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.
137 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.