Friday, 27 March 2009

The End of a 350 year Family Tradition

Despite the efforts of Thomas D. and Thomas R. Wedgwood to save Wedgwood as a Staffordshire based Pottery, Private Equity concern KPS Capital have succeeded in purchasing certain principal Waterford Wedgwood assets from the bankrupt group. The Wedgwood cousins had pledged to save local jobs – now many Wedgwood employees face a very uncertain futuire. The whole region's future is bleak – most ceramic production has now moved overseas. Only a handful of Staffordshire firms remain.

This marks a sad end to a venerable family tradition. Josiah Wedgwood & Sons was founded in 1759, however the potting tradition stretches back to Josiah Wedgwood's great-great-grandfather, Gilbert Wedgwood (1588-1678) who moved from Biddulph to Burslem upon his marriage to heiress Margaret Burslem, and took up the trade. Since that time, from father-to-son, in an unbroken line – until the resignations of Dr Alan Wedgwood and Thomas R Wedgwood from the firm; "No other family business is recorded as surviving in unbroken succession for so long"

Now, according to reports: "KPS will expand Waterford Wedgwood into emerging markets, transfer production overseas and cut costs" – oh dear, what would Josiah have said? I suspect his would have exclaimed his oft spoken retort "This will not do for Josiah Wedgwood". Your family agreed and they tried, there is no dishonour in that.

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