The Fieldings Crown Devon story began in 1878 when Simon Fielding bought control of the Railway Works in Stoke on Trent, then trading as Hackney, Kirkham & Co. It began to trade as S. Fielding & Co. shortly after this under the management of Abraham Fielding, Simon Fielding's son. One of the most successful of Fielding's early ranges was majolica. This was soon expanded to include ranges of decorative table wares that were often significantly cheaper than contemporary British products of the time, and were able to compete with cheaper imported products.
Expansion followed, and as the Crown Devon branding was adopted it became so well known that the Railway Works pottery was renamed the Devon Pottery. New innovative product ranges and manufacturing processes were continually introduced, with the aim of driving up quality and reaching out to new sectors of the market. Fieldings exhibited Crown Devon wares widely at exhibitions and this proved a very effective marketing tool until well into the 20th Century.
For many years Fielding's ranges of blush and vellum wares were very successful, with a reputation for good design, reasonable price and high quality of manufacture. These qualities were echoed in the pottery itself, which was always kept modern and offered above average working conditions. This helped Fielding's to maintain a very loyal and dedicated body of staff, even though pay was reputed to be slightly lower than some other Stoke on Trent potteries.
As fashions changed and Art Deco became the height of fashion, Fielding Crown Devon produced new ranges of matt glazed and lustre finished products to meet this demand. Ranges such as the mattajade range and patterns such as Fairyland Castle, Fantasia and Sylvan Butterfly became very successful. Many Art Deco style figures were also produced, many of the most notable modelled by Kathleen Parsons which today are highly collectable and can sell for hundreds of pounds each.
As the years went by and fashions changed, Crown Devon moved with the times and continued to produce both decorative and table wares, with ranges of embossed wares becoming very popular in the 1950s, as well as the musical series, which have a good collectors' market today.
As the 1960s progressed, the pottery market changed, and Fieldings & Co. acquired Shorter & Sons Ltd, a company with a similar history to Fieldings but who had been experiencing financial problems. Fielding family involvement with the business finally ended with the retirement of Abraham Fielding's grandson Reginald (Reg) Fielding in 1967, and during the 1970s the gradual decline of the British pottery industry and then the recession of the late 70s and early 80s finally took its toll, with the Devon Pottery finally closing at the end of 1982.
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