Tabletop – Vincent

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Tabletop (The Tabletop Group)


The Tabletop Group was formed in April 2004 when a homeware business, The Tabletop Company, purchased Mason Cash & Co. Ltd, acquiring at the same time T. G. Green & Co. Ltd purchased by Mason Cash in 2001. The Tabletop Group encountered financial difficulties in 2007 and Mason Cash & Co. Ltd was sold to another UK homewares business Rayware Ltd. T. G. Green & Co. Ltd, the famous makers of Cornish Kitchen Ware, was placed in receivership in December 2007 and the factory closed. For further information see the entries for Mason Cash & Co. Ltd, and for T. G. Green & Co. Ltd.

Tams (John Tams (& Son) (Ltd))

1903–1988 (Inc. 1912)

Earthenware manufacturer at the Crown Works, Stafford St, Longton, and at the Blyth Works, Uttoxeter Rd, Longton (acquired from A. T. Finney & Sons Ltd in c.1960). John Tams began trading in his own name in c.1875 following a partnership with William Lowe. In 1903 he took his only son Edmund into partnership trading as John Tams & Son. The business was incorporated in 1912 and then traded as John Tams & Son Ltd. John Tams retired from the business in 1917 and it was subsequently run by his son Edmund, his grandsons Philip and Peter Tams and from the mid-1960s by great-grandsons Gerald and Peter Tams. Gerald Tams led a buyout of the business in 1984 and the company floated on the Unlisted Securities Market as John Tams Group plc in June 1988.

The Tams businesses were important and large-scale maker of mid-range domestic earthenware. Trade names used by John Tams & Son Ltd include Tams Ware, Nankin Ware, Elephant Brand (hotelware) and Top-o-the-World. Marks include the Tams name. See the following entries for the later history of the Tams business.

Tams (John Tams Group plc)


Manufacturer of earthenware and bone china (the latter from 1992) at the Crown Works and the Blyth Works, Uttoxeter Rd, Longton. Formerly John Tams & Son Ltd, John Tams Group plc floated on the Unlisted Securities Market in 1988 and in 1995 moved to a full listing on the London Stock Exchange. Although now a public company, Gerald and Angela Tams together continued to hold approximately 70% of the share capital. Gerald Tams became chairman and managing director of the new company and under his management the group became a significant international manufacturer of earthenware tableware. In 1992 it acquired Royal Grafton China Ltd and Tams used the acquisition to expand into bone china manufacture using the trade names ‘Royal Grafton’ and ‘Grafton Living’.

Gerald Tams, great-grandson of the founder and chairman of the company died in October 1999, and his wife Angela Tams assumed control of the business. Share trading in the company was suspended in February 2000 and the company was placed in receivership, unable to repay its substantial bank loans. At the time of default, the business was operating at five factories and employed over 700 staff. A management buyout was organised and the new business then operated as Tams Group Ltd.

John Tams Group plc manufactured mid-range domestic earthenware using the historic ‘Tams’ earthenware brand and, from 1992, bone china marketed as ‘Royal Grafton’ and ‘Grafton Living’. See the next entry for details of Tams Group Ltd.

Tams Group Ltd.


Earthenware and bone china manufacturer at the Crown Works, The Strand, Longton, and at four other Longton locations. Formerly the John Tams Group plc. The Tams family business trading as John Tams Group plc was placed in receivership in February 2000. A management buyout followed in April 2000, however it appears the business failed in 2006, the factory closing in November 2006 with the majority of manufacturing assets sold in January 2007. Tams Group Ltd was owner of the ‘Tams’, ‘Royal Grafton’ and ‘Grafton Living’ brands and manufactured tableware and hotelware.

Tantallon Ceramics

c.1960–Active 1970

Earthenware manufacturer at North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland. Tantallon Ceramics was established by C. H. (Harry) McNay and Elizabeth McNay in about 1960 following the closure of the Bridgness Pottery in 1958. Harry McNay was the grandson of Charles McNay, Bridgness’ founder and had worked at the Pottery. He died in 2001. Tantallon Ceramics produced general and domestic earthenware including tiles, storage jars, mugs, fancy tableware, garden ware, ceramic jewellery and Scottish souvenir ware.

