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The Beswick family were originally from Bolton in Lancashire and their family business was in the coalmining industry. In 1840, Robert Beswick established a small ‘pot bank’ in Tunstall, which he subsequently leased out on the condition that all coal supplied must come from the Beswick mine. After working for the family mine, James Wright Beswick went into business on his own in 1894, establishing a potting trade in Longton, one of the six towns which make up the Staffordshire Potteries. He was assisted by his eldest son, John, who became a partner and immediately took control of manufacturing.

Ceramic produced during the early years was back stamped ‘BESWICK & SONS’. The company underwent a period of expansion and produced goods at competitive prices. In May 1920, at the age of 75, James Wright Beswick died and the company was taken over by his son John. He has the advantage of some technical training and had also attended classes in the pottery school in Tunstall.

In 1926, two important figures joined the company – Jim Hayward, the future Art Director, and Albert Hallam, who was later acknowledged as the most talented mould maker in the potteries.

John Beswick died in 1934, and his son, John Ewart, became Chairman and Managing Director.

In 1938, the company became a private limited company (John Beswick Ltd) and was converted to a public company in 1957. Graham Tongue joined Beswick in April 1966 and became Head Modeller when Albert Hallam retired in 1973. By the late 1960s, Ewart Beswick was ready to retire and had no son or heir to whom he could pass control of his business. By now the company had such a good reputation that it was bought out by Royal Doulton in 1969.

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