Cool brands - Pig Piggy Banks 2024

Go to content

Cool brands

Collection 1 > UK
UK Cool brands banner
The Potteries
The Staffordshire Potteries is the industrial area comprising the six towns of Burslem, Fenton, Hanley, Longton, Stoke and Tunstall, all of which now falls under the city of Stoke-on-Trent, located in Staffordshire, England. North Staffordshire was the centre of ceramic production from the early 17th century until about the First World War (1914-1918) due to the local availability of clay, salt, lead and coal. By the early nineteenth century there were more than 300 potteries there. All with one or more brick kilns that were called "bottle-kilns" because of their shape.
The many unpleasant facts about life in the Potteries have been overshadowed over the decades by the beautiful pottery that came from there. Child labour was very common. The work was very hard, almost nothing was mechanised. For days and when the ovens were filled they were lit, which certainly did not improve the air quality. The workers' homes were grouped around the potteries and the living conditions were poor.
Szeiler/ Arthur Wood
  • The Hungarian Joseph Szeiler started Studio Szeiler in Hanley (Staffordshire) in 1951. Using molds he designed himself, he made small earthenware figures for which Szeiler became so famous. In 1957 the studio moved to Burslem and Szeiler also started making vases, tableware and piggy banks. After Joseph's death in 1980, his widow continued the business as Studio Szeiler under the leadership of Edward Nother. Because there was too much competition from large quantities of cheap household goods flowing in from abroad (China), Edward Nother passed the company on to Jonathan Plant and Adrian Tinsley. Around 1989, Plant and Tinsley started Moorland Pottery in the Chelsea Works.
    Szeiler made beautiful piggy banks with wide ears (which often break). And for decades also with a plastic cap, which I do not collect! Szeiler's mould was later also used by Price Brothers and later Price & Kensington (Burslem), who replaced the undoubtedly worn-out moulds with new ones.

  • The potteries of Price Bros (Burslem) Ltd and Kensington Pottery Ltd were both subsidiaries of Arthur Wood & Son (Longport) Ltd. In January 1962 they were merged into one company: Price & Kensington Potteries Ltd., which operated from the Longport factory that Price Brothers already occupied. From 1962 to 2003, Price & Kensington were prolific manufacturers of everyday pottery, tea and coffee sets, novelties and souvenirs. Until 2003 all tableware was made in England.

  • Arthur Wood Bradwell Works (Longport, Stoke-on-Trent) existed from 1904 to 1928. From 1928 to 1989 the factory continued under Arthur Wood & Sons Ltd. And since 1989 it has been part of Price & Kensington Potteries, Longport (as has Szeiler). The factory specialized in teapots until 2003. In October 2003, the Arthur Wood Group, which included Price and Kensington, went bankrupt due to financial problems. Shortly afterwards, the Arthur Wood, Price & Kensington and Pristine brand names were sold to Rayware, an UK importer of household goods. The Price & Kensington name still continues as part of the Rayware Group, whose production takes place abroad, mainly China.

SylvaC; Surrey; Rye
  • SylvaC: Shaw & Copestake Ltd of Longton (Staffordshire). SylvaC (with an intentional capital C at the end) is a brand of British decorative pottery (from 1936) characterised mainly by animal figurines and Toby Jugs. The SylvaC company ceased production in 1982, although production of SylvaC pieces was resumed in 1998 by then trademark holder Norman Williams. I doubt whether that applied to the piggy banks. The black piggy banks are available in 2 sizes, 10.5 and 16 cm. The largest one only comes with a plastic cap in the belly!

  • Surrey Ceramics. The Surrey Ceramics brand was established in 1956, as an eponymous pottery in premises in Sandhills, Surrey and then moved to nearby Grayshott in 1967. There it amalgamated with the Grayshott Pottery which had taken over the “market” from the Kingwood Pottery which originally operated in Brook near Wormley in Surrey. Not such a clear story, but the fact is that Surrey Ceramics also includes the Kingwood and Grayshott Pottery labels. Surrey Ceramics still exists and specialises in 'tableware'.

