History


Potclays is a 4th generation, family owned and managed business operating primarily as a clay manufacturer and a supplier of a wide range of materials and equipment for ceramic. We have been in the clay mining and processing business for 83 years and as such we are one of the oldest independent, family run, suppliers of ceramic materials, kilns and equipment in the UK.

We have 30 employees across our two manufacturing sites in Etruria and Brownhills many of whom have been with us for decades. We are dedicated to being a family orientated business and many of our employees have family members working alongside them.


            

The Potters Coal and Clay Company was established as a clay mining company in 1932 at Brownhills, South Staffordshire under the Directorship of William Noake. It was later incorporated as The Potters Clay and Coal Company Limited with William Noake as Governing Director.

The company operated mines in Brownhills (Birch Coppice) and Walsall (Bentley and Landywood), extracting and processing high quality, pale firing fireclays that we still use to this day.

 

 

 

 

Warbreck Noake took over the Directorship of The Potters Clay and Coal Company Limited following the death of William in 1939.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jonathan Noake took over as Managing Director of The Potters Clay and Coal Company Limited in 1969 and vastly upscaled the clay mining operation over the 50 acre Birch Coppice site during the following 11 years.

 


 

Potclays Limited was founded in 1941 by Warbreck and Helen Noake as a vehicle for processing and selling blended clay bodies around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our current Etruria site was first occupied in 1947 on the site (Valley Works) of the old Downings Brick and Tile works. In 1965 the adjoining Kirklands teapot factory (Albion Works) was purchased.


      

 

In 1969 Jonathan Noake joined the business and under his continuing leadership Potclays has developed, diversified and grown into one of the leading manufacturers in the craft ceramics market.

Harry Fraser entered the business as Joint Managing Director when Harry Fraser Ltd merged with Potclays in 1976.

In addition to developing the non-clay channels of our business Harry was instrumental in Potclays’ entry into the Hobby Craft market and kiln building.


    

After training as a Ceramicist at Cardiff Becky Otter (nee Noake) joined the family business as Technical and Marketing Director bringing the business into its 4th generation of family ownership and management.

 

 

 

 

She has been instrumental in promoting Potclays’ vision to bring ceramics back to the table in education.


    

In 2013 James Otter joined the business as Director after 12 years working in Transfer Pricing and Tax Efficient Supply Chain Advisory.

 

 

 

 

Working hard to promote and bring our products to a new generation of potters and doing our bit for the community we live and work in.