William Moorcroft (1872-1946),
the son of a Staffordshire china painter, began experimenting
with his own pottery designs shortly after taking employment
as a designer with the James Macintyre & Co pottery
in 1897. Moorcroft's artistic designs were quickly recognized
for their quality and he began personalising each pottery
piece with his initials or signature.
His earliest work, called Aurelian Ware were part transfer
and part hand painted pieces that eventually evolved into
the 1902 Florian Ware designs that represented the first
full expression of his artistic concepts. Perhaps most famous for his Florian
Ware, this pottery is unique in that Moorcroft used the
tube lining (slip decoration) method to produce a range
of floral and scenic designs in blues, greens yellows and
In 1912, Moorcroft split from
Macintyre and set up a new factory in Cobridge Park, Sandbach
Road, taking many of the employees with him. Moorcroft pottery
is still made here today.
Backed by a financial arrangement between William and the
famous store, Liberty of London, the Moorcroft pottery began
to produce wares using the strong and vibrant flambe glazes.
This association continued until 1962 when the Moorcroft
family bought back Liberty's holding.
The Moorcroft name continued to grow in popularity and the
1920's were exceptional years culminating in the appointment
of the Company as Potters to the Queen (Queen Mary, wife
of George V) in 1927.
Moorcroft died in 1945, his eldest son, Walter, took over
management of the pottery and maintained the tradition of
quality and innovation. A number of new floral designs and
styles helped keep the company prosperous, as public demand
remained high during the post war years. These bright and
vibrant colours portraying the now famous lily, magnolia
and hibiscus designs are eagerly collected today.
From the 1960's fortunes faltered
to the point when in 1984 the Moorcroft family sold the
bulk of their shares on the open market. Major shareholders
attempts to steer the company toward "mass production" failed
to bring about the required increases in company value and
conversely did much to bring down the reputation of a once
The 1990's saw a revival in the company when a new major
shareholder brought stability, a new management and designers
into the company, taking over from the now retired Walter
Even today under the stewardship of its young design team,
Moorcroft continues to grow and its 100-year reputation
for quality, innovation remains undiminished.