Taunton Vale Industries


Taunton Vale Industries was established in about 1961 by Mr Douglas Forbes and Mr Richard Jessop of Taunton, Somerset. Taunton Vale became involved in the pottery industry through its acquisition, in 1974, of Pentagon Holdings Ltd, the holding company of the Howard Pottery Group. Members of the Howard Pottery Group were Grimwades Ltd, Gibson & Sons Ltd, the Norfolk Pottery Co. Ltd, and the Howard Pottery Co. Ltd. From February 1978 Taunton Vale Industries traded from Norfolk St, Shelton (the Howard Pottery?) under the former Grimwades trade name of ‘Royal Winton’. Taunton Vale Industries and its subsidiaries were purchased by Staffordshire Potteries Ltd in 1979.

Taylor & Kent (Ltd)


Manufacturer of bone china tableware at the Florence Works, Uttoxeter Rd (High St), Longton. The business was founded by Mr Robert Kent and partners in 1867, but was controlled by the Kent family from an early stage. Robert Kent retired in 1914 and his three sons John, Colin and George Kent continued the partnership and the management of the business. The company closed in 1941 under the wartime concentration scheme. It re-opened at the end of the war, but in 1947 the business was purchased by brothers Oswald and Derek Shufflebottom. The trade name ‘Elizabethan’ was introduced in 1961 and in March 1982 the company changed its name to ‘Elizabethan Fine Bone China Ltd’.

Taylor & Kent Ltd produced bone china teaware and coffee ware, teapots and tableware. Before the First World War the company was one of the most prolific manufacturers of crested china and souvenir ware marketed under the name ‘Florentine China. Although not a leader in design, the company produced some interesting art nouveau and art deco wares. In the 1970s designer Tom Arnold updated the tableware shapes and there are some outstanding teaware shapes from this period. Trade names include ‘Kent China’, ‘Taylor & Kent’, and ‘Elizabethan’. See the entry for Elizabethan Fine Bone China Ltd.

Taylor Tunnicliff & Co. Ltd

1867–Active 2009

Manufacturer of industrial ceramics and refractory products at the Albion Works, Longton and at other sites in the Potteries. Taylor Tunnicliff & Co. was founded in 1867 by Thomas Taylor and William Tunnicliff to manufacture domestic earthenware and bone china. At some point the manufacture of electrical insulators replaced that of domestic ware. The company is a member of the Taylor Tunnicliff group formed in 1938 when various related businesses were consolidated as subsidiaries of Taylor Tunnicliff (Electrical Industries) Ltd, a holding company. The business is currently a manufacturer of industrial ceramics for the electrical industry, and the maker of ‘Bullers Rings’ used by the ceramics industry world-wide for the measurement of ‘heat work’ within a kiln.

Tey Pottery


A studio pottery established in 1977 by Carol Maxted-Massey at Colchester, Norfolk. Carol Maxted-Massey and her brother Michael Griggs produced cottage miniatures made and decorated entirely by hand. The pottery operated from various Norfolk locations and closed in 2002 when Carol Maxted-Massey retired. The models have become collectible and there is an active Tey Pottery collectors’ group.

Thanet Pottery


A small earthenware manufacturer established in 1961 at Westwood, Margate, Kent. David White and Mary Dening produced high quality ornamental and domestic earthenware (dishes, jugs, vases, table accessories etc) at the Thanet Pottery from 1961 to 1967. The business failed in 1967 and White and Dening subsequently established the Broadstairs Pottery. Thanet Pottery wares are marked with a simple impressed ‘Thanet Pottery’ mark.

The Porcelain and Fine China Companies Ltd


The Porcelain and Fine China Companies Ltd was the owner of Royal Worcester Spode Ltd, its USA affiliate company, and, briefly, Caithness Glass Ltd (20012004). Royal Worcester Ltd acquired full ownership of Royal Worcester Spode Ltd in 1978 when it purchased the Carborundum Corporation’s 45% shareholding in the jointly owned company. Royal Worcester Ltd was itself acquired in 1988 by Luxembourg-based Derby International Corporation SA, an investment vehicle for Alan Finden-Crofts and Edward Gottesman. Under the new owners Royal Worcester Ltd was renamed The Porcelain and Fine China Companies Ltd. The latter became the holding company for the separate UK (Royal Worcester and Spode Ltd) and North American (Royal China and Porcelain Companies Inc) businesses. Mr Finden-Crofts took control of the business in a £12.5 million management buyout in 2005. In November 2008 both Royal Worcester and Spode Ltd were placed in administration and in April 2009 it was announced that Portmeirion Potteries plc had acquired the rights to the Royal Worcester and Spode names. See the entry for Royal Worcester Spode Ltd.

