Tuesday, 10 March 2009

"Postal tribute to pottery icon Wedgwood"

Postal tribute to pottery icon Wedgwood
Stoke & Staffordshire, UK
LEGENDARY potter Josiah Wedgwood has been recognised as an industrial heavyweight on a new issue of stamps.

A full 250 years on from founding Wedgwood, Josiah is among eight men depicted to mark the anniversary of the Industrial Revolution.

Royal Mail's latest range, entitled Pioneers of the Industrial Revolution, will also feature famed Moorlands canal-builder James Brindley.

Experts say it is just rewards for the pair, who played key roles in transforming North Staffordshire into a centre of industry when they worked together on the Trent and Mersey canal.

Historian Fred Hughes said: "I rate Josiah Wedgwood in the top five Britons of all time.


"People forget that as well as being a marvelous potter and a great industrialist, Josiah was also a wonderful salesperson and an expert in marketing."

The new Royal Mail issue is available from today, with Wedgwood featuring on the 50 pence stamp and Brindley on the 72 pence stamp.

Among the others depicted are steam engine trailblazers Matthew Boulton and James Watt, textile visionary Richard Arkwright, machine-maker Henry Maudslay, road-builder John McAdam and railway pioneer George Stephenson.

Julietta Edgar, head of special stamps at Royal Mail, said: "The individuals celebrated on these stamps had a profound affect on the UK and across the globe, making a huge contribution to manufacturing and creating the infrastructure that brought products to their markets."

Josiah Wedgwood has been credited with the industrialisation of pottery manufacturing.

Ceramics carrying his name have been sold around the world and his legacy remains central to the communities of Etruria and Barlaston, where factories were built.

Brindley, who was born Derbyshire but lived in Leek, earned legendary status by building the Trent and Mersey Canal and thereby creating a vital link across the country. Tom Wedgwood, a descendant from Josiah, said: "I am very proud. There was a big network of men who drove the industrial revolution in this area and he was a big part of that."

Mick Hilditch, founder of Penkull-based Penny Red Stamps, said the new range could generate more interest in stamps.

He said: "This will probably revive some interest in stamps locally.

"Whenever they launch these sort of stamps about specific pioneers they tend to sell better.

"With Wedgwood being involved, there is obviously going to be some interest in North Staffordshire."

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