Josiah Wedgwood – the Man who Started Wedgwood:
Our travels through Staffordshire brought us to the Wedgwood Visitor Centre to learn a little about this famous brand … and perhaps for some retail therapy. The Wedgwood Visitor Centre is located at the home of Wedgwood whose factory is set in 250 acres of lush parkland on the outskirts of Stoke-on-Trent.
Like many people I went through a phase of desiring Wedgwood products, but I knew very little about the company or the people who inspired its creation. So this was a good opportunity to learn something about this famous brand.
In the Wedgwood Visitor Centre courtyard, I got to meet the towering figure of Josiah Wedgwood, the man who founded the pottery company in 1759 and is known as ‘The Father of English Potters’. Josiah Wedgwood was a man of many talents – he was an outstanding scientist, artist, engineer and also a shrewd commericial operator. Above all of that, what impressed me most was that he was also a great social and environmental reformer. Not only did he provide jobs for the people in the area, but for his potters, he built a complete village – Wedgwood Etruria. He was also a prominent campaigner against slavery.
The film theatre at the Visitor Centre runs a 20-minute film that tells the story of Josiah Wedgwood and his immortal legacy.
At the exhibition area you can watch the craftsmen doing their thing and chat to them about their work. If you have time, it’s also possible to participate in Jasper turning and decorating your own Jasper vase.
At the restaurant and tea room, you can enjoy cooked food and tea, all served on Wedgwood fine bone china.
The bit that the men worry about is when the women get to the Wedgwood Shop and start eying all the nice products on display. Here you can buy the finest Wedgwood tableware, Jasperware and products from their related brands.
Next door to the Visitor Centre is the Wedgwood Museum where you can see rare exhibits and read all about Josiah Wedgwood and the people and craftsmen who have kept the Wedgwood name up there with the best in pottery and fine bone china.
Although we weren’t in the market for pottery, tableware or any of the Wedgwood range of products, it was nevertheless an educative visit as we got to learn all about this enlightened man who started it all.
These days the Wedgwood company is a little more complex. Under the Wedgwood umbrella are brands like Coalport, Masons and Johnson Brothers. The company has also amalgamated with Royal Doulton and more recently, the Waterford-Wedgwood brands have been merged as well.
The Wedgwood Visitor Centre
Staffordshire, ST12 9ER