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George Wade & Son, the Pottery behind Wades.


The "Wades" Story
The first Wade to make a name for himself in the pottery business was John Wade. He first started in the potteries in 1867 as "Wade & Colclough". Then in 1887 he established his own pottery and began trading as "Wade & Co" making Teapots and their Accompaniments (Hot water jugs, milk jugs, sugar bowls and teapot stands).

By the 1940s there were three Wade potteries owned and operated by three brothers who were John Wade's nephews. The three brothers were named: William, Albert J and George Wade.

The potteries they owned and operated were:

"Wade, Heath & Co" producing domestic tablewares and decorative products. Their main output since the 1960s has been promotional wares for liqueur and cigarette companies as well as other advertising wares such as liqueur bottles/decanters, ashtrays and water jugs to name a few.

"The Flaxman Tile Works" producing decorative floor and wall tiles and fireplace surrounds. (With the advance of gas fires in Britain, tiled fire place surrounds were no longer a viable product and the 'Flaxman Tile Works' ceased trading in 1970)

"George Wade and Son" producing thread guides and bobbins for the cotton industry and miniature and other gift ware items. (It is the George Wade and Son Ltd pottery that is now world famous for it's miniatures. The most well known of these being the '1st Whimsies' which made their appearance in 1954 at the 'British Industries Fair')

By the 1950s there were four Wade potteries a new pottery having been established in Northern Ireland.

"Wade Ulster" (later renamed "Wade Ireland") producing industrial ceramics and gift wares such as Lucky Fairy Folk, Leprechauns, Pigs and Pink Elephants. Wade Ireland is now world famous for its unique grey/blue/brown glazed table and gift wares. (The colour originated by accident in 1953 when a glaze mixer made a mistake trying to re-create the colours used on goblets and tankards the pottery was producing for the Coronation of 'Queen Elizabeth II' called 'Coronation Ware').

After world War II the 'Wade' potteries were kept busy with the replacement of essential industrial ceramics destroyed or damaged by bombing. Replacement of these essential ceramics drew to a close in the early 1950s. It was then that Sir George Wade decided to produce his now world famous miniature Animals, referred to by Sir George as his 'Pocket Money Toys', so called, because the miniatures were intended for school children to spend their 'pocket money' on.

With the death of 'Sir George Wade' in 1986 at the age of 94 years and the untimely death of his son 'George Anthony (Tony) Wade' of Leukaemia a year later in 1987, 120 years of Wade family involvement with the potteries came to an end.

In 1989 'Wade' was taken over by Beauford PLC which renamed the potteries 'Wade Ceramics Limited'. In 1992 "Wade Ireland" which had been re-named "Seagoe Ceramics" was no longer a part of 'Wade Ceramics'. The "George Wade" and the "Wade, Heath" potteries are still in production today under their new name "Wade Ceramics".

Listed below are some of the first modellers of 'Whimsical Wades" and the models they created that are now world famous:

Some of the above named 1950s models when first produced were sold for as little as 15 cents, and at the highest range the cost was $3.00. Sixty years later those few cent models are selling for $100+ and the $3.00 models have sold for $l,000+ making them one of the fastest growing collectables known today.

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"Whimsies"


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