Britannia Pottery was a custom built pottery which was established in 1857 by Robert Cochrane who at the time owned the Verreville Pottery in Glasgow, which could not expand any further at its premises. It was erected just North of Glasgow’s centre.
The purpose of this new works was to meet the expected demand for certain types of ware from North and South America especially the former.
Cochrane sent young managers to Canada to open warehouses there and establish markets. James Fleming, the father of J Arnold Fleming was one of those young managers. He went in 1858 and established a warehouse in Toronto. He returned in 1863 to take charge of the new pottery as managing partner.
Alexander Cochrane, younger son of Robert Cochrane Snr, was the owner as his father had recently retired.
Robert Cochrane Jnr owned and ran Verreville Pottery.
Robert Cochrane Snr died on the 7th August 1869.
J Arnold Fleming was made a partner in 1896 and after Alexander Cochrane died.
James Fleming, later Sir James Fleming, carried on the pottery until he retired in 1911.
Arnold continued until 1920 when he sold the business to The Britannia Pottery Co. Ltd. which continued, but with the outbreak of war in 1939, the pottery closed.
Britannia Pottery produced Royal Ironstone China, White Granite in ‘Ceres’ pattern, much of it for North America where it can still be found today.
Fleming in ‘Scottish Pottery’ states that Ceres “consists of sheaves of wheat and barley modelled in a raised conventional design round the brim of the articles.’ (P.112) He also mentions that it was popular in Spanish South America and Australia.
Other patterns made in some quantity were Syria, Damascus and Oriental. Commemorative pieces were made for the various industrial exhibitions in the latter part of the 19th century and into the early years of the 20th century also for various Royal anniversaries.
A series of Christmas jugs also appeared in the 1880’s.
Agate wares were produced for a short time in the early 20th century. Spongeware was produced over the history of the pottery but little is marked.
In “Ceramic Art of Great Britain vol.2” Jewitt states that granite and cream coloured ware was produced by Britannia for South America, but no physical proof exists. (P.515)
In the latter life of the pottery, under the Ltd Company, the range of ware produced was completely different in style to the earlier periods. The new owners modernised shapes and patterns entirely. Bright colours were the norm using the name “Scotch Ivory”, every attempt was made to produce ware which was in the fashion of the time.
In 1884, the potters made several kilns for the great Franchise Demonstration. The kilns were stuffed with smoking rags for the duration of the procession, which ended on Glasgow Green. One piece (in the Gallery) was gifted to the People’s Palace in 1949 and is one of the many objects from the collection referenced in the Ken Currie Glasgow History mural of 1987, commemorating 200 years of working class history in the city.
Articles in SPHR
Articles in Bulletin (Members only)
Typical Backstamps & Marks
“B.P. & Co. Ltd”, “Britannia Pottery & Co. Ltd, Glasgow”, “Cochran Glasgow”, “C&F”, “B P Co Ltd”, “Fleming” , “Cochrane & Fleming”
- Auld Acquaintance
- Bee and Rose
- A Bit of Devon
- A Bit of Old England
- Blue Bell
- China Dragon
- Cyprus Pattern
- Dancing Cupids
- Etruscan Shield
- Glasgow International Exhibition 1901
- Good Cheer
- Highland Vine
- Humming Bird and Rose
- In Memoriam
- La Gloria
- Omar Khayyam
- Rose and Lily
- Rose Mallow
- Rose Wreath
- Rural England
- Sir Garnet Wolsely
- Sons of the Empire
- Summer Pattern
- Swiss Scenery
- Wide Awake
- Wild Flower
- Wild Rose
- Willow Victoria
Other Publications & Links
It should be noted that the name “Cochrane” is often reproduced “Cochran” as a variant, but they are the same. This extends to backstamps.