Pottery had a short life, being in business for just 12 years from 1923
to 1935. The factory was in the village of Ashtead in Surrey, England.
It was set up with the aim of providing employment for disabled ex-servicemen,
mainly from the Great War of 1914-18.
The main driving force behind the creation of the company was Sir
Lawrence Weaver, a highly influential man of the time. He received much
Bertrand Clough Williams-Ellis (of
Richard Stafford Cripps, a prominent politician of the time.
From a very humble
beginning with just for four workers the company quickly flourished and
at its busiest it gave work to up to forty men. Very few of the workers
originated from Ashtead, most being recruited from Labour Exchanges
throughout the south of England. Hardly any had skills relevant to the
pottery industry, although some had artistic or modelling experience.
Most found lodgings locally and a later date Purcell Close was built to
provide some sheltered housing for those workers with families.
produced a vast array of wares, ranging from figures and commemoratives
designed by leading artists of the day, including Phoebe Stabler (Poole
and Royal Doulton) and Percy Metcalfe, through to everyday crockery in
bold bright designs. The Ashtead Potters exhibited at the Wembley
"British Empire Exhibitions" of 1924 and 1925 having working stands
where the potters showed off their skills and wares.
depression, increased competition and the untimely death of Sir Lawrence
led to eventual closure of the pottery in January of 1935. The
Works building remained until 1985 when it was demolished for the
site to be
redeveloped as a sheltered housing project for the elderly. A plaque in
the entrance to Lime Tree Court, as it is now known, commemorates Ashtead Potters Limited