Thomas (Uriah Thomas & Co.)


Earthenware manufacturer at the Marlborough Works, Hanley.

Thorley China Ltd

1946–Active 1970

Manufacturer of bone china jewellery, tableware and fancies at Thorley House, Glebedale Rd, Fenton, and then at the Wellington Works, Longton. Thorley China was established by Mr. Anthony Thorley and Mrs A. M. J. Thorley in about 1946, initially in premises at Fenton and, from 1949, at Longton. The company acquired and modernised the Wellington Works in about 1954.

Till (Thomas Till & Son(s))


Earthenware manufacturer at the Stych Pottery, Burslem. The firm used the trade name ‘Tillson Ware’

Tilling (Thomas Tilling Group)


Owners of Pilkington’s Tiles Ltd and Carter & Co. (parent company of Poole Pottery Ltd) from December 1964. Thomas Tilling was taken over by finance group BRT in March 1983.

Tintagel Pottery

c.1948–Active 2009

A studio pottery established by Kathleen M. Everard at Tintagel, Cornwall, in about 1948. Everard was joined by the Norwegian potter Peter Qvam in 1950 and the pottery produced domestic-type earthenware decorated with Celtic-inspired designs. Everard and Qvam died in the early-1970s and the Pottery was taken over by Enid Mutton and Roger Howard who produce giftware decorated in a characteristic naive style.

Titcomb (Andrew Titcomb)

1983–Active 2009

An individual studio potter manufacturing limited-edition ceramics (mainly teapots and cruet sets) at St Mabyn, Cornwall. Andrew Titcomb began making designer teapots in 1983 and they remain the mainstay of the business to the present day. Titcomb teapots are designed, made and decorated by Andrew Titcomb and are mainly made in low-number limited editions. Large numbers have been exported to the USA.

Token Pottery Ltd

Active 1977

The Token Pottery Ltd, of Remer St, Cobridge, was a maker of hand-crafted models of Shire horses and other giftware. Miniature ceramic rocking horses were a product believed unique to the Pottery.

Tolcarn Pottery


A studio pottery established in the late-1960s at Newlyn, Cornwall, by Peter Veal to make and sell ornamental earthenware. Tolcarn wares included vases, pots, jars, candle-holders and like items. Peter Veal was a ceramic artist and potter who trained in the United Kingdom and New York and, in addition to the ‘commercial’ Tolcarn Pottery, ran an art pottery ‘Peter Veal Ceramics’ producing signed pieces. Wares are marked with an impressed ‘Tolcarn Pottery’.

Tooth & Co. (Ltd)


Earthenware manufacturer at the Bretby Art Pottery, Woodville, Burton-on-Trent, Derbyshire. Henry Tooth was a self-taught potter who had worked at T. G. Green & Co. and then at the Linthorpe Pottery (where he became the decorating manager) before leaving to establishing his own business with William Ault at Woodville in 1883. The business traded as ‘Tooth & Ault’, but Ault left in about 1887 to found his own pottery at nearby Swadlincote and Henry Tooth took a new partner, John Downing Wragg, the business operating as Tooth & Co. Wragg left in 1912 and the Bretby Art Pottery was then operated as a family business by Henry Tooth with the assistance of his son and daughter, the latter also a talented modeller and decorator. The name (Henry) Tooth & Co. Ltd dates from c.1912. Henry Tooth died in 1918 and management of the business passed to his son William Tooth who continued manufacturing until selling the business to Mr Frederick Parker in 1933. The Parker family remained owners and operators of the business until it closed in 1997.

