The Rise of the Potteries

Red earthenware teapot by the Elers brothers, ca 1765, credit Bonhams

Have you ever wondered why Staffordshire became the centre of the global porcelain industry in the late 18th and 19th Century? I dug into this question and you can read all about it in my latest column in Homes & Antiques.

This hilly area north of Birmingham, south of Manchester and east of Liverpool was an unassuming rural backwater up to about the year 1700. But what made it special was that the tiny villages, home to no more than a few thousand people, were sitting on extraordinarily complex and rich layers of clay and coal, the two most important ingredients for making porcelain.