Family connections: the Hudson and Middleton pottery story

I love reading about family histories so I was intrigued to find an account of the story behind Hudson & Middleton, the company that made Delphine and Sutherland china.  The story, told by Helen Gregory, a descendant of one of the original china makers, is an interesting read, albeit a little confusing due to the complexity of the connections between different people!

A picture of Delphine vintage English bone china tea set

For 19 years from 1870 William Hudson and John H Middleton worked together as Middleton & Hudson making fine china at the Alma Works in Longton, Staffordshire.  In 1889, the partners decided to go their separate ways and start their own companies.  Both men remained in Longton where Middleton opened Delphine Pottery and Hudson opened Sutherland Pottery.

A picture of Delphine vintage English bone china tea set

Although John and William had established separate businesses, it seems that they parted on amicable terms because in 1916 the two companies were collaborating on an ‘Improved Teapot and Infuser’. By this time John Middleton had died and the business was being run by his descendants, one of whom was the great great grandfather of Helen Gregory.

In 1941, the two businesses were reunited formally once more when the Delphine Pottery works were taken over by the government as storage for WWII munitions.  The business moved into Sutherland works where the two companies joined forces once again but this time as Hudson & Middleton!  Even after the war ended they decided to continue their partnership, producing both Delphine and Sutherland brands as part of the same company.  They also made china with a Hudson & Middleton (H&D) backstamp.

A picture of Delphine vintage English bone china tea set

The company was sold by the original families in the mid-1970s and after that changed owners a number of times.  The company that finally took over Hudson & Middleton renamed it Hudsons of England Limited but they still makes fine bone china mugs under the brand ‘Hudson & Middleton.  What’s more, the china is made in the original factory, which is now Grade II listed and is one of the only remaining potteries making fine bone china in Staffordshire.

A picture of Delphine retro china tea set A picture of a Delphine retro china tea setFor a more detailed version of this story, I’d recommend reading Helen Gregory’s account here

The pictures here are a selection of Delphine china.  Next time I’ll share some Sutherland pieces.

For more pictures of the retro set, take a look at my Tumblr page

Rach x

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2 responses to “Family connections: the Hudson and Middleton pottery story

  1. I recently found a retro trio like the above with a bright orange saucer in a charity shop. What drew me to it was the fact my mum had a set which we used as a family when i was growing up. 🙂
    I made the trio into a teacup candle which i put on my stall at a craft fair. And a lady bought it for her Mum because they had fond memories of Grandma using a set when they would go round for tea. Remenissing all round!

    • Thanks for sharing Sharon. I think that this is why I love vintage china so much! They always have a story attached to them. By re-purposing them as teacup candles, cake stands etc, or just resotring them so that they can be used as tea sets again, they’re available for another generation of people to enjoy using. Hope the preparations for your mad-hatters tea party are going well 🙂

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