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Joseph Clementson (Maker)

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Born in Cumberland about 1794, Joseph Clementson travelled to Staffordshire in 1811 to work with his brother Francis who was a carter.  It was in The Potteries that he was introduced to Methodism,  becoming a lifelong active member of the Methodist New Connexion.  In 1820, at the unlikely age of 26, he apprenticed as a printer in the factory of fellow Methodists Messrs. John & William Ridgway at their Cauldon Place Works, Shelton.  Subsequently he was employed as a ‘printer’s overlooker’ at Messrs. Elkin and Knight’s Foley Pottery, Longton. 

In anticipation of becoming a master potter he visited the greatest potential market for his wares, North America, making contacts in Canada and the United States.  On his return to Staffordshire, in 1832, Clementson entered into partnership with Joseph Read.  The factory of Read & Clementson was in Burslem but that same year they moved the business to Shelton taking on another partner, and trading as Read, Clementson & Anderson until 1836. From about 1840 Clementson was sole proprietor. He began to expand his business, enlarging his factory and acquiring adjoining works creating a single large site which he called the Phoenix Works where he built a large and impressive frontage onto Broad Street.  Directly across the street was the Bell Works of William Ridgway, and in 1855, after Ridgway’s bankruptcy, Clementson added that factory to his business.

During the 1850s and 1860s Joseph Clementson busied himself in the civic and religious life of his community. In 1867 at the age of 73 he changed the company name to Clementson Brothers, his sons, Francis, Joseph Jun., John, and Matthew taking control of the pottery business and expanding its export trade to all parts of the world.  Joseph died suddenly in 1871, followed in 1875 by his eldest son, Francis.  Clementson Brothers continued with the remaining brothers until they finally ceased trading in 1916. 

To see all examples by Clementson in this online exhibit, click here



Halfpenny, P. 1984. 'Joseph Clementson: A Potter "Remarkable for Energy of Character"'. NCS Journal Vol.5, pp.177-206