I know I wrote in my first post that there’s more to vintage English tea china than Royal Albert… But there’s no denying its popularity and endurance, and this is well deserved. You only have to pick up a cup to feel the quality, and appreciate the well proportioned shape and weight.
Royal Albert china started at the Albert Works in Longton, Staffordshire. In 1896, Thomas C Wild and his son Thomas Wild purchased the Works (named the year before to commemorate the birth of the young Prince Albert) and started making bone china with the brand name Albert Crown China.
In 1904 the brand was given the “Royal” tag after making commemorative china for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. With my New Zealand heritage I was interested to find out that in around 1910 the first overseas agency was set up in New Zealand, quickly followed by Australia, Canada, and the USA.
The English fondness for cottage gardens, roses, and shady woods have inspired thousands of designs which appeal to a wide range of tastes. Harold Holdcroft’s Old Country Roses, introduced in 1962, remains the flagship of the Royal Albert brand and continues in production as one of the world’s most popular and well known china patterns.
In 2005 Wedgwood completed its takeover of Royal Doulton acquiring the ‘Royal Albert’ brand. Wedgwood then went into receivership in 2008 but ‘Royal Albert’ is still a core brand of its current owner although I think much of it is now made in Indonesia. In my next couple of posts I’ll be sharing some of my favourite pieces of Royal Albert china. What are your favourite Royal Albert tea sets?