Catalogue description Papers of Henry Lewis Doulton, first Chairman of Doulton & Co. Ltd. (1860-1931)

This record is held by Lambeth Archives

Details of IV/124
Reference: IV/124
Title: Papers of Henry Lewis Doulton, first Chairman of Doulton & Co. Ltd. (1860-1931)

These papers seem to be those of Henry Lewis Doulton (1860-1931), who was the first chairman of Doulton & Co Ltd. They fall into two parts, the first dealing with the transfer of his personal holding in Doulton & Co., to the limited Co., with related papers, the second dealing with his estate at Ewhust, Surrey. There are also four miscellaneous items, two of which (letters from King George V's Private Secretary and Lord Granville) are personal. However, there are some later additions, and, in the case of the Ewhurst estate, some earlier items dealing with the purchase of Woolpits by his father Henry Doulton.


The papers concerning the firm have been divided into three sections. IV/124/1 consists of deeds and abstracts of title (many of them copies) of property in Lambeth, Holborn, Staffordshire, Lancashire, Smethwick and elsewhere, by which Henry Lewis Doulton sold his holdings to the new company, and gives a complete picture of the firm's property holdings and their value in 1899. There are also some subsequent appointments of Trustees. IV/124/2 deals in more detail with property in Lambeth, including the acquisition of Stiffs Pottery in 1914. IV/124/3 relates to the estates elsewhere, notable Rowley Regis. IV/124/4 is concerned with the estate at Ewhurst, originally purchased by Sir Henry Doulton but subsequently enlarged. The papers are incomplete, for example, there is a copy of the Charity Commissioners authorisation for the sale of Woolpits Farm by the Governors of Trinity Hospital, Guildford, and Trustees of Archbishop Abbots School, Guildford, but no copy of the deed) but there is some detailed correspondence on a dispute over rights of way. The grounds were laid out by the landscape gardener Edward Kemp in 1884, and the house, begun in 1885, included in Tinworth terracota plaque above the porch of Abraham receiving the angels, and a billiard room designed by Arthur Pearce, with a ceramic dado, chimney place, arcades and cormice. The house later became St Thomas School.

Date: 1818-1940
Held by: Lambeth Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Doulton, Henry Lewis, 1860-1931, pottery manufacturer

Physical description: 4 boxes
  • Doulton and Co Ltd
Administrative / biographical background:

The firm of Doulton was founded by John Doulton senior, who in 1815 became, with John Watts, a partner in the pottery of Martha Jones in Vauxhall Walk. Mrs Jones withdrew in 1820 but the firm of Doulton & Watts flourished, moving in 1826 to premises in Lambeth High Street. John's son, Henry (later Sir Henry) was the driving force behind a number of innovations which made the name of Doulton world famous. The first of these was the manufacture of sanitary ware, which he began in an independent factory in Lambeth in 1846. He acquired additional premises in Dudley two years later, and subsequently works in Smethwick and Rowley Regis. In addition to the manufacture of stoneware pipes, he continued to help his father's form of Doulton & Watts, and both concerns gradually expanded onto adjoining land and premises. Following the retirement of John Watts in 1853, the two companies merged (together with the independent pipe works owned by Henry's brother, John Doulton junior) to form Doulton & Co. By the time of John Doulton senior's death in May 1873, the firm was an established leader in industrial ceramics, and was just entering the field of art pottery.


The revival by Doulton & Co. of the salt glaze stoneware that came to be known as Doulton Ware was one of the major triumphs of the firm. From small beginning, the staff of artists and decorators (including such well-known names as George Tinworth and Hannah Barlow) rose to 345 but 1890. A new building had to be added to the High Street Pottery in 1882 to cope with the demand, and the wares took numerous medals and prizes. This success was matched by growth in the Staffordshire potteries, and the knighthood conferred on Henry Doulton in 1887 was a recognition of his outstanding achievements.


Henry Lewis, became a partner in 1891. His father continued to work until summer 1897, and died in November of that year. The growth of the company to a point where it was not possible for one man to oversee it all, and the withdrawal of Sir Henry's capital, made the charge to a limited company inevitable, and on 1 January 1899 it came about Henry Lewis, was chairman and managing director, and the other directors were Ronald Duncan Doulton (Henry's nephew), Benjamin Hannen, a builder, and William Turnbull, a partner in a firm of china merchants. Henry Lewis resigned the managing directorship in 1918 and the chairmanship in 1925, being succeeded in both positions by his nephew Eric Hooper.


The Lambeth works closed in 1956, but the firm's headquarters remained there until 1971. The building was demolished in 1976.

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