Pilkington's Tile and Pottery Company

History of the Pilkington's Collection

The Peter Scott Gallery houses one of the most significant collections of Pilkington's Tile and Pottery Company and related archive material in the UK. Pilkington's were based at Clifton Junction near Manchester and were given permission to use the Royal warrant in 1913 when the pottery was renamed Royal Lancastrian pottery. A permanent display of this material is shown in the John Chambers Ceramics Room, on the upper level of the Peter Scott Gallery.

A large number of ceramics were given to Lancaster University in 1994 by Miss Mary Chambers, on behalf of herself and her brother Arthur Chambers. In August 2002 the gallery received a substantial bequest of archive material from Miss Mary Chambers (1910-2002). Miss Chambers was the daughter of John Chambers (1869-1945), who was the Chief Designer at Pilkington's Tile and Pottery Company during what is generally considered to be its golden era. Among the thousands of items in the bequest were delicate illustrations and designs, photographs, rare books and catalogues, diaries, paperwork, stencils for tiles, artists' materials and ceramics.

John Chambers Ceramics Room

On display in the John Chambers Ceramics Room is a selection of significant pieces from our collection of Pilkington's Tiles & Pottery.

Beginning with the oldest and ending with a selection of ceramics created by Pilkington's in the 1930s this display maps the progression of the company and highlights significant moments in its history.

The lustre glaze, of which Pilkington's is known for, Chinese and Persian style pieces, designs relating to the Arts and Crafts movement and a variety of eclectic archive items demonstrate the rich variety of material produced by Pilkington's.

The display represents a whole colony of artists who worked with Pilkington's. External and internal artists worked to create the designs and glazes Pilkington's is now famous for.  

In addition to ceramics Lancaster Arts holds an extensive archive of material relating to Pilkington's Tiles & Pottery. Presented to us in 2002 the archive provides the viewer with a unique insight into the company. The history and associated stories can be followed through the archive, culminating in a piece of pottery or a tile. 

In order to highlight specific parts of the collection the centre case holds our changing exhibition programme. From stories about the Titanic to displays about chemistry the centre case is changed regularly to ensure all aspects of our collection and archive are celebrated. Click here for more information about our Titanic display.

The ceramics room is also regularly used during tours and school visits. You can read more about our work with schools here.

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