  • Rye: Pottery has been made in the small town of Rye since the Middle Ages. The family business Rye Pottery had existed for 200 years when it reopened in 1947. One of Rye Pottery's students was David T. Sharp who, after 6 years at Rye, started his own company in 1953. Named Rye Art Pottery, which was later changed to Cinque Ports Pottery. Sharp died in 1993.
    Rye Pottery still makes ceramics, just (as far as I know) no more piggy banks. My 3 "open nose" Rye piggy banks were made by Rye Pottery between 1947 and 1975. The David T. Sharp piggy bank in my collection is from the period 1964-1975.

James Kent Ltd, Longton/Fenton (Old Foley), from 1897 to 2008.
The small district of Foley is close to the municipal boundary between Fenton and Longton. The James Kent hallmark includes the names Hampton, Fenton and Longton at different periods.
The Old Foley Company, Longton/Fenton (Stoke-on-Trent) was founded in 1897 by James Aloysius Kent (1864 - 1953) with five employees from the firm of Barker & Kent James Kent became a limited company (Ltd) in 1913 and remained a family business until 1981.This was followed by several acquisitions until the company was purchased in 1989 by the owner of Hadida Fine Bone China Ltd. The company was renamed (again) James Kent Ltd.
Around 1995 Wedgwood sold the Foley China Works buildings to James Kent Ltd, who operated the adjacent Old Foley Pottery. The landmark Foley Pottery was demolished around 2006 and the James Kent company continued to produce from Foley China Works for 2 years. The company closed around 2008 and in 2010 Foley China Works was demolished.
For the James Kent's piggy banks transfers are used, a technique developed in the 1930s. The transfers are covered in glaze. Regarding the age of the piggy banks, I have not yet been able to discover any James Kent piggy banks from before 1950.

Period 1950-1981. Floral pattern not included in the hallmark.
± 1950. Chinese Rose floral pattern.
Period 1950-1981. Floral pattern Harmony Rose
Period probably 1981-1989. No hallmark. Gold trim on paws, nose and ears.
Period 1950-1981. Nursery Rhymes Theme. “Mary had a little lamb”; “Baa baa black sheep, do you have any wool?”
Period 1950-1981. Nursery Rhymes theme, with Humpty Dumpty. The image on the other side is not recognized yet.
± 1950 (or older?). Winnie the Pooh theme.
Period 1950-1981. Nursery Rhymes Theme. “Little Bee Beep has lost her sheep”; “Little Boy Blue”.
Period probably 1981-1989. No hallmark. Souvenir of York.
± 1950 (or older?). Transfer reprint of 18th century Chintz motif.
± 1970 (or older?). Transfer from a 19th century photo.
± 1950 (or older?). Them: Strawberry. Imported from Sweden by Tradera.
George Wade; Geoffrey Maund; PWW
  • George Wade & Son (Burslem from 1810). The company (more of a business conglomerate, all under the name Wade) was acquired in May 2023 by RKW, part of the Sutton Venture Group (UK) that makes small household appliances and household items. Wade became known to me, in terms of piggy banks, through the series that was made for the National Westminster Bank from 1984 onwards. A piggy bank from this series was given as a gift to children who opened an account. Now collector's items, unfortunately all with a plastic cap. I have other Wade piggy banks.

  • The Geoffrey Maund Pottery Ltd began in 1950 producing handmade ornamental and art pottery, decorated with hand-painted underglaze decoration and tableware in Purley (Croydon, Surrey). Their piggy banks are provided with texts that indicate the destination of the saved money. I have refrained from collecting all the piggy banks with all the texts. The company existed until 2009.

  • The Prince William Pottery is now known as "Britain's Premier Mug Decorator". PWW made piggy banks in the 1960s. The curator told me (many, many) years ago that they did not keep an archive of all production, even the moulds were broken. Their piggy banks are painted over the glaze ("cold glaze"), which comes off easily with polishing.

Back to content