Moorcroft Pottery – The Middle Years



Walter Moorcoft Design - ColumbineIn August 1913 William Moorcroft moved to his own newly built factory at Cobridge on the outskirts of Burslem.
He took with him a small team of craftsmen and women whom he had trained and who had worked with him at Mcintyre’s.  
Moorcroft went into  partnership with Liberty’s who put up two-thirds of the cost of the venture.  The two Directors were to be  Alwyn Lasenby of Liberty’s and Moorcroft himself.  This gave Liberty’s control of the company and this was to continue until 1947.
In 1913 William married a Florence Lovibond and, because of her profession as inspector of factories for the Home Office, she had considerable influence on the design of the new factory.
There was an immediate demand for his work and the factory thrived.  However William was shrewd enough to realise that his enterprise, run as a cottage industry in the Morris tradition, would be unable to survive on art pottery alone.  He therefore began immediately to design a range of tableware that could be made in relatively large quantities and attract a wider market.
The table ware, known as Blue porcelain, became the vital backbone against which the art pottery would be developed.
While William used some of his earlier designs at Cobridge, he embarked upon fresh developments at the same time.  The new designs reflected his desire both to move in new directions and to maintain the traditions he had established.  
The 1930s were difficult years for Moorcroft, partly because of the international financial situation and partly because of changing attitudes towards decorative pottery.  The bright colours of the 1920s had been replaced by pale and sombre tones and decorative patterns had given way to the plain,handcrafted styles of the studio potter.
William responded to the changes, however by the late 1930s Moorcroft was increasingly in competition with the studio potters.  It must have been ironical for him, whose pottery had always been thrown, turned and decorated by hand to have to produce wares whose finish emphasised the handcraft look.
Source:Moorcroft 1898 – 1993 .                          
               Author:  Paul Atterbury                                        
Pubslished by Richard Dennis & Hugh Edwards