Explore the history of Jersey Pottery
Jersey Pottery Founded
Jersey Pottery was established in 1946 and has become renowned around the world for award-winning ceramics, restaurants and catering.
Jersey Pottery was founded by brothers Charles and Edward Potter who saw an opportunity to manufacture and export “British” pottery following a law introduced during WWII which banned the production of decorative ware in the UK but did not apply to Jersey. Pottery production had ceased in Jersey in the 1880s when the clay from local quarries in St Lawrence was exported in large quantities to Cornwall. The first factory was established on the site of a former ship-building yard close to the sea in Gorey Village.
Jones family acquire Jersey Pottery
Clive and Jessie Jones, grandparents of the present day family directors, purchase the Jersey Pottery following several loss making years resulting from the lifting of the UK restriction on making decorative ware.
Transformation of Jersey Pottery
Clive and Jessie Jones, with the help of their daughter Carol, set out to transform the business by getting back to basics of making desirable, high quality, fashionable ceramics but for a different market. The business was still exporting ceramics but a decision was taken to target a new customer base, the growing numbers of tourists holidaying in Jersey. Jersey Pottery took the innovative decision to allow visitors into the factory in the hope they would purchase a souvenir of their trip to Jersey.
Colin Jones joins Jersey Pottery
Clive and Jessie’s son, Colin Jones, father of the present day owners, left school and went to train in Stoke-on-Trent, taking classes in the technical and managerial aspects of the ceramic industry.
The designs continued to evolve from the more formal lustre-ware of the 1940’s to hand-painted floral designs.
The Swinging 60s at Jersey Pottery
The transformation of product design was completed with the gold lustre-ware almost entirely phased out and a new focus on hand-painted designs. Some were trendy 1960’s inspired geometric designs but the 1960’s also saw the introduction of a Mexican range called Pedro, that even to this day is fashionably retro.
From Exporter to Major Tourist Attraction
Colin Jones returned from Stoke-on-Trent to take up the position of Managing Director of Jersey Pottery in 1961 and by the end of the decade the business had completed its transformation into what would become one of the Island’s major tourist attractions.
At the height of the tourism boom in the 1980’s, Jersey Pottery attracted over one million visitors each year to its factory, showroom, gardens and restaurants in Gorey.
The early 1960s also saw the introduction of a “coffee bar”, which ultimately was the beginning of Jersey Pottery Restaurants, which has become one of the leading restaurant and catering businesses in Jersey.
The export and mail order business was still alive, with ceramics being sent to Canada, USA, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, South Africa, New Zealand, Sumatra, India and Persia and all over the UK by the end of the decade.
Natural Flower Power in the 1970s
Design changed to reflect fashions in the 1970’s with the introduction of hand-thrown stoneware in muted browns and often decorated with ribbon tools. The ceramics, inspired by the hippie movement’s preference for all-natural materials in the 70’s, were a big hit and a significant change in design direction. The small coffee bar was replaced with a new architect-designed 500 seat restaurant able to cater for the 300,000 customers that visited the pottery annually.
The Growth Years at Jersey Pottery
The 1980's began with production of a much wider range, mostly of home accessories and conservatory wares.
The range increased to at least 200 made by a factory workforce numbering more than 100, all of whom were kept in full time employment, all year round. This decade also saw the introduction of porcelain for the first time and two of Colin’s son’s join the family business. Jonathan returned, following his father’s footsteps, after a ceramic training in Stoke-on-Trent to work on the ceramic side of the business and Robert, after completing a management training scheme at the Savoy Group in London, to work in the restaurant and catering side.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visits Jersey Pottery
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh come to Jersey Pottery as part of an Island visit which included a tour of the factory and lunch in the Jersey Pottery Garden Restaurant in Gorey.
The Golden Years of Tourism and Ceramics
After a break of nearly 30 years lustre-ware is re-introduced in the booming 90's.
Hand-made pottery making reaches its zenith at Jersey Pottery as the highly skilled workforce produced some of the highest quality studio-pottery of its time. The decade culminated in the production of a limited edition range called Millennium.
Visitor numbers to Jersey and Jersey Pottery’s Gorey site peaked and the restaurant and catering business took on its own direction opening outlets elsewhere in the Island and offering “Outside” catering, the latter headed up by Colin’s youngest son Matthew who joined the business in 1996 after catering college in London. Colin’s daughter Gemma also joined the business to work in customer relations.
Jersey Pottery Richard Bramble
Jersey Pottery starts collaboration with Richard Bramble through a chance meeting at a restaurant show where Richard Bramble was exhibiting as an artist.
Jersey Pottery approached Richard Bramble and commissioned him to produce a range of paintings which were licensed exclusively to Jersey Pottery for use on several of Jersey Pottery’s ranges including Fruit de Mer, Saltwater and Farmyard. Buy Jersey Pottery ceramics with Richard Bramble designs online.
The Noughties – a time for change at Jersey Pottery
With the growth of the finance industry and a reduction in visitor numbers, the manufacturing and sales of hand-made ceramics in Gorey continues its decline.
Jersey Pottery is faced with a disappearing customer base and needs to re-invent itself. A decision is made to return to its origins and re-commence a business exporting to trade customers. Export-ware needs to compete on the world stage and hand-made ceramics were expensive to produce, especially in Jersey. A decision was made to focus on high quality porcelain, bone china, earthenware and stoneware decorated with decals. While manufacturing of the new and old ranges continued in Gorey, Jersey Pottery also starting manufacturing outside Jersey and working with a range of external artist and illustrators commissioned to work alongside the in-house design team.
Jersey Pottery designs sent to all corners of the world
Jersey Pottery attends trade shows around Europe and steadily the export business starts to grow again with Jersey Pottery ceramics now being stocked by hundreds of retailers in over 30 countries around the world.
A new era begins at Jersey Pottery
In 2010, after many years deliberating the future direction of the business and faced with a declining sales at the Gorey site and increased costs which made manufacturing in Jersey unsustainable, the very difficult decision was made to close the factory in Gorey and move our headquarters to a temporary office in Jersey’s capital St Helier.
The restaurant business was already operating from multiple sites around the Island, so the move had little impact on this part of the business.
Jersey Pottery also opens a factory in Stamford, Lincolnshire and moves all production from Jersey to this new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. It also centralizes its European and Asian fulfilment operations at a warehouse nearby.
Dominic Jones, the eldest of the Jones brothers joined Jersey Pottery after a 25 year career in law, banking and finance.
A new permanent headquarters for Jersey Pottery
Jersey Pottery’s management, design, marketing and finance teams moves to a new home at 8 Beresford Street, St Helier, a beautifully restored former Victorian Gentleman’s Club. The overall business is now bigger than any time in its history and employs over 150 people.
Export Growth continues into new Markets
Jersey Pottery continues is expansion and establishes a presence in the USA with the incorporation of Jersey Pottery USA Inc which now acts as the business’ North American sales office. Warehousing and shipping facilities are set up in New Jersey to serve trade customers in Canada, USA and South America.