Welcome to Burleigh Pottery
The last pottery of its kind, where the best of British ceramic design and craft manufacturing is protected and celebrated. Producing authentic, individual and timeless tableware, teaware and gifting items; Burleigh is handmade for a reason. With a rich and intricate history, beginning and remaining in the home of English pottery; we’ve been proudly making earthenware since 1851, based at Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent since 1889.
Continuing to act as guardians of craftsmanship, our rich and intricate history is part of today’s luxury tableware offering. Burleigh production requires skills and experience that are unique to our craftspeople and can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Our famous tissue transfer decoration uses engraved copper rollers to bring our iconic archive patterns to life. We are the only pottery in the world to still use this technique.
In July 1851, ‘Hulme & Booth’ founded a business manufacturing earthenware in the centre of the ‘Mother Town’ of The Potteries, Burslem. Little is known about the lives of these two men, but the company was successful for over a decade.
11 years later, Frederick Rathbone Burgess and William Leigh took over. Burgess was a man with great business acumen. Leigh had been working in the pottery industry from childhood. Their combination of creative talent and practical skills meant that the company sat on solid foundations; ‘Burgess & Leigh’ were set apart from the myriad of manufacturers. Leigh was known locally as a kind, fair employer. He understood the importance of running a factory whilst considering the welfare of its workers, having experienced these conditions first-hand.
In 1888, growth of the company meant a more suitable home was needed. The owners commissioned a purpose-built factory on the banks of the Trent & Mersey Canal. Middleport Pottery, still our home today, is known for being a ‘model factory’; filled with the most modern technology and a special layout designed to help the flow of ware through the factory.
As the business continued to grow, the introduction of a new pattern formed from a portmanteau of the founder’s names, ‘Burleigh’, giving rise to a new brand name in 1903. This was and still is known worldwide as a true icon of British luxury and design.
As the company made the short move from the centre of Burslem to Middleport Pottery in 1889, Leigh passed on the challenge of running the new factory to Burgess and his son Richard, along with Leigh’s son Edmund. This became known locally as the ‘Seven Oven Works’, thanks to huge bottle ovens which loomed over the skyline; one of which is still intact today.
All Made Here
Every piece of Burleigh has been MADE HERE in the town of Burslem, ‘The Mother Town’, since 1851. Every piece of Burleigh has been MADE HERE at our home, Middleport Pottery in Stoke-on-Trent, since 1889. When we say MADE HERE, we mean from start to finish; our craftspeople turning raw malleable clay into to the glossy vibrant ware you see here. When we say MADE HERE, we mean crafted using skills passed down through generations of potters who worked here. Every single piece.
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