Under various proprietors, the Worcester Royal Porcelain Works have existed for the past century and a half, but during no period of their history have they attained such perfection in the articles produced as at the present time. The Works were founded by Dr. Wall and a number of local gentry in 1751. Dr. Wall was a distinguished physician and a clever artist, and the productions of the establishment bore evidence to his taste, until his death in 1776. In 1783 the Works were purchased by Mr. Flight, of Hackney, for his sons. In 1788 King George III. paid a visit to the City, when he granted the patent which gave to Worcester the first “Royal Porcelain Works” in England. In 1793 Mr. Barr became associated with the Works, and, in connection with the former proprietors, succeeded in introducing into all their productions the expression of pure and refined taste. In 1786 a second Porcelain Manufactory was established in Worcester by Messrs. Chamberlain, which at once obtained a share of the popularity enjoyed by its competitor. Both factories were animated with the desire to produce first-class articles, and for many years the two may be said to have made by far the larger part of all the important porcelain manufactured and purchased in this kingdom.
Fortunate in being able to command the services of really able artists, and no less happy in the consciousness that their productions were duly appreciated, Messrs. Flight and Barr and the Messrs. Chamberlain made a large number of services for the Royal Family of England, and for many Continental Princes, in addition to those which were bought from them by the nobility and gentry of this country. In 1840 the two establishments were united in that of Messrs. Chamberlain, who, in their turn, were, in 1852, succeeded by Messrs. Kerr and Binns, under the title of W. H. Kerr and Co. Messrs. Kerr and Co. disposed of their business to the present Joint Stock Company in 1862. Mr. E. P. Evans is the present Managing Director of the Company.
The title of “Royal” not only belongs to the Worcester Works by Letters Patent, but is also due to them from another source, viz., that no manufactory in Europe, the result of mere private enterprise, has ever been so royally visited as that of Worcester.
The present proprietors have greatly extended the Establishment by the erection of new workshops, kilns, and warehouses, and the rebuilding of part of the old Manufactory, and the Works now afford employment to several hundred persons. Visitors have the opportunity of witnessing the various operations of China Manufacture in both the potting and decorating departments, guides being always in attendance. The Works are open to Visitors from 9.30 till 12.0 in the morning, and from 2.30 till 5.0 in the afternoon every day except Saturday, when they are closed at noon. A charge of sixpence is made, in return for which the visitor is supplied with an illustrated description of the Works. Whatever else the stranger may omit seeing, he ought not to be deterred from paying a visit to the Porcelain Works.
The Museum contains a collection of old and modern Worcester China dating frem the establishment of the Works in 1751 to the present time, and illustrating in a very interesting manner the history and progress of the manufacture.
In March, 1889, the old-established China Works of Messrs. George Grainger & Co. was acquired by the Company, thus re-uniting the manufacture of “Worcester China” under a single proprietary. In the present year (1905) the business of James Hadley and Sons, Limited, has also been acquired and taken over by the Company, who will continue the manufacture of the Art Pottery known as “Hadley Ware.”
Source: Littlebury’s Directory of Worcester & District. Tenth Edition. Printed and Published by Littlebury & Company, The Worcester Press, Worcester. 1905.