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A Short History Of Adams China Staffordshire Pottery

1970s Adams China Brown Chinese Bird Sugar Bowl & Milk Jug

A Short History Of Adams China Staffordshire Pottery

John Adams set up Adams China in Staffordshire, UK, which became known as the Brick House Works, during the 17th century. In the early years, the factory focused on recreating models that were brought in from the Far East.

In 1779, the son of John Adams, William, opened the Greengates factory in Tunstall, England.


The dish in this image dates from 1914-1940 and the image was found on the website. A very useful reference guide.

Earthenware, although durable, was not as strong as ironstone.  Ironstone was fired longer at higher temperatures and resulted in durable and easily decorated pottery that was cheaper than porcelain. Ironstone was patented by the British potter Charles James Mason in 1813.

John Adams was very innovative and invented an ironstone-like formula. It was an instant success overtaking, the then popular, earthenware market. This enabled the company to focus on manufacturing white ironstone, pottery and cookware.

Adams also produced Jasper ware, a type of matt stoneware pottery invented by Josiah Wedgwood in the 1770s. Adams pottery is one of the few Jasper ware manufacturers considered to have equivalent design and quality to Wedgwood Jasper ware. This is not surprising considering Adams designs were influenced by his friend and tutor, Josiah Wedgwood. Adams produced different colours of Jasper Ware compared with Wedgwood.


Cobalt Blue Adams Tunstall Jasper ware
Cobalt Blue Adams Tunstall Jasper ware

The William Adams company continued to be managed by the 11th and 12th generation direct descendants of the 17th Century Burslem Adams. An amazing achievement!

In the 20th Century, the pottery also developed Microtex, a more durable form of their ironstone formula.


Adams Pottery became part of the Wedgwood Group in 1966, with the intention of converting the factory to making giftware. However, this proved unprofitable and the company shifted to making hotel ware, which too became unprofitable.



Unfortunately, the Greengates factory was closed down by Wedgwood in 1992. After closing, somebody set fire to the factory and it was razed to the ground. A sad end to a three hundred year old company…

Please click on the following link for Adams Pottery available on our website.


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