This collection covers the production period 1852 to 1969, the earliest items dating from 1853, in the working life of Maw and Co. Ltd. which was founded by George and Arthur Maw at Benthall, Broseley in Shropshire and, by the late Nineteenth Century, had become one of the world's largest decorative tile manufacturers. The varied contents follow the Company's progress from its earliest years at Benthall, to its final defeat by cheap imports, the arrival of almost universal central heating and the changing fashions in domestic architecture and interior design. While the catalogues and original designs, especially those by well-known artists of the day, have the most immediate appeal, the Minute Books reveal information on changing technology and Boardroom difficulties. The Foremen's notebooks contain some names of the workforce, working practices and social information on timekeeping, pay and benefits, while letters of complaint reveal the wastage due to difficulties with kilns, glazes, sorting and packing. Order books display the wide-ranging use of tiles in private and public building while articles from Trade Journals and magzines on Art and Design are full of praise for the beauty and practicality of Maw's Tiles.
Studied as a whole, the collection gives a complete picture of an industry that dominated the Jackfield area, commemorated in the collection of tiles at the Jackfield Tile Museum.