Have you ever noticed that a beloved pattern in your collection bears two different marks, yet the design remains the same? This intriguing phenomenon often confounds collectors and enthusiasts. The story behind this lies in the fascinating history of New Wharf Pottery and Wood & Son. Join us on a journey to uncover the legacy of these two renowned pottery manufacturers and the convergence of their distinct marks.
New Wharf Pottery Co, Burslem (c. 1878 – 1894):
Our story begins with New Wharf Pottery, in the historic town of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, England. Established around 1878, this earthenware manufacturer was situated at Navigation Road, adjacent to the Burslem Branch of the Trent & Mersey Canal. The name “New Wharf” was derived from the canal’s wharf, which was a significant feature of the landscape during that period.
In 1877, two brothers, Thomas Francis Wood and William Wood, made a pivotal purchase of the pottery site, investing £5075 in this venture. It is likely that they had been tenants of the site since 1875.
The partnership extended to include Absalom Wood and two of his sons, Thomas Francis and William, as well as Ebenezer Swann. However, in December 1882, Ebenezer Swann left the business, reshaping the future of New Wharf Pottery.
Wood & Sons Ltd (Established in 1865):
Now, let’s shift our focus to Wood & Sons, which was first established in 1865 by Absalom Wood and his son, Thomas Francis Wood. This family-owned enterprise would go on to become a prominent earthenware manufacturer, renowned for its diverse range of products. Their offerings included tea-ware, tableware, earthenware, and hotelware, captivating the hearts of china lovers far and wide.
The business initially traded as Wood & Son and later adopted the name Wood & Sons around 1907. In 1910, it was formally incorporated as Wood & Sons Ltd. The mantle of leadership passed from T. F. Wood to his son, Harry F. Wood, who became the chairman in 1921. Under Harry’s management, Wood & Sons Ltd blossomed into a large and prosperous earthenware manufacturer.
Notably, the Wood family’s influence extended to associated companies, such as H. J. Wood Ltd at the Alexandra Pottery in Burslem, Bursley Ltd (later renamed Susie Cooper Pottery Co. Ltd) at the Crown Pottery in Burslem, and the Ellgreave Pottery Co. Ltd situated on Ellgreave Street in Burslem.
The Convergence of New Wharf and Wood & Son:
In 1894, a significant development occurred in the world of pottery. New Wharf Pottery was absorbed into the larger Wood & Son company, leading to the coexistence of these two distinctive brands. As a result, patterns that had been popular at New Wharf Pottery continued to be produced under the backstamp of Wood & Son.
The tale of New Wharf Pottery and Wood & Son is a remarkable journey through the world of earthenware and ceramics. This historical convergence is the reason collectors often find identical patterns bearing two different backstamps. It serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of these two pottery manufacturers and their contribution to the art of pottery-making. So, the next time you come across a piece with this intriguing duality, you’ll know that you’re holding a piece of history in your hands.
Photographs of some of the patterns that you may find under both New Wharf Pottery and Wood & Son backstamps
Top Row left to right:- Seville, Waldorf, Keswick
2nd Row left to right:- Sevres, Lois, Lakewood
3rd Row left to right:-Byzantine, Trilby, Conway
4th Row left to right:- Cambridge, Brunswick