Originally founded by furniture maker, John Wade in 1810, Wade produced products for the textile and wool spinning industry, as well as manufacturing bottles for the beer breweries in Staffordshire.
Wade Ceramics was originally made up of a number of different companies founded by various members of the Wade family, and was only united as Wade Potteries Limited in 1958. The original companies were:
- Wade & Myatt (later became George Wade & Son, who made industrial ceramics and Wade Whimsies). Established 1867.
- John Wade & Co (later became Wade Heath & Co, who made decorative ware, particularly art deco vases in the 1930s). Established 1867.
- J&W Wade (later became AJ Wade Ltd, who made tiles, notably the original tiles for the London Underground). Established 1891.
Sir George Wade was born plain George Albert Wade on the 19th July 1891 in Burslem. His father, also George, owned a pottery in Burslem. When George returned home after the First World War, (George was awarded the MC for Valour in December 1917 with a Bar added in January 1919), his father made him a partner in the company and thereafter the company was called George Wade & Son Ltd.
In 1930 George Wade employed Jessie Hallen who was a talented designer and was renowned for her creation of ceramic figurines.
Jessie Hallen was born Jessie Elaine Brooke in Wolstanton, Stoke-on-Trent in 1902, she attended the Burslem School of Art where she studied pottery. George Wade set up a small department for her and ititially she designed garden gnomes, she later expanded into flowers, animals and ladies. her first lady figurine is believed to have been Pavlova, which was followed by Helga, Pompadour and many others. More than seventy figures were modelled by Jessie during the period 1930 to 1940 for Wade. Sadly as with many other great artists, Jessie van Hallen only really achieved fame after her death in 1983 when collecting Wade was in its prime.
In the 1950s, Wade created the much loved, Whimsies, these miniature porcelain figurines became popular and collectable in Britain and America, following their launch in 1954. Whimsies were widely available in shops from 1954 through to the 1980s. The first set consisted of a leaping fawn, horse, spaniel, poodle and squirrel. Wade Whimsies are still highly collectable and are sought after by collectors of all ages, all over the world and are still very popular today, possibly because they are affordable, small and don't take up much room to display.
In 2010 the company celebrated 200 years in business and special limited edition decanters were presented to the company employee's. 2010 also saw an investment in a new factory in Stoke-on-Trent with the latest robotic manufacturing equipment and pressure casting machines. Wade Ceramics are still manufacturing porcelain flagons for the international spirits market, as well as promotional ceramic goods.
If you have any special Wade items that you would like to enter into our November Antiques, Rare Pottery & Fine Art Auction, please contact us on Telephone 01782 638100.