Bretby produced both domestic wares and art pottery, and those items made by Henry Tooth and marked ‘HT’ are highly prized. The Bretby ornamental wares made by the Tooth family are typical late-Victorian pottery—jardinieres, plant stands, large vases etc with art nouveau-influenced decoration and finished with strongly coloured glazes. Trade names (on domestic ware) include the brand names Clanta and Clanta Ware. A mark with a rising sun over the name BRETBY was used from the mid-1880s.

Topaz China

?–Active 2009

Manufacturer of bone china promotional mugs (and possibly other giftware) at Heaths Passage, Warren St, Longton.

Torquay Terra-cotta Co.


Terracotta and earthenware manufacturer at Hele Cross, Torquay. A red clay deposit was discovered at Hele Cross in 1875 and a Dr Gillow formed the Torquay Terra-cotta Co. to manufacture terracotta wares on the clay pit site. The pottery closed in about 1904, but was reopened by Enock Stadden under the name Torquay Pottery. The Torquay red clays could be made into high quality unglazed terracotta and the Torquay Terra-cotta Co. and other local potteries (Aller Vale Art Pottery, Watcombe Pottery Co. etc) made large quantities of architectural terracotta, plaques, statues, busts, vases, garden pottery and the like. The pottery also made slip-glazed domestic earthenware and the ubiquitous Devon motto ware. Wares bear a circular seal, or have the impressed company name. See the entry for the Torquay Pottery.

Torquay Pottery

Torquay Pottery (1932) Ltd

(1904–1932) 1932–1940

A terracotta and earthenware manufacturer at Hele Cross, Torquay. Formerly known as the Torquay Terra-cotta Co. (1875–1904). The pottery was re-opened in 1904 by Mr. Enock Stadden and was incorporated in 1932 under the name Torquay Pottery (1932) Ltd with Enock Stadden, M. R. Stadden and F. E. Bowen as the directors. The paid up capital of the company was just £100. The company closed due to wartime restrictions in 1940 and did not re-open. The Torquay Pottery continued to manufacture the architectural terracotta, garden pottery, slip-decorated domestic earthenware, and Devon motto ware of its predecessor.

Totland Pottery


A studio pottery established in 1958 at Totland Bay, Isle of Wight, by J. Lester and Kenneth Scotcher.

Tregenna Hill Pottery


A studio pottery established in about 1955 at St. Ives, Cornwall, by Kenneth Quick. Quick worked at the Leach Pottery from 1945 to 1955 before establishing the Tregenna Hill Pottery. In 1960 he closed the pottery and returned to the Leach Pottery at St Ives. Quick died in 1963. The Tregenna Hill Pottery produced tableware in stoneware and red earthenware.

Trelowarren Pottery


A studio pottery established in 1981 at Trelowarren, Helston, Cornwall, by Nicholas and Jackie Harrison. Nicholas Harrison studied at the Leach Pottery and was one of the last students of Bernard Leach. At the Trelowarren Pottery he produced ornamental and domestic stoneware specialising in celadon and Temoko glazes. Since 2006 Harrison has traded as Nic Harrison Ceramics.

Tremaen Pottery


A studio pottery established in 1965 at Marizion, Cornwall, by Peter Ellery. The Pottery moved to larger premises in Newlyn in 1967 and at one stage employed about a dozen workers. Economic difficulties and perhaps waning interest led to the pottery’s closure in the late-1980s. Peter Ellery was an artist and self-taught potter and the Tremaen wares reflect his varied artistic and sculptural interests. The more artistic and experimental pieces tend to be from the earlier years of the pottery and include moulded models, vases, lamp bases, and attractive ‘pebble’ vases. Ellery’s lamp bases, often massive in scale are now particularly appreciated.

Tremar Pottery


A studio pottery established in 1962 at Tremar, Cornwall, by Roger and Doreen Birkett. The Pottery closed in 1983. Tremar produced earthenware studio pottery including hand-thrown tableware and tea and coffee services on a significant scale. These have a characteristic rustic form and decoration. In the mid-1970s the Pottery began producing sets of collectible models for the tourist trade, including those of animals, people and buildings. Wares usually have a deeply impressed ‘TREMAR UK’ on the base.

Trent Walk Pottery Co. Ltd


A name registered in 1948 to E. and B. Cope at Trent Walk, Hanley.

