Portmeirion hopes for boost from Royal Worcester’s wedding sales
Summary of story from The Guardian, April 26, 2011
A tour of the Portmeirion factory in Stoke-on-Trent reveals how little the manufacturing process appears to have changed in 200 years.
Margaret Scott, one of the company’s quality inspectors, points out that there are still a lot of hands involved where ‘pots’ are concerned; one woman is “fettling” (smoothing) the seams the moulding trays leave behind, another woman is hand-dipping mugs in a glaze mixture.
More than 20 pairs of hands will touch each piece of pottery as it journeys through the factory.
In the 1970s there were still 200 factories in the UK’s Staffordshire Potteries, but today that figure is closer to 30; an estimated 20,000 jobs were lost between 1998 and 2008.
There are however signs of recovery, with Wedgewood now making profits, and Emma Bridgewater enjoying success with her polka dot wares.
Portmeirion’s biggest money-spinner is the Botanic Garden range, which features the pretty floral motifs, dreamt up by the group’s late founder Susan Williams-Ellis – daughter of Portmeirion architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis.
Portmeirion bought Spode and Royal Worcester from their administrators last year, and the Royal Worcester collection for the royal wedding is expected to deliver the company with a sales fillip of at least £500,000 this year.