North British Pottery

North British, Jug, Cherry Ripe
North British, Jug, Cherry Ripe
North British, Map, NLS
North British, Map, NLS


Founded around 1861 in Dobbies Loan by Robert Hedderwick Penman, known as the Osley Pottery, making sanitary wares, water filters and general earthenware. The Penman family were glass and ceramic retailers in Glasgow. 

In 1868, James Miller & Co takes ownership of the pottery, already having established the Port Dundas and Crown potteries.  He was in partnership with one William Grant.  The works changed name to North British Pottery and was to retain this name for the rest of its existence. 

The pottery was sold in 1874 to Alexander Balfour, once manager of Verreville pottery, with William Grant retained as partner until 1891 and Alexander Balfour sold out to the Caledonian Railway Company in 1904 for £18,500, when it was destroyed. 

Main Products

The only known marked piece from the early Penman years is that of a twin handled tureen in white earthenware with a lilac transfer-printed border.  

The Miller period produced earthenware, often transfer printed and sometimes with overglaze clobbering. 

The Balfour period sees much of the same wares, but in far greater quantity.  Pitchers seem to be a speciality. 

Fleming states that Balfour’s factory was packed with empty palm-oil casks which were used to export wares to the West African market, with palm oil returned to Britain.  Only one bowl has ever been identified and none have ever been returned from Africa. They are said to be hand painted with mottos. 

Articles in SPHR

Typical Backstamps & Marks

Printed “N.B. Pottery”, “A B & Co” (caution required, this mark was used by other potteries)

Pattern Names

  • Acorn
  • Balmoral
  • Bertie’s Hope
  • Bramble
  • Cherry Ripe
  • Chinese
  • Dahlia
  • Dawn
  • Derby
  • Flora
  • Fountain
  • Gothic
  • Hexagon
  • Italian Landscape

  • Indian Flower

  • Ivy
  • My Pet
  • Oporto
  • Portland
  • Rustic
  • Stork
  • Swan
  • Vintage
  • Willow
  • Windsor

Other Publications & Links

Public Collections

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