Trentham Bone China Ltd


Manufacturer of bone china at the Royal Crown Pottery, Longton. Mr D. Carter and Mr S. Sanders purchased the Balfour China Co. Ltd in 1951 and traded under the new name of Trentham Bone China Ltd. The business was in receivership in 1957 and the moulds and patterns were purchased by Victoria Porcelain (Fenton) Ltd. Trentham Bone China Ltd produced bone china tableware. Marks include the name ‘Trentham’ and the name of the Royal Crown Pottery.

Troika Pottery


A studio pottery founded in 1963 by sculptor Lesley Illsley, architect Jan Thompson and potter Benny Sirota at St Ives, Cornwall. The Pottery moved to Newlyn, Cornwall, in 1970 and enjoyed considerable success in the 1970s. By 1980 Lesley Illsley was the only remaining original partner and the Pottery closed in 1983 when its banker foreclosed the business. Early Troika products included tiles, architectural hardware, teapots, coffee services and mugs. Troika is better known, however, for contemporary studio wares including striking slab-formed rectangular and cube vases with deeply textures surfaces and smooth, glossy glazes. Other Troika wares are marmalade pots, wheel vases, lamp bases, ashtrays and the like. The Troika wares are now highly prized.

Truro Pottery


See the entry for Lake (W. H. Lake & Son Ltd).

Tuscan China Holdings Ltd


A holding company for the combined businesses of Susie Cooper Ltd and R. H. & S. L. Plant Ltd. In 1958 Susie Cooper and the Plant family amalgamated their respective businesses using the umbrella of a new holding company Tuscan China Holdings Ltd. The principals were friends and had business links, and the Plants, at least, were concerned at the possible impact of death duties on their family owned and run company. As part of the change, Susie Cooper reorganized her pottery interests into a new company Susie Cooper Ltd, and in other restructuring the New Chelsea China Co. Ltd was returned to the control of the Plant family (having been sold by Plant to Susie Cooper in 1951). At least three companies, Susie Cooper Ltd, R. H. & S. L. Plant Ltd (possibly trading as ‘Royal Tuscan’) and New Chelsea China Co. Ltd continued to operate as subsidiaries of the holding company. Tuscan China Holdings Ltd and its subsidiary companies were acquired by the Wedgwood Group in March 1966. For further information see the entries for the individual companies.

UKI Ceramics Ltd

1978–Active 2009

UK International Ceramics Ltd is a company that commissions limited edition ceramics from well known manufacturers for resale. The business was founded in 1978 by Nicholas Tzimas, initially to deal in discontinued ceramic collectibles, but has evolved to become an important supplier of limited edition models from major manufacturers Royal Doulton, Beswick, Coalport, Wedgwood and others. In 1987 the company commissioned the first exclusive Royal Doulton character jug (D6795) and in 1989 the first ever limited edition Royal Doulton series, the ‘Great Generals’ collection. Limited edition Bunnykins figures (from 1990), cartoon characters (from 1993) and nursery rhyme figures (from 1998) have followed—all from Royal Doulton. Beswick horse and animal models, produced since 2007 by the new owners of the Beswick name, are also supplied through exclusive arrangements with UKI Ceramics. The company also organises collectors’ fairs and has published several books on ceramic collectibles.

Ulster Ceramics plc

1967–Active 2005

Earthenware manufacturer at Swatragh, Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Ulster Ceramics was established in 1967 by a syndicate of local business people. The company initially manufactured mid-range tableware, including dinner sets, tea and coffee sets, kitchenware and mugs. Since 1976 the company has specialised in manufacture of contemporary oven-to-tableware, much of which has been marketed under chain store brands.

Unicorn Pottery


Earthenware manufacturer (as part of the Wedgwood Group) at the Unicorn and Pinnox Works, Amicable St, Tunstall. Unicorn Pottery is the name adopted for the former business of Enoch Wedgwood (Tunstall) Ltd (1965-1980) following its acquisition by the Wedgwood Group in 1980.

