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Josiah Spode II: Stoke-upon-Trent

spode IIHis father’s will, hastily drawn up and signed on his deathbed, required Josiah Spode II to consider whether he should take on the responsibility of the Stoke-upon-Trent pottery, and thus leave his own business in London. The will, dated August 18, 1797,  requested that Spode II direct the pottery for two years for the benefit of all the surviving siblings.  His father left separate provisions for his mother.  At the end of the two years the siblings would receive equal portions of the assets. Options to buy the pottery from the estate went first to Josiah Spode II and then to Samuel Spode.  If Spode II took the pottery, then he had to sell his own Foley Pottery to Samuel. It seems likely Spode II acquired the Foley Pottery through his wife Elizabeth, daughter of the former owner Thomas Barker.  This condition deliberately allowed both sons the opportunity to own a pottery factory.

While leaving the bustling metropolis of central London for the rural/industrial midlands might have given many men pause for thought, Josiah seemed quick to honor his father’s wishes. It was 1797 and Spode II was a widower with three teenage daughters and two adult sons.  His oldest son, William, was with his father in the London business. The younger boy Josiah Spode III had lived with his grandfather Spode I, who was training him to be a master potter.   Spode II had strong ties to family and friends in Staffordshire and the neighboring country gentry could supply suitable husbands for all of his daughters.

Josiah Spode II decided to return to his home town and take on his father’s factory.  He left  his retail warehouse knowing its future was secure in William Copeland's steady hands.  On joining his younger son in Stoke, Spode II brought with him his experience of the London market and his acquaintance with the most fashionable customers. He did not hesitate to apply his marketing expertise to Spode factory productions.

smithfield mkt London
From cosmopolitan London
with its Smithfield market
The parish of Stoke-upon-Trent
and its Town Hall market.
Stoke town hall