Josiah Wedgwood and Sons was founded in 1759 by the "Father of English Pottery" Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795). Josiah came from a long line of Potters and founded a branch of the family steeped in a tradition of philanthropy, which excelled in art and science and many other fields. Meanwhile Wedgwood became established as a quintessentially English brand known the world over.
In 1986 Wedgwood, in order to thwart the approaches of London International Group – a conglomerate which already owned Royal Worcester Spode, perceived the Waterford Glass Group as a White Knight and merged with them. That year Wedgwood made a profit and Waterford made a loss – a trend that would continue down to the present day which now sees much of the Group fall into Administration.
Now in its 250th year, we await news of its ultimate fate – American Private Equity firms are circling, seeking the brands and planning to take production overseas. However, members of the Wedgwood Family, determined to keep the Wedgwood going as a Staffordshire company are, according to press reports, seeking funding to do just that, demerge Wedgwood and save it. Three Cheers for them, I held shares in Waterford Wedgwood, now worthless – I would jump at the chance of investing in a reinvigorated Wedgwood company, I wish them well.
John Wedgwood Pound