Royal Worcester has a long and varied history throughout the ages, its ownership is complex and sometimes confusing. Initially Worcester porcelain began in 1751 on the banks of the River Severn, when Dr John Wall and William Davis succeeded in persuading thirteen businessmen to invest in their factory at Warmstry House in Worcester. Wall and Davis had developed a somewhat unique method of producing porcelain; previous to the 18th C, porcelain had only been produced in the Far East.
The business began as ‘The Worcester Tonquin Manufactory’ but in 1783 the factory was purchased by Thomas Flight, by 1792 Martin Barr had also became a partner. By 1804 the Warmstry factory was owed by Martin Barr, Joseph Flight and Martin Barr Junior.
In 1840 Flight, Barr and Barr bought the Chamberlain and Co factory; it was at this point a partnership was established with Richard William Binns and William Henry Kerr. With Kerr and Binns in charge all the manufacture was transferred to the Chamberlain factory on Severn Street.
The Irish men rebuilt the factory extensively, introducing modern machinery and new methods of production. Over the years Binns had a number of very talented apprentices working for him, including James Hadley, John Hopewell, Josiah Davis and Josiah Rushton among others.
By 1862 Edward Phillips had joined the company as a major shareholder, the company became known as the Worcester Royal Porcelain Company, more commonly known as Royal Worcester. The company had received royal assent by King George in 1789 but did not adopt the word ‘royal’ in their name until 1862. In 1889 the company was bought by Grainger and Co, then in 1905 it was bought by Hadley and Sons. Over the next century it had a number of owners, today it is owned by Portmeirion Pottery.
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