Wade Ceramics is a renowned British pottery manufacturer of porcelain known for its collectable figurines and distinctive ceramic products.
The company was established in 1867 in Burslem, England. Wade Ceramics originally comprised of several different companies founded by various members of the Wade family and was united as Wade Potteries Limited in 1958. The original companies were:
1. Wade & Myatt (later became George Wade & Son, which made industrial ceramics and Wade Whimsies). Established 1867.
2. John Wade & Co (later Wade Heath & Co, which made decorative ware, particularly Art Deco vases in the 1930s). Established 1867.
3. J & W Wade (later AJ Wade Ltd, which made tiles, notably the original tiles for the London Underground). Established 1891.
A.J. Wade (1866-1933)
George Wade 1864 - 1938
In 1905, George Wade & Son took over a rival company Henry Hallen. As the Hallen firm was owned by a distant relative and had been founded in 1810, Wade Ceramics and through this, claims to have been established in 1810. In the 1930s, Colonel Sir George Wade gained control of the Wade companies that had previously been run by his father and uncles.
In 1938 the “Wade Heath & Co Ltd.” Pottery was moved to a new location at the “Royal Victoria Pottery” in Westport Road, Burslem.
1947 saw the acquisition of a pottery in Northern Ireland, which in 1950 was named Wade (Ulster) Ltd. The Ulster Ware produced from the early 1950s to the 1980s have a variety of impressed or embossed “Wade Ireland” marks.
Wade Ceramics gained significant popularity in the 1950s with the introduction of the “Whimsies” series, which consisted of small animal figurines. These charming miniature figures became highly sought after by collectors worldwide. The Whimsies range included a wide variety of animals, such as dogs, cats, birds, farm animals and mythical creatures.
In 1958 the three English Wade Potteries were restructured under the name Wade Potteries Ltd., later renamed Wade PLC. Wade (Ulster) Ltd was renamed Wade Ireland Ltd. In 1966.
The Whimtrays were developed as a way of using up odd, leftover stock from the popular Whimsies. The first Whimtrays were officially announced in the January 1958 Wade Wholesalers Newsletter.
Another iconic product by Wade Ceramics is the “Red Rose Tea Wade Figurines”. These collectible ceramic animal figures were given away as promotional items in the Red Rose Tea boxes in Canada and the United States. They became incredibly popular and people collected entire sets of these miniature figures.
Wade Ceramics collaborated with numerous well-known brands and companies over the years, including Disney, Guinness, Coca-Cola and various sports organisations. They produced licensed merchandise such as character figures, mugs and other ceramic items featuring logos and designs.
Whimsey-on-Why is the name given to a mythical English village made up of a series of miniature houses and buildings found in a typical English village first issued in 1980. All models were marked “Wade England” on the base.
In 1984 Kellogg Salada Canada, began a “mail-in” offer for a series of premiums based upon 6 miniature houses from the popular “Whimsey-on-Why” village sets.
Sir George Wade (1891-1986)
Sadly, Sir George Wade died in 1986 at the age of 94, followed a year later in 1987, with the death of his innovative son, George Anthony (Tony) Wade of leukaemia, the long run of the Wade potteries with a family member at its helm came to an end. In 1989 the company was taken over by Beauford PLC and the pottery was renamed, Wade Ceramics Limited.
In 1990 a series of Victorian style lady figures was produced in Wade’s Royal Victoria Pottery. A grey transfer print backstamp was used.
In addition to figurines, Wade Ceramics also manufactured a wide range of other ceramic products, including commemorative items, vases, jugs, teapots and whiskey decanters.
Beauford PLC's pottery factories were taken over by a management buyout in 1999, becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Wade Allied Holdings Ltd. Edward Duke, former CEO of Beauford, became the major shareholder of Wade Allied Holdings and Chairman of Wade Ceramics. His partner Paul Farmer became Managing Director of Wade.
In 2009, Wade Allied Holdings invested in a new factory with the latest robotic manufacturing equipment to make ceramic flagons for the whisky industry.
Snoopy Whimsies 2005 – 2007 - Modeled by Cyril Roberts
The last Wade factory in Burslem was closed in 2010, and sold for a housing development. The original factory is still standing and has been derelict for 10 years, and has sadly been subject to vandalism and arson over the years.
As of 2011, Wade's Ceramics operates from Bessemer Drive in Etruria, Stoke-On-Trent. In November 2022, the company entered into administration citing the difficult UK economic conditions and rising energy prices for its operating difficulties. As of 2nd December 2022, Wade Ceramics entered into Administration with the termination of all employees.
The collectable nature of Wade Ceramic figurines and enduring popularity among collectors have made them highly valuable. Many collectors enjoy searching for rare and discontinued pieces to add to their collections.
Wade PopEye and Olive Oil & Sweet Pea