning out their goods in the best style. 

In the large and imposing premises at the corner of Wolfe Street and back Glebe Street they employ as large staff of artists and sculptors, who are constantly at work giving vent to artistic ideas, and while examining the extensive show rooms we were delighted to observe the beautiful specimens of statuary, busts, vases, plaques, etc., to numerous to detail here.

Messrs. Robinson and Leadbeater have to be congratulated upon their staff, both of artists and sculptors, by whom they are well supported, and enabled to give studies in art which are so much appreciated by a discerning public.

It would be superfluous here to go into the details of the manufacturers exemplified by this firm, but by their mechanical appliances Messrs. Robinson and Leadbeater have, of course, been able to reduce the cost of production, and it is within their power, therefore to place in the market many beautiful specimens at prices which not so long ago would have been considered ridiculously small.

The large quantity sent out from these works is not confined to the home market alone, but the foreign and colonial markets are also extensive purchasers. 


from a 1893 advertising and trade journal...

A descriptive account of The Potteries (illustrated)




article on Robinson & Leadbeater 
Fancy Trades Supplement to the Pottery Gazette  June 1, 1893



Established 1850
 Robinson & Leadbeater Ltd
Stoke-on-Trent, Eng.
Manufacturers of the 
Royal Ivory Porcelain
and Parian Statuary

The letterhead shows the factory on the corner of Wolfe Street and Back Glebe Street, Stoke

NOTE: "Ltd" was added after 1905

NOTE: the letterhead that says 'Established 1850' - this was the date that the 
predecessor Giovanni Meli started his business - Robinson & Leadbeater purchased 
the Glebe Street works, business and equipment from Meli in 1865


letterhead courtesy: Mary Saintey


Questions, comments, contributions? email: Steve Birks