Located AtStoke on Trent City Archives
LevelSection
TitleRoyal Doulton Company Records
Administrative History"The Royal Doulton story began in 1815, the same year as the battle of Waterloo. John Doulton was asked by Martha Jones to join her small pottery on the banks of the River Thames in London. Martha, a widow, needed a business partner to join herself and her foreman John Watts; John Doulton, already a talented potter was perfect for the job. He invested his life savings of £100 into the business and the Doulton & Watts pottery was born.

The factory specialised in manufacturing salt-glaze and stoneware ceramics, stone jars, bottles and flasks. In 1835 Henry Doulton joined the firm and it flourished due to Henry’s role in the ‘sanitary revolution’ – pioneering the general use of stoneware drain pipes and water filters to improve living conditions.

An innovator of his day, Henry came up with several ingenious ways of engineering and manufacturing the pipes and other stoneware items that made Doulton & Watts world-class experts in the field. Their wares were exhibited at the Great Exhibition held in London’s Hyde Park in 1851." [Extracted from: https://www.royaldoulton.co.uk/royal-doulton-story].

"Having already established factories making sanitary, industrial and architectural products in Rowley Regis, St Helens and Smethwick, Henry [Doulton] turned his attention towards North Staffordshire".
[Extracted from page 9 of :'The Doulton Burslem Wares' by Desmond Eyles, Barrie & Jenkins Ltd, 1st edition 1980, ISBN 0 09 138260 2. Stoke-on-Trent City Archives Local Studies Reference Number: 738.94246 DOU].

"By 1877 Lambeth Art Pottery was firmly established having growth out of a collaboration with Lambeth School of Art. Coming to Burslem and Pinder Bourne gave Henry Doulton the opportunity to expand into the challenging field of fine earthenware production, he appointed John Slater as Art Director and John Cuthbert Bailey as General Manager. In 1883 Doulton announced they would be manufacturing china. In this new era came Robert Allen and Charles J. Noke (Noke succeeded Slater as Art Director in 1914).

In 1885 Henry Doulton received the Albert Medal of the Society of Arts. In 1887 (Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee) Queen Victoria conferred a knighthood on Henry Doulton. In 1899 Henry's son Henry Louis Doulton converted the business into a Limited Company and "In 1901King Edward VII conferred an almost unprecedented honour upon the company by not only presenting it Chairman with the Royal Warrant but by specifically authorising it to use the word 'Royal' to describe its products- a rarely granted privilege quite distinct from the bestowal of the Warrant."
[Extracted from page 27 of : 'The Doulton Burslem Wares' by Desmond Eyles, Barrie & Jenkins Ltd, 1st edition 1980, ISBN 0 09 138260 2. Stoke-on-Trent City Archives Local Studies Reference Number: 738.94246 DOU].

The Burslem Doulton Factory (Nile Street) ran between 1877-2005. In 1901 Doulton becomes Royal Doulton when the Company was granted of a Royal Warrant by King Edward VII.

"The Chicago Exhibition, at which the first large prominent display of Burslem Wares was staged". The first Doulton figures were also shown at this Exhibition.
[Extracted from page 27 of : 'The Doulton Burslem Wares' by Desmond Eyles, Barrie & Jenkins Ltd, 1st edition 1980, ISBN 0 09 138260 2. Stoke-on-Trent City Archives Local Studies Reference Number: 738.94246 DOU].

In 1956 the Lambeth stoneware factory closes, but Lambeth remains the headquarters of the company.

"In 1971 S. Pearson and Son acquired Doulton and Co. and the outstanding interests in Allied English Potteries that it did not already own. As a result Royal Albert, as a part of Allied English Potteries, joined with Royal Doulton. Thus three key names – Royal Doulton, Royal Albert, and Mintons – came under the umbrella brand of Doulton Home."
[Extracted from: http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Allied_English_Potteries.]

In 1999 Waterford Wedgwood purchase 15% of Royal Doulton plc shares. In 2000 Royal Crown Derby Ltd and Caithness Glass are sold.