Unicorn Pottery Ltd


Earthenware manufacturer at the Unicorn Pottery, Davenport St, Longport. Unicorn Pottery Ltd was established by Gerald F. Wood and Anthony F. Wood, the principles of Arthur Wood & Son (Longport) Ltd as a maker of brightly coloured art ware. The business occupied a part of the old Unicorn Pottery (adjacent the Woods’ Bradwell Works) purchased by Gerald Wood following the closure of Thomas Hughes & Son Ltd in 1957. The Unicorn Pottery Ltd was listed as a member of the Arthur Wood Group in 1965.

Universal Pottery (Longton) Ltd


Manufacturer of china and earthenware at the Sevres Works, Uttoxeter Rd, Longton. A controlling interest in the Universal Pottery was acquired, in 1957, by brothers Stuart and Samuel Shields the directors of pottery wholesaler Shields Bros Ltd of Ayshford St, Longton. The Universal Pottery made tableware used the trade name ‘Universal Ware’.

Unwin (Joseph Unwin (& Co.))


Earthenware manufacturer at the Cornhill Works, Longton. Maker of figurines.

Upchurch (Art) Pottery

1909 (1913)–1963

A pottery established in 1909 at Rainham in Kent by Seymour Wakeley and his brother for the manufacture of bricks, tiles and pipes. Edward Baker managed the Pottery on behalf of the Wakeley family from 1913 and initiated the manufacture of art wares which quickly became widely known. The Pottery was sold to Oscar and Grace Davies in 1936, but was quickly re-sold when the Davies’ established the Roeginga Pottery at Rainham in 1938. Edward Baker continued to manage the Upchurch Pottery for its various owners until he purchased the business in 1953. Baker died in 1955 and his son William Baker ran the Pottery until it closed in 1963. Under Edward Baker, the Pottery produced simple, uncluttered, matt glazed domestic, ornamental and art pottery in an earthenware body. Most Upchurch wares are inscribed or impressed on the base with the name ‘Upchurch’.

Upper Hanley Pottery Co. (Ltd)

1895–1910 (Inc. c.1900)

Earthenware manufacturer at Brownfield’s (or the Brownfields) Works, Cobridge (from c.1902). The Upper Hanley Pottery was taken over by Grimwades Ltd in about 1907.

Veal (Peter Veal Ceramics)


See the entry for the Tolcarn Pottery.

Vellow Pottery


A studio pottery established in 1962 at Williton, Somerset, by Richard Freeman. The pottery was sold in 1966. The Pottery’s mark was an impressed ‘VELLOW’.

Verreville Pottery


The Verreville Pottery, Glasgow, was an important Scottish pottery in the first half of the 19th century. Under the control of John Geddes, artisans and decorators were brought from the Continent to teach their techniques to local workers. From about 1820, the pottery produced bone china figurines and other ornamental china that rival those of Coalport. From 1847 the pottery was owned by Robert Cochran and, from 1869 by his son, also Robert Cochran. The pottery closed in 1918. Under the ownership of the Cochran family the pottery was used for the manufacture of domestic wares in semi-porcelain.

Victoria Porcelain (Fenton) Ltd


Manufacturer of earthenware and china at King St, Fenton, from 1949. Victoria Porcelain (Fenton) Ltd acquired the moulds and patterns of Trentham Bone China Ltd (formerly Balfour China Ltd) when the Trentham business failed in 1957. To capitalise on the acquisition of the Trentham assets the company changed its name to that of ‘Victoria and Trentham Potteries Ltd’, but the business closed in 1960. Victoria Porcelain (Fenton) Ltd produced earthenware tableware and general goods and, from 1957, the Trentham bone china tableware. Decoration emphasised traditional patterns. The company mark was a seated lion above the company name.

Victoria & Trentham Potteries Ltd


Earthenware and bone china manufacturer at King St, Fenton. Formerly Victoria Porcelain (Fenton) Ltd, the business closed in late-1960. See the entry for Victoria Porcelain (Fenton) Ltd.

Viking Tile Co.

Viking Pottery Co.


Manufacturer of earthenware and china at Cobridge. The business earlier traded as Viking Tile Co.

Vincent Pottery Co.


Earthenware manufacturer at the Chelsea Works, Moorland Rd, Burslem. The company manufactured domestic earthenware. Wares are marked with a crown and the initials V. P. & Co.