Tag Archives: English Potteries

Jobs Cuts at Royal Crown Derby Factory

Thirty jobs are to be cut at the Royal Crown Derby factory in Osmaston Road, Derby.

The announcement was made to the company’s 230 staf by chief executive Hugh Gibson, who said the cuts were necessary for the company to survive.

Royal Crown Derby blamed the job cuts on the slowing UK economy, which has resulted in falling demand for its products.

Source – thisisderbyshire.co.uk

Poole Pottery Production Stoked

Poole Pottery’s new owners Lifestyle have confirmed that the company will not be opening a new factory in Poole – under any circumstances. The company currently operates a shop and a small studio – with just four staff – in Poole, but all regular production has been moved to Stoke.

Lifestyle were always open about their plan to move the bulk of Poole Pottery production to their Stoke factory, but Poole fans and former staff had always hoped that there might be some future for volume production locally.

In this article in the Dorset Daily Echo, Lifestyle Managing Director Peter Bello reiterated the company’s position:

“We absolutely stick to what we said to the public, that the bulk of
production would move to Stoke-on-Trent, with the studio continuing
with product development and design and production of limited editions.”

The news will disappoint those hoping for a change of plan, but comes as no real surprise.

To be fair to Lifestyle, Poole Pottery was on a very poor footing prior to its closure and the company had been through more than one bankruptcy and change of ownership in the years preceding its demise.

Lifestyle has invested money in the company and preserved the Poole brand when all else seemed to have failed. A new range is due to be launched in 2008, which Lifestyle says was developed at the new Poole Studio, and Lifestyle have so far shown a firm commitment to turn the firm around.

Let’s hope they succeed – and that Poole Pottery doesn’t lose its unique identity in the process.

No Sign of Pottery Offshoring Slowing

There seems no sign that the exodus of volume pottery manufacturing from the UK is slowing. According to a recent press release by market research company Research and Markets, the total value of manufacturing sales of ceramics in the UK between 2002 and 2005 dropped by 32% – almost a third. At the same time, the total retail value of ceramics sold in the UK remained almost unchanged.

That extra third must have been produced somewhere, though, musn’t it?

Even the industry’s most famous names are experiencing problems at the moment – with both Wedgwood and Spode in the middle of job-cutting reorganisations aimed at helping them return to profitability. In addition, the past year has seen the failure of both Poole Pottery and Royal Stafford, as well as the offshoring of most PenDelfin production.

Where Next?

All of this leaves you wondering what the future will hold for the nation’s world-famous potteries. I firmly believe that the only possible answer lies in quality, originality and technical innovation – rehashing old designs and shapes and launching tawdry “celebrity-endorsed” ranges of tableware can only take companies so far. They have to do something to justify the higher costs of designing and manufacturing pottery in the UK – and true innovation seems the only answer.

On the other hand, perhaps the demand that used to exist at the top end of the market has simply passed – a victim of changing fashions and lifestyles. I don’t know – what do you think?