Art Directors at the Nile Street Burslem Factory:
John Slater (Managing of Art Department at Pinder Bourne from 1867) from c.1877
Charles J. Noke (father of Cecil) from 1914
Cecil J. Noke from 1936
Joseph W. Ledger 1955?
Eric Griffiths
Date1777-2007
DescriptionThe majority of this archive was catalogued 2017-2019 with the support of a grant from the National Cataloguing Grants Programme for Archives administered by the National Archives and the Pilgrim Trust. Catalogue enhancement is ongoing.

The Doulton and later Royal Doulton Headquarters was in Lambeth, London beyond the closure of the Lambeth factory in 1956, so the catalogue has been structured to reflect this, each section lists the records which survive for each brand or factory within.

The Royal Doulton Company Records Collection contained in this archive/section comprises of the records of the following companies: Doulton & Watts, Doulton & Co. (Ltd), Doulton & Co. Burslem, Doulton Fine China Ltd, Royal Doulton Tableware Ltd, Royal Doulton plc (see Admin. History below and http://www.potteryhistories.com/doultonhistory.html). However the majority of the records catalogued here relate to the Royal Doulton Factory situated in Nile Street, Burslem and the records of the ceramic and glass manufacturing operations they took over/merged with in the 1960s, 1970s and 1990s: Minton, John Beswick, Dunn Bennett, Webb Corbett, Booths, Colclough, Royal Albert, Royal Crown Derby, Paragon, Ridgway, Queen Anne, Royal Adderley, Royal Adderley Floral, Holland Studio Craft and Caithness Glass. The company also held the 50 Lawleys china and glass retail stores inherited from Allied English Potteries.

"Doulton was at the forefront of the consolidation of the UK ceramics industry during the 1960s taking over the businesses of Mintons Ltd and Dunn Bennett & Co. Ltd in 1968, and Webb Corbett Ltd (glass) and John Beswick Ltd in 1969. In November 1971 S. Pearson & Son Ltd, a member of the Pearson Group, and already owner of Allied English Potteries Ltd, acquired Doulton & Co. Ltd, merging the two groups under the Doulton name. Allied English Potteries Ltd was renamed Royal Doulton Tableware Ltd and became a subsidiary of Doulton & Co. Ltd responsible for the tableware and giftware businesses of both groups. Doulton & Co. Ltd continued to operate as the holding company for Pearson's ceramics interests until the float of Royal Doulton plc in 1993.

Following the merger with Allied English Potteries Ltd in November 1971 the Doulton Fine China Ltd business became part of Royal Doulton Tableware Ltd. Use of the Doulton Fine China Ltd name continued, however, until circa 1973."
[Extracted from: http://www.potteryhistories.com/doultonhistory.html].

Other than Doulton/Royal Doulton, some records of the businesses before they became part of Royal Doulton in the 1960s, 1970s and 1990s have also survived and are part of this collection (this also includes records of those factories/businesses predeccessor factories/businesses), these records have not yet been catalogued and there is currently no time scale on when they will be available for consultation . They include the earlier records of: Minton (the majority of these records are now catalogued), Webb Corbett, Beswick, Royal Albert (T.C. Wild), Davenport, Shelley, Goss, Booths, Colclough, Paragon, Paladin, Ridgway, Roslyn, Regent, Shaw and Coggins (Bell China, Queen Anne China), Swinnerton, Adderley, Allied English Potteries and Pinder Bourne. These records mainly consist of pattern books and for most companies very few records have survived.

The Royal Doulton Company have operated factories in multiple locations during its existence, but the majority of this archive are the records of the Burslem factory, although there are records of the business established in Lambeth, London (which are still being catalogued) and representations of most of the other factories within the collection, including the records of the businesses which became part of Royal Doulton from the 1960s onwards, there are also records for some of these businesses prior to amalgamation, but we plan to catalogue those at a later date.

The catalogue is intended to be a reflection of the functions of the company, dictated by the records which have survived within the archive. Within that function the catalogue is arranged by individual factory or subsidiary company where appropriate, i.e. the Doulton, and later Royal Doulton Company Headquarters for many years was in Lambeth, London and from the mid 20th century it transferred to Stoke-on-Trent, so there are many documents within the archive which involve multiple factories/subsidiary companies.
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