Thus began the long and distinguished history of the Royal Doulton Potteries and it is not surprising that the earliest years of the firm's existence were devoted to the making of articles ranging from decorative bottles to drain-pipes in that very challenging of ceramic materials, stone clay.
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Without the hard work and foresight of Henry Doulton that revolution would have been best delayed by decades.
In 1882 Henry (later to be knighted by Queen Victoria, the first potter so honoured), acquired the small factory of Pinder, Bourne and Company at Burslem, mother town of the Staffordshire potteries and, the home of that unique and essentially English ceramic body, bone china.
The incursion of the Lambeth potter was looked upon with little enthusiasm or favour by the proud and insular men of Staffordshire.
Developed by his son Henry Doulton, it became Britain's leading manufacturer of sanitary wares and other industrial ceramics as well as a major producer of art pottery and of ornamental and commemorative pieces, and tablewares.
In 1877, Doulton took over the Nile Street Burslem factory of Pinder Bourne, where tablewares and Art Pottery were being produced alongside industrial ceramics.
By 1882, this branch of Doulton's operation was making bone china (porcelain containing bone ash).The Lambeth Studio in London continued in existence until 1956, and since then Doulton production has been concentrated at Burslem.Having taken over many of its rivals both in industrial and decorative wares, the Royal Doulton Group is now the largest manufacturer of ceramics in Britain.In 1815, on the eve of Waterloo, John Doulton was taken into partnership by the widow Martha Jones who had inherited from her late husband a pottery in Vauxhall Walk, Lambeth, by the side of the Thames.Her foreman John Watts was also taken into partnership and the firm became Jones, Watts and Doulton.The young Doulton was just out of apprenticeship with one of the most important of the early commercial potteries of England, the Fulham manufactory founded by the great John Dwight in the latter quarter of the 17th century, where the making of stoneware in its true, vitrified form was brought to a high degree of perfection.