Both the Industrial and Co-Operative potteries occupied the same custom built site in Grangepans, Bo’ness. The Co-operative/Industrial Pottery was established first, out of the Scottish co-operative movement both locally and nationally. It was first mooted in 1887 but it took several years to raise enough capital first to build the works then to provide enough working capital to keep it up and running.
It is reckoned that limited production started in October 1891. The official opening was on the 5th of March 1892 by William Maxwell, the Chairman of The Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society. Business appeared to be progressing well for a time but in March 1893 a petition was made to the Sheriff Court in Linlithgow to wind up the company over an unpaid debt.
This creditor obviously failed at this time and production continued but in January, 1894 when a further petition was placed in front of the court. This succeeded and a liquidator was appointed., around 95 people lost their jobs. The pottery was put up for sale in May, 1894. The first sale valuing the pottery at £7,500 failed as did the second sale in August of the same year,.
In December, 1895 Mr.James Hutton of the Culross Coal Society bought the works, at the bargain price of either £4,000 or £3,000 depending on which newspaper you read. The works cost around £13,000 in total to construct around 5 years before.
The West Lothian Pottery Company Limited was formed in March, 1896.
In 1898, Mr John McNay, nephew of Mr C.W.McNay of the Bridgeness Pottery was appointed Managing Director. He remained in that position throughout the life of the pottery. The pottery finally closed in 1928, going into voluntary liquidation in early 1929. Economically and politically, this was a difficult time for all and Mr McNay’s skill in keeping his pottery afloat is only to be applauded.
Marked pieces from this period are very thin on the ground and it is thought that a great deal of the production was unmarked. The pottery did produce pieces for special occasions such as the Roseberry pattern dinner service which was displayed at the Rochdale Co-operative Congress on 1893. Christmas plates individually named for each Co-operative Society who ordered them were also produced.
As with Industrial and Co-Operative, West Lothian marked pieces from are scarce, much of the output is unmarked, except for a few designs registered by the company. They produced a range of animals as chimney ornaments and also a range of plates depicting senior British officers of the Boer War.
Articles in SPHR
Articles in Bulletin (Members only)
Typical Backstamps & Marks
Industrial/Co-Operative pieces are generally unmarked.
Similarly West Lothian pieces are rarely marked: “West Lothian Pottery Co Ltd, Boness”
Industrial / Co-Operative:
- Asiatic Pheasant
- General Sir Redvers H Buller
- Lieut. Col. R.S.S.Baden-Powell