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North Shore Pottery

James Smith, the brother of the infamous Stockton potter William Smith, founded North Shore Pottery in Stockton in the 1840s which was an exporter of ceramic wares both locally and across the world.

The North Shore Pottery maker’s mark. Image courtesy of Preston Park Museum.

The North Shore Pottery was opened in 1844 by James Smith. James had come from an entrepreneurial family – his brother William Smith founded the Stafford Pottery in 1825, and was quite successful in his time, while also being infamous in his business practices. You can read more about the Stafford Pottery here.

James was quite wealthy and owned a few other businesses in Stockton including public houses and a foundry. He would lease the North Shore pottery site to other potters, and at one point he employed his nephew, William Smith Junior, to run the pottery for him.

By all accounts the pottery was successful in its early years, producing white and cream ceramics which in addition to being sold locally were also exported across the world to Germany, Denmark, Holland and Constantinople.

Ewer jug with sponged blue and white design. Image courtesy of Preston Park Museum.

By 1851 James’ son, George Fothergill Smith, had taken charge of the pottery and he ran it until 1867 when his brother, William Henry Smith, took over and started trading as ‘William Smith and Co.’ After James died in 1876, William decided not to buy the North Shore pottery and instead started his own company, Cliff House pottery, in Hartlepool. You can follow the story of William Henry Smith and read more about Cliff House pottery here.

North Shore was taken over by a potter named John Hobson and it was renamed the Rockingham Pottery. The site was sold in 1885 to ‘M. Pearse and Co.’ and pottery manufacture on the site ended.

Wash bowl with blue and white sponged design. Image courtesy of Preston Park Museum.