Museum of Royal Worcester - Key Dates in History

Below are key dates in history for Royal Worcester, from its first beginnings, covering the many owners, commissioning of commemorative pieces right through to modern day production and the closure in 2009.


1751 First Worcester Porcelain factory founded by Dr Wall and 14 partners
1753  The British Museum is established
1754 First company showroom opened in Aldersgate Street, London
1756 Printing on porcelain is invented at Worcester by Robert Hancock
1760  George III becomes King
1764 Start of the Industrial Revolution in England
1767 Exhibition room opened in Spring Gardens, Charing Cross
1768  Royal Academy founded with Sir Joshua Reynolds as its first president.
1770 The first Royal dinner service made by Worcester for George III’s brother, the Duke of Gloucester
1773  The Boston Tea Party
1774 Dr Wall retired leaving William Davis as manager of the factory
1776  American Declaration of Independence
1783 Thomas Flight bought the Worcester factory, for his sons Joseph and John
1783 Robert Chamberlain establishes a rival porcelain factory in Severn Street, Worcester
1788 King George III and Queen Charlotte attended the Worcester Music Meeting (forerunner to the Three Choirs Festival) and visited Flight’s Worcester factory
1788 The most prestigious shop No 1 Coventry Street (off Piccadilly Circus) opened on the advice of King George III, run by Joseph Flight
1789  George Washington became the first President of the USA
1789 King George III awarded Worcester its first Royal Warrant, allowing use of the Royal Coat of Arms and the words ‘Manufacturers to their Majesties’
1802 Admiral Nelson and Emma Hamilton visit Chamberlain’s factory and order a large service
1804  Napoleon was crowned Emperor of France
1805  Nelson dies at the Battle of Trafalgar
1811 Chamberlain created a book of 400 designs for The Prince Regent
1815  Wellington defeats Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo
1820 Chamberlain experiments with bone china production
1825  The first passenger railway is opened
1830 Flight, Barr & Barr make the Coronation Service for King William IV
1837  Queen Victoria ascended the throne
1839  William Henry Fox Talbot invents the Calotype photograph
1840  First adhesive postage stamp, the ‘Penny Black’, was issued in Britain
1840 The former rivals, Chamberlain and Flight & Barr merge to form one company
1847  The factory Act restricts working to 10 hours per day for women & children
1851  Australian Gold Rush
1851  The Great Exhibition held at Crystal Palace
1851 The Worcester Royal Porcelain Company is managed by Richard William Binns and William Henry Kerr
1853 David Livingstone discovers Victoria Falls
1854 The Charge of the Light Brigade
1859 Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of Species
1851–1887 Severn Street factory expanded from 70 to 700 employees. The factory concentrated on figurines and vases and introduced 2,500 new decorative items
1860 Prince Albert admires the Worcester Enamels and orders a dessert service for Queen Victoria, painted by Thomas Bott
1862  The formation of Royal Worcester
1862  Prince Albert dies of Typhoid
1869  Suez Canal opened
1874  The first Exhibition of the Impressionists in Paris
1876  Invention of the telephone (Alexander Graham Bell)
1878 Royal Worcester displayed The Potter’s Vases at the Paris Exhibition
1880 The first piece of Royal Worcester Painted Fruit was painted by Octar Copson
1884 Visit to Royal Worcester by the Prince and Princess of Wales
1885  Invention of motorcar engine (Benz and Daimler independently)
1887  Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee
1889 Royal Worcester buys out the Grainger porcelain company
1889  Vincent Van Gogh painted Starry Night
1891 Charles William Dyson Perrins becomes a Director of Royal Worcester
1893 The Chicago World Fair – George Owen perfects pierced porcelain
1895  The first cinema opened in Paris
1896 Hadley & Sons Art Pottery set up in Diglis Road, Worcester
1901  Queen Victoria dies and Edward VII becomes King
1902 The Grainger factory closed and the workforce move to Royal Worcester
1905 Hadley & Sons is bought by Royal Worcester
1908  Henry Ford produced first Model T car
1911  Coronation of George V
1912  Titanic struck an iceberg in the Atlantic
1914  The start of The First World War,
1914 The Government asks Royal Worcester to make hard porcelain for use in hospitals, laboratories and schools
1925  Invention of the television (John Logie Baird)
1926  The General Strike
1927  The launch of BBC Radio
1927 C.W.Dyson Perrins purchased the museum collection
1929  Wall Street Crash
1931 Royal Worcester launched a new range of bone china figures at Beaux Arts Gallery, London
1931 Tableware was revolutionised by the introduction of fireproof porcelain
1934 Charles Dyson Perrins buys Royal Worcester and becomes Chairman
1935 George V and Queen Mary are the first limited edition figures made by Royal Worcester
1936  The launch of BBC television
1936 Dorothy Doughty designs the first in a series of over sixty models of American Birds
1939  The start of The Second World War – The Royal Worcester factory is used to make electrical resistors and spark plugs
1946 The Dyson Perrins Museum Trust founded to care for the museum collection
1947 Doris Lindner models a portrait of Princess Elizabeth on her horse, Tommy
1948  The establishment of the National Health Service
1949  First non-stop round the world flight
1951 Princess Elizabeth visits the Royal Worcester factory and opens the new museum
1952  Elizabeth II becomes Queen
1953  Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first men to climb Everest
1954 The Worcester Royal Porcelain Co becomes a public company
1958  The EEC established by the Treaty of Rome
1958  The first motorway opened in Britain
1961  First man in Space (Yuri Gagarin, Soviet Union)
1962 Evesham Pattern was designed by Professor Robert Baker, Ronald Van Ruyckevelt and other members of the team in Royal Worcester’s Design Department
1963  The Great Train Robbery
1963  Assassination of US President John F. Kennedy
1968  The investiture of The Prince of Wales
1968  Apollo 11, First moon walk (Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin)
1972 Ronald van Ruyckevelt designs a large model of two white doves to celebrate the Silver Wedding of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh
1976 Royal Worcester and Spode came under common ownership
1976  Concorde brought into regular service
1979  Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first woman Prime Minister
1982  The Falklands War
1986  Completion of the M25
1990  The Berlin Wall is pulled down
2001 Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh visit Royal Worcester as part of the 250th Anniversary celebrations
2006 Ceramic Production finished at Severn Street – top painting and gilding only operating
2009 The Royal Worcester name purchased by Portmeirion Pottery and Severn Street Factory closed

You can learn more about some of these key dates in history by searching through our archive.

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