1882 Ltd. is a design-led ceramics brand produced in Stoke on Trent, England formed by fourth and fifth generations of the Johnson Brothers family.
At the core of 1882 Ltd. is progressive design and industrial craftsmanship. We produce a combination of essential objects and special pieces that highlight the centuries of industrial heritage craft skills and knowledge that reside in the heart of the British ceramics industry, Stoke on Trent.
Our ceramics are to be used, loved and desired and to bring enjoyment be it in dining and decorative objects to lighting and art pieces. Each collection has a different spirit but they always stay true to our core beliefs.
There is incredible human skill in everything we do and we focus on the process as well as the design. There are no less than 10 processes to make a mug, all of which require great human skill. While we are keen to show the processes behind how something is made we value the importance of good design and superlative quality that will last the test of time.
We are prepared to test the bounds of the material.
We make what we love.
In 1882 the Johnson Brothers began producing ceramics in the heart of the Stoke-on-Trent Potteries. 134 years later 1882 Ltd. continues the Johnson legacy with the company name evoking the deep routes of the family heritage.
1882 Ltd. was formed in 2011 by fifth generation Emily Johnson and her father, Christopher, who has worked in the industry since 1958.
1882 Ltd’s mission is to champion inventively designed ceramic products from lighting to domestic ware to works of art whilst employing the manufacturing heritage of Stoke on Trent and promoting the British ceramic industry. In collaborating with exceptionally talented designers to realise their interpretation of a very traditional material and craft, 1882 Ltd. will bring innovative ceramics to a wider audience while supporting a valuable UK resource.
In the five years since forming the company, 1882 Ltd. has worked ceaselessly to be true to its manifesto, collaborating with pioneering artists and designers such as Barnaby Barford, Max Lamb, Faye Toogood and Kiki van Eijk, producing works of art as well as tableware.
With Barnaby Barford, 1882 Ltd. was tasked to produce the stunning ‘Tower of Babel’, which was exhibited at the V&A from September – November 2015. An awe-inspiring six and a half metres tall, it comprised 3,000 uniquely decorated fine bone china mini ‘shops’. Each building was hand-made in exquisite detail – a true testament to the specialist skills of the potters in Stoke-on-Trent.
1882 Ltd.’s second collection, ‘Crockery’ by Max Lamb, has been included in the permanent collection of Arts des Decoratif at the Louvre in Paris.
Other 1882 Ltd. collections are sold in retail outlets all over the world, from Japan and China to Europe and the USA.
The name of their company evokes the deep roots of the Johnsons’ heritage, for 1882 was the year that Johnson Brothers was founded.
In 1882 the J.W. Pankhurst Company declared themselves bankrupt and the business was sold at a receivers’ sale. The buyers were Alfred and Frederick Johnson and the partnership was called Johnson Brothers. The factory was situated in Hanley, the largest of the Six Towns which joined together to form the city of Stoke-on-Trent, lovingly known as the Potteries.
The company produced mainly white ware which was popular at the time. Within a few years they introduced under-glaze printed ware, a commodity for which, over many years, they became justly famous. The end of the Civil War in America had created a great demand for consumer goods and Johnson Brothers were not slow to take advantage of the opportunities for trade with America.
Because of the increased demand the factories grew and in 1889 they built Hanley Pottery and then Imperial Pottery which were situated opposite each other in Eastwood Road, Hanley.
1896 also saw the opening of a new venture for the brothers, the Trent Sanitary Works. The year before they had opened another factory in the north of the city and named it “Alexander Pottery” in honour of the Princess of Wales at the time.
Christopher Johnson started at Hanley Pottery in 1958 working in each department to gain an understanding of the various processes before taking charge of one of the factories in 1963. In 1968 Johnson Brothers became part of the Wedgwood Group. At that time there were eight members of the family working for the group. However, when Chris retired in 2002 he was the last Johnson to be connected.
130 years later 1882 Ltd. continues the Johnson legacy with the company name evoking the deep routes of the family heritage. 1882 Ltd. was formed in 2011 by fifth generation Emily Johnson and her father, Christopher.
0203 0028 023
All photography by Andrew F Wood