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Thomas Fletcher (Printer)

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1Thomas Fletcher (1762-1802) was baptised in Lancaster in 1762. When he married in Liverpool in 1783, he was described as a pot painter of Shaw’s Brow. For 1783/4 the Lancaster Freemen List contains the entry ‘Thomas Fletcher pot painter of Hanley Green, near Newcastle-under-Line.’ In 1791, described as a ‘pot printer’ he bought land in Shelton and occupied a newly built house. Various partnerships followed.  In 1794 a partnership between Thomas Fletcher and William Tittensor, ‘in the Manufacturing of Porcelain and Earthen Ware’ was dissolved. In 1796 the partnership between Thomas Fletcher and Sampson Bagnall was dissolved, the notice in the London Gazette, 12 April, 1796 noted that “the Business in the Printing Line will be carried on in future  by the said Thomas Fletcher, at his own house’ and in the same year Chester & Mort’s Directory listed Thomas Fletcher as “printer and enameller, Hanley’.

Fletcher soon entered into a further partnership and but in July 1800 there was another dissolution of announcement between Thomas Fletcher, Thomas Thompson and John Hewitt ‘Black-Printers and Manufacturers of Earthen Ware, and carried on under the Firm of Fletcher Thompson and Company’. The following month  an auction was announced ‘ TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION … All those valuable COPPER PLATES, for Black (i.e. overglaze) Printing, late in the possession of Mr Thomas Fletcher, Black Printer of Shelton; comprising upwards of 450 well selected useful Copper Plates, of the most approved Patterns … enquire of Mt. THOMAS BADDELEY, Engraver, Hanley’. Thomas Fletcher died in Liverpool in January, 1802, his widow Ann married Joseph Whalley in 1805 and on 2 May, 1807 the Staffordshire Advertiser carried a notice for sale by auction of ‘A Convenient  DWELLING HOUSE, with the Workhouses, two Warehouses, Printing and Painting Shops, and other Appendages necessary for the business of Enamelling and Printing, situated near the Hew Hall China Manufactory … late in the holding of Mr. Thomas Fletcher, deceased, but now of Mr. Joseph Whalley.’

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Thomas Fletcher is  variously described as enameller, engraver and pot printer. His signature on prints often includes ‘Shelton’ but does not include ‘sculpsit’ and can therefore only be taken as indicating that he printed with that copper-plate, not that he engraved it.