Goss collage

Goss and Crested China
A brief history

W H Goss William Henry Goss set up his first pottery factory at Stoke on Trent in 1858, at the age of 25. He had been trained in potting by the Copeland family, who ran the Spode works, which was next door to his own factory. He experimented with making parian porcelain and produced busts and ornaments in this as well as other materials. In 1870, William had moved his factory to Sturgess Street in Stoke. Here, in 1883, his son Adolphus joined the firm. Adolphus noted how the lower classes were now able to travel further (due to the expanding train network) and had more spare time and disposable income than ever before. A market had developed for souvenirs for people to take home from their day trips out, helped by Queen Victoria, who had made seaside bathing popular.

Crested China started in the 1880s and its heyday came to an end following the Great Depression of the 1930s. However, potteries – like W H Goss which started the Crested China craze – were in existence long before, and are relevant to other forms of ceramic collecting (like decorative plates). Other manufacturers, seeing Crested China as a lucrative market, diverted from their usual products (everything from tableware to wash basins) to develop their own offerings as a sideline. While manufacturers – like Arcadian – were set up specifically as competitors to W H Goss in the Crested China market.

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