Burleigh Pottery

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Burleigh Pottery
Type Private limited company
Industry Pottery
Predecessors Hulme and Booth
Successors Denby Pottery Company
Founded 1851
Headquarters Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent, England
Area served Worldwide
Key people William Leigh & Frederick Rathbone Burgess (early owners)
Products Earthenware pottery
Owners Denby Holdings ltd
Employees 500
Website http://www.burleigh.co.uk/about-burleigh.php

Burleigh Pottery is the name of a pottery (earthenware manufacturer) in Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent. The pottery occupies a nineteenth-century listed building next to the Trent and Mersey Canal. (It is listed grade II with a bottle oven separately listed as grade II*). [1]


The factory was established in 1851 at the Central Pottery in Burslem as Hulme and Booth. The pottery was taken over in 1862 by William Leigh and Frederick Rathbone Burgess, and traded from that date as Burgess & Leigh. The trademark "Burleigh", used from the 1930s, is a combination of the two names.

The works moved first in 1868 to the Hill Pottery in Burslem and then in 1889 to the present factory at Middleport, regarded at the time of its construction as a model pottery.

In 1887 Davenport Pottery was acquired for its moulds.The moulds first used by this firm and are still used today in the production of Burleighware.

Leigh and Burgess died in 1889 and 1895 respectively, and were succeeded by their sons, Edmund Leigh and Richard Burgess. On Richard's death in 1912, the business passed entirely into the ownership of the Leigh family. In 1919 it became private limited company, Burgess & Leigh Limited.

The years between the wars are often regarded as the company's "golden age", with a number of extremely talented designers and artists such as Harold Bennett, Charles Wilkes and Ernest Baily. Perhaps the best known was Charlotte Rhead, who worked here between 1926 and 1931, noted particularly for her work in tubelining. By 1939, the factory was employing over 500 people.

The business took great pains, from as early as 1897, to build up a thriving export network, concentrating primarily on the Empire (later Commonwealth) and American markets, but focussing later also on Europe.

After a run of financial difficulty the company was sold in 1999 to the Dorling family, Rosemary and William Dorling, and traded as Burgess Dorling & Leigh. The company specialised in traditionally shaped and patterned domestic earthenware of high quality. In 2010 it was acquired by Denby Holdings ltd, the parent company of the Denby Pottery.

Teapot, 1896, Burgess & Leigh, V&A Museum no. C.277&A-1983



  1. ^ [1] Listed buildings in SOT


  • Mckeown, Julie, 2003. "Burleigh: The Story of a Pottery". Richard Dennis. ISBN 0-903685-80-9

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