Category Archives: Wedgwood

Wedgwood Museum To Be Broken Up & Sold

The Wedgwood Museum is to be broken up and sold off in order to help plug the £134m deficit in the pension fund of Waterford Wedgwood Potteries, which failed in 2009.

The Wedgwood Museum, which was shortlisted by UNESCO as one of the UK’s ‘Memories of the World’, is to be broken up and sold. The decision stems from legal action brought by Waterford Wedgwood Potteries creditors, after it failed in 2009.

Although the company’s assets were sold, the deal excluded its debts and its pension fund, which had a major funding shortfall.

The Wedgwood Museum was also excluded from the sale of the Potteries and as an independent charitable trust, was expected to be protected from any claims by Wedgwood’s former creditors. However, this week a high court judgement has found in favour of the creditors and decided that the Museum was an asset of Waterford Wedgwood Potteries and can therefore be sold to help repay its creditors.

This ruling has only come about due to a legal loophole: although the Museum is operated as an charitable trust, a handful of its staff were members of the Waterford Wedgwood Potteries pension scheme. This has enabled the court to classify the museum as an asset of the company, despite the fact that the museum itself has been operated independently for nearly 50 years.

The main creditor in this case is the Pension Protection Fund, a public organisation which pays compensation to members of defined benefit pension schemes whose employers go bust.

While we sympathise with anyone who has lost their pension as a result of Wedgwood’s bankruptcy, the sale of the museum and its contents will hardly make a dent in the £134m pension deficit, but it will mean that the UK loses a significant reminder of our cultural and industrial heritage.

The Wedgwood Museum contains a massive, irreplacable collection of Wedgwood pottery, documents and British art, the like of which does not exist anywhere else in the world.

The Wedgwood Museum is now beginning a campaign to raise sufficient funds to buy out the museum’s collections and save them for future generations. If you’d like to learn more or get involved, contact the Wedgwood Museum Trust.

The Realms of Wedgwood Pottery

If you’re looking for a piece of Wedgwood pottery maybe something related to Keith Murray then you should definitely take a look in our Wedgwood pottery section.

The range of pieces relating to Keith Murray is vast so the best start is to take a flick through the Keith Murray Information Book & Price Guide. This will give you a good start as to the style of items and the different shapes and purposes available.

We currently have this book on offer for only £12 including UK postage and packaging. Click here for details.

Once you’ve browsed your way through and got some ideas together, you’re probably best setting yourself a budget otherwise you could easily get carried away!

For example if you have around £50 to spend then why not consider a Keith Murray tankard? They can range in style and colour so there’s endless collecting options!  Here’s a nice and slightly unusual yellow tankard we currently have for sale:

Priced at £40 INCLUDING UK postage and packaging it’s right on the mark. Click here to see further pictures and information on this KM tankard.

If you’ve got more like £150 then why not consider something a little more unusual such as this green Keith Murray powder bowl and cover?

Looking a bit like an apple it’s an interesting piece – and practical, you could easily use it day to day to store pins, paperclips or slides in it for example. Priced at only £110 including UK postage and packing it’s well under budget. For further pictures please click here.

If you have no limit then why not consider a large and striking piece that would fit comfortably in any home – be it modern or traditional. This white Keith Murray open shoulder vase is a lovely example.

Standing 9.5″ tall and measuring 8″ wide at the top it is an imposing piece and is priced at only £270 including UK postage and packaging. Click here to see further photographs an details about this stunning vase.

I hope that’s given you some ideas!

Click here to view our current selection of Wedgwood pottery.

Keith Murray Book by Stephen Johnson

If you’re a keen collector of Keith Murray wares then check out our Wedgwood pottery section where we have just added the new Keith Murray Designer book by Stephen Johnson.

This collectors book includes information on Keith Murray pottery and glass marks, a biography, images of different patterns and shapes used by the Wedgwood pottery and a price guide.

For further details on this Keith Murray book, please – click here.

Keith Murray Collectors Book – Keith Murray Designer by Stephen Johnson

New to our Wedgwood Keith Murray section is the popular collectors book all about Keith Murray – Keith Murray Designer by Stephen Johnson.

This is a super book for any collector of Keith Murray. Full of information on the man himself including a shape and price guide for the Wedgwood designs he created.

For further information, please – click here.

Going, Going, Gone! Waterford Wedgwood is Sold

Most of the assets of Waterford Wedgwood have been sold to US private equity company KPS Capital for an undisclosed amount. The now-completed deal has been on the cards ever since Waterford Wedgwood went into administration but concerns have persisted over the number and scale of job cuts that may result.

