The business began in 1859 when fire clay was discovered in a coal mine owned by William Wilcox and John Lassey. In 1863 Lassey's share was bought by John Holroyd and the company then named Wilcox & Co.
In 1879, after a period of expansion, the firm made decorative bricks and tiles in orange or buff-coloured architectural terracotta, glazed bricks, and glazed terracotta (faience) . Architect Alfred Waterhouse used their materials in his Yorkshire College (1883) in Leeds.
In 1885 products were on sale in London, Paris and Montreal. By 1889 they had commissioned Maurice Bingham Adams to design stock items for their catalogue. Also in 1889 Wilcox & Co merged with other companies to found The Leeds Fireclay Co. Ltd. — the largest in the country.
The firm closed in 1957, at which time it comprised ninety kilns on 16 acres (65,000 m2) of land.
- Atlas House, King Street, Leeds
- County Arcade, Leeds (Matcham)
- Great Hall interior, University of Leeds, 1890-4, (Alfred Waterhouse)
- Michelin House, South Kensington, London
- London Road Fire Station
- Pevsner Architectural Guides - Leeds, Susan Wrathwell, 2005, ISBN 0-300-10736-6
- Burmatofts Pottery Shards
- BBC Leeds Local History Glazing over
- Understanding Terracotta
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