Royal Worcester can trace its roots as far back as 1751 when a conglomerate of fifteen men founded a porcelain factory in the city of Worcester.
There is some dispute as to whether Royal Worcester is the oldest English porcelain brand still in existence today, as Royal Crown Derby claim their establishment date as 1750. However, this still means that Royal Worcester is either the oldest or second oldest brand still operating today.
Before 1751, John Wall, a medical doctor, and William Davis, an apothecary, were experimenting with ways of developing porcelain that could be used to underpin prosperity and employment opportunities in Worcester.
The early results of these experiments are unclear, but sometime during 1750-51, the two men met with the Bristolian porcelain manufacturer Lund & Miller, who was, rather uniquely, using steatite as a raw material in their own porcelain production, which encouraged the two men to step up their efforts.
In 1751, Wall and Davis persuaded a group of thirteen other businessmen to bankroll a new factory in Warmstry House, on the banks of the River Severn.
Wall and Davis recouped an investment sum of £4,500; a considerable sum in those days. Using this investment, the men set up what was then known as The Worcester Tonquin Manufactory.
The company opened its first showroom in the Capital in 1754, and the first attempts at printing on porcelain were invented in Worcester two years later.
The first royal dinner service was made for the Duke of Gloucester in the 1770s, and in 1789 George III awarded the company its first Royal Warrant, which allowed them to use the Royal Coat of Arms and the byline of ‘Manufacturers to their Majesties’.
As success continued and the company began to reach American consumers, the Royal Worcester Severn Street factory was 700 employees strong.
During the early 20th century, Royal Worcester had become a firm favourite of many American households, although the 1929 stock market crash meant that demand for luxury items had all but diminished and the company narrowly escaped closure in the 30s.
The company followed a similar narrative as the other leading porcelain brands of their time, with considerable success during the 18th and 19th centuries, followed by a gradual decline in popularity, particularly during the second part of the 20th century.
That said, one of Royal Worcester’s most famous patterns Evesham was designed by Professor Robert Baker in 1962. The Evesham designed came in several different variations: Colours, Gold Edge, Ribbed Gold Edge and Orchard.
In the early 2000’s Royal Worcester launch one of the first and most successful Celebrity Chef partnershops with Jamie Oliver. The Jamie White on White tableare collection brought the casual dining of The Naked Chef straight into your kitchen. Today the White on White collection is still available from Churchill China
These days Royal Worcester is part of the Portmeirion Group, where there is still a lot of affection for the brand although production is no longer located in Worcester.