Controversially, KPS has not bought any of Waterford Wedgwood’s assets in Ireland – only the stock. This means that the Waterford factory and its employees are currently standing idle, with redundancy a distinct possibility.

There is some hope that KPS will agree a deal with the Irish government to turn the plant into a modern visitors centre making “artisanal” glassware, but this has not yet been finalised and would depend on substantial investment from the Irish government.

KPS has made no secret of its intention to increase the amount of offshore production – both in Asia and Eastern Europe – meaning that jobs at the former Wedgwood and Royal Doulton factories in the UK could be at risk, too.

KPS says that it plans to “aggressively grow the hell out of it [Waterford Wedgwood]” and that is will now be operated as one efficient company, targeting new overseas markets and large luxury hotel groups such as Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton.

The deal excludes all of the old company’s liabilities so the new Waterford Wedgwood will start with a clean slate. KPS are promising to invest up to €100m in its new acquisition – we’ll have to wait and see how they get on.

Waterford Wedgwood Sold To KPS Capital

The Waterford Wedgwood group has been sold to American private equity company KPS Capital. The deal, which was widely expected, was announced on Friday.

It includes Waterford, Wedgwood and Royal Doulton but excludes Rosenthal, which was also a part of the Waterford Wedgwood empire.

There have been no announcements yet on job prospects for the firm’s Stoke-on-Trent and Waterford based manufacturing staff. According to one report, KPS have not agreed to take over the Waterford manufacturing plant, which stopped production on 5th January when the firm went into receivership. There are fears that more Wedgwood jobs will go abroad – the company already employs more than 1,500 workers at its plant in Indonesia.

Wedgwood Family Chances Looking Slim

The chances of the Wedgwood family succeeding in their bid to demerge Wedgwood from Waterford and run the firm independently again are looking increasingly slim this week.

Both the Irish Times and the Staffordshire newspaper The Sentinel have reported that early bidders KPS Capital look to be favourites to secure a deal to buy the whole Waterford Wedgwood group, possibly with a contribution from the Irish government.

Unsurprisingly, Wedgwood staff are strongly in favour of the Wedgwood family bid as they believe this would reduce the chance of job losses for Wedgwood’s Barlaston staff. On the other hand, a purchase by private equity group KPS Capital is widely expected to translate to expanded offshore production and a reduction in Wedgwood’s UK production facilities, although this has not been confirmed by KPS.

According to The Sentinel, staff at Wedgwood’s Barlaston plant have been told to “clear up” and old stock is being “smashed up”, leading the workers to believe that a purchase deal is close to completion.

Wedgwood Going Back Into Family Ownership?

The Times reports that Thomas R. Wedgwood, a direct descendent of Josiah Wedgwood, is putting together a bid to buy back Wedgwood into family ownership.

Apparently, the bid is being backed by Middle Eastern money (when is anything not, these days?) and is due to be submitted this week. It would entail a demerger from Waterford, turning Wedgwood back into an independent company.

The bid sounds attractive – perhaps more attractive than the other known bid from American equity fund KPS Capital, which The Times says apparently left the Wedgwood family “ignited with worry” about the future of the Wedgwood brand and its British employees.

Thomas Wedgwood was until recently Wedgwood’s Asia Director and believes that Asia should be seen as a lucrative potential market, rather than simply a cheap manufacturing base. According to The Times, the latter strategy is a “one-way route to oblivion”. 37% of Wedgwood sales are currently generated in Asia, but Mr. Wedgwood believes this has the potential to rise as high as 60%.

Thomas Wedgwood believes that the company’s products need to become “just inaccessible enough to be aspirational” – turning Wedgwood back into a true luxury brand. It’s an idea that many fans of the company (including me) will probably empathise with but I don’t know how successful it would be.

Time will tell.

Wedgwood’s Indonesian Factory Could Aid Sale

I’ve just come across an interesting article on the BBC website highlighting how Wedgwood’s large, modern factory near Jakarta, Indonesia, could aid its sale.

The factory is purpose built, modern, pleasant to work in and provides welfare facilities for its 1,500 staff. These include a free medical clinic, one free meal per day, a football pitch and a mosque. It’s eerily familiar in a way – this is exactly the type of thing that some of the more enlightend British factory owners did for their employees in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Consequently, the factory has absenteeism and annual staff turnover figures that are both close to 1%, despite not paying as much as some other employers in the area.

Read the full article here.