Saturday, 28 February 2009

Or, is there still hope?

KPS Capital have been slippery from the start – they initially began negotiations to invest in Waterford Wedgwood at the end of 2008, they surveyed the scene and then stood back to let the group fail so they could buy it on the cheap from the administrators. Still, it would seem that nothing is straight forward; they are still only saying that they will "first purchase certain overseas assets belonging to the group, before completing the purchase of its UK and Ireland assets, which is conditional on the satisfactory conclusion of the overseas transactions."

Meanwhile Staffordshire jobs and loyal customers are still non the wiser. Lobby your MP and pile on the political pressure and back the family's bid for the company the only one with:

  • A guarantee to save and create British jobs
  • Commitment to investing in valuable skills in North Staffordshire;

Only the family bid, led by people truly committed to Wedgwood and what it stands for supports the interests of Wedgwood's loyal workforce.


Friday, 27 February 2009

Wedgwood Lost


US firm Private Equity firm KPS have taken over Wedgwood – many will now fear for their jobs and production is set to move overseas. What a shame that the local social and political preference for the Wedgwood family bid failed to secure their goal of saving Wedgwood for England, and keeping jobs in Staffordshire. Thomas D and Thomas R Wedgwood have worked tirelessly heading up a consortium to buy Wedgwood, they are to be congratulated for their efforts – I commiserate with them this evening.

Josiah Stringer

From the Audley and District Family History Newsletter

"A Seventeenth Century Mystery: Josiah Stringer of Talke and the Wedgwood family in Burslem.

On Friday 5 January, Andrew Dobraszczyc gave a talk on Josiah Stringer of Talke illustrating his talk with slides and gave a detailed handout to most of his audience. The size of the audience surprised Andrew and there were not quite enough handouts to go round.

Josiah Stringer had probably moved to Staffordshire from Cheshire by the end of 1692 when he was a beneficiary under the will of Robert Lawton of Newcastle. In about 1693 he bought the Hollens House estate in Talke, in the parish of Audley. He died in 1698 and was buried in the churchyard of St James's church, Audley.

He had a son Dr Samuel Stringer (d 1759) who lived in Lower Street, Newcastle, and practised medicine. Josiah also had a daughter Mary who married Thomas Wedgwood, potter, and whose youngest son was the famous Josiah Wedgwood (1730-1795). When Josiah Wedgwood became seriously ill with smallpox in 1742, Dr Samuel Stringer was most likely to have been called in to treat him. Some time in the 1750's Dr Samuel Stringer moved to London where he died in about 1759.

Samuel's daughter, Jane Stringer, set herself up as a milliner and linen draper in Newcastle at Steps House, Newcastle, which is now the site of the NatWest Bank. She married Robert Rhodes, grocer of Newcastle in 1763 at Whitmore Parish church where she is described as a milliner. It was very unusual for entries of women to include an occupation and this clearly indicates that she was an independent businesswoman. They were both Dissenters. Her husband supplied goods to Josiah Wedgwood at Burslem and Etruria.

Robert Rhodes and Josiah Wedgwood attempted to persuade a Mr Yates of Warrington to take over as Unitarian minister in Newcastle in 1777. Robert Rhodes also appointed Josiah Wedgwood as one of his executors.

In conclusion Mr Dobrasczyc throws light on Josiah Stringer and Josiah Wedgwood and their family's connection with the Unitarian church in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

(The Editor would like to thank Wendy Wood for this review)"

Monday, 23 February 2009

Thomas Rowland Wedgwood - The Blog.

Thomas R(owland) Wedgwood, with his cousin Thomas D(udley). Wedgwood are trying to save their old family firm – see recent blog posts passim. Thomas R maintains his own webpage and blog, featuring his poetry, photographs and film. This can be found here:

Saturday, 21 February 2009

The Wedgwoods of Harracles

The Wedgwoods of Harracles represented the senior Wedgwood line until their extinction, in the male line, in the eighteenth century. Harracles came into the Wedgwood family through the marriage, in 1470 of John Wedgewode of Dunwood to Mary Shaw, daughter and heiress of John Shaw. The estate was inherited by his son John Wedgewode who married Anne Bowyer (See Bowyer of Kynpersley) - a two generations later the elder John Wedgwood inherited Harracles whilst his brother Richard settled in Biddulph near his Bowyer kin - it is from him that most modern Wedgwoods descend. John the Elder's increased his fortune considerably, became Lord of the Manor of Horton and it is to him and his family (he married Mary Egrton of Wall Grange) that the Brass in Horton Church is dedicated - reproduced from Josiah C. Wedgwood's A History of the Wedgwood Family (1908).

The lineage of the Harracles Wedgwood can be found here:

and an account of Harracles, now called Harracles Hall is given in the Victoria County History of Staffordshire, reproduced on the Wedgwood Family website here:

The Wedgwood Museum has a number of indentures pertaining to the family.

Further information on the village of Horton can be found here:
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Saturday, 14 February 2009

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Thursday, 12 February 2009

Google Darwin

Search on February 12th and see the Darwin tribute logo.
(Thanks to Dan Mills of Worcester of this one).

Charles Darwin Day!

Charles Darwin (1809-1882) the son of Robert Darwin and Susannah Wedgwood, daughter of Josiah Wedgwood I was born today, two hundred years ago. Readers may find the following links interesting:

Charles Darwin - Wikipedia article

The Wedgwood - Darwin Family - comprehensive article detailing most of the famous descendants of the Wedgwood-Darwin family.

Darwin Online - complete collection of his papers and correspondence.

BBC Darwin - BBC sub0site dedicated to Darwin coverage.

NHM Darwin Exhibition - Natural History Museum Exhibition site.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

The Wedgwood Spirit

Text from a piece by Alison Wedgwood for The Staffordshire Sentinel:

Darwin's and Stoke – Our Heritage


A wonderful new book  Darwin's Sacred Cause (Adrian Desmond and James Moore) gives a fascinating incite into the relationship between the Darwin's and the Wedgwood's.  The book reveals that the Wedgwood/Darwin family played an enormous role over 70 years, fighting for the abolition of slavery and suggests that this had a profound influence on Charles Darwin's thinking. The Wedgwood/Darwin grandparents, aunts, uncles and his wife were his "moral anchorage". Charles Darwin, Josiah's grandson, spent many happy years growing up with the Wedgwood cousins at Maer Hall.   He watched Uncle Jos Wedgwood sell the London Wedgwood showroom and give the proceeds to the abolition cause; he knew that Aunty Sarah Wedgwood gave more to anti-slavery causes than any other female. He grew up within an anti-slavery axis stretching from Shrewsbury to the Wedgwood's in Staffordshire"


Darwin's thesis on evolution traced all life to one common ancestor. Darwin detested slavery, the slavers desire to "make the black man sub-human", he believed in racial unity and brotherhood. Josiah Wedgwood was one of the first on the Committee for the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade founded in 1787. He produced the iconic slave medallion, "Am I not a Man and a Brother". It was produced in its thousands at Josiah's expense, it wasn't for sale, but became a must have item, worn as hair pins, broaches, mounted on snuff boxes. The medallions are generally seen as instrumental in the swing of popular feeling against slavery and in favour of the Abolition movement. They were an 18th century version of the campaign bracelets worn today, Josiah funded the leaflets which led to the global consumer boycott of slave plantation sugar.  Josiah funded Thomas Clarkson and worked closely with Wilberforce who described the Wedgwood's as "a fine, sensible, spirited family, intelligent and manly in behaviour". Interesting.


As suggested in the many book reviews of "Darwin's Sacred Cause" the Darwin's and the Wedgwood's did spend generations interbreeding. I am happy to report that although I come from Stoke on Trent, my meeting and subsequent marriage to Tom Wedgwood (direct descendant) was purely coincidental, we were not related, although I believe my husband was related to his Grandmother Sally Wedgwood in three different ways. We met at University and our shared passion for skiing was the starting point. We also share a passion for pottery and for ensuring manufacturing of the iconic and ethical brand stays in Stoke On Trent, England. We are working hard to save Wedgwood from those who believe it can be produced in Indonesia and back-stamped with Wedgwood. Consumers in Asia, the US and Europe are not gullible. They will only buy Wedgwood fine bone china if it's made in England. Wedgwood cannot continue it's slow death,  lost in the reaches of Indonesia, to inept design, manufacturing and marketing by people who are not passionate about the original values set out by its founder.


The Wedgwood family come from a long line of freethinking, spirited, individuals and we're not giving up – it's a David and Goliath battle against big US private equity firms – but our sense of passion for a cause that drove the Wedgwood's to fight for 70 years against slavery is the driving force behind our battle to keep Wedgwood alive.  Tom hasn't had a day off since the 5th January. Wedgwood must be made in England, it must represent exquisite design, exemplary manufacturing and a modern ethical brand that consumers aspire to. Something that will last another 250 years.


Alison Wedgwood

Stoke on Trent


Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Wedgwood: Etruria. Staffordshire (1926)

"Save Wedgwood" Latest

Following a segment on last night’s BBC Midlands Today New programme, which followed up on earlier reports, today has been one of intense activity as Thomas R and Thomas D Wedgwood as they continue discussions with potential investors and make a formal expression of interest for Wedgwood with the Administrators, Deloitte.

There has been considerable press coverage in the media:

Staffordshire Sentinel: “Wedgwood family: We'll create pottery jobs”

Tom D Wedgwood and cousin Tom R Wedgwood are talking to investors in Asia, the Middle East and the UK to raise the money they need to buy both Wedgwood and Royal Doulton. If they clinch the deal with administrator Deloitte they will:

  • Call a halt to redundancies at the Barlaston plant
  • Start recruiting within a year
  • Move all Wedgwood production from Indonesia to Stoke-on-Trent
  • Keep the Indonesian factory to make Royal Doulton china and ware for other companies
  • Introduce a training scheme in North Staffordshire to stop unique skills dying out
  • Stop trying to compete with low-cost imports.

They will also focus on the Japanese, Chinese and Asian markets because customers there want products made in Stoke-on-Trent.

Tom D Wedgwood, said: "Bringing Wedgwood back is clearly a key part of the business plan and there is a very rosy picture for people on the shop floor....There will certainly be no more job losses and over the next year there will be significant job gains...."People demand a country of origin so you have to bring volume manufacture.”

BBC: “Family Members bid for Wedgwood”

Daily Telegraph: “Wedgwood family make approach for firm”

The Times: “Wedgwood family lodges offer to save business

Wedgwood family make formal approach for firm

Members of the Wedgwood family have officially approached administrators about acquiring the collapsed pottery company. For more information follows these links:


Daily Telegraph

The Independent