Royal Grafton Fine Bone China was founded in 1876 in Staffordshire, England by Alfred Bailey Jones. Mr. Jones began his career as a pottery decorator and seller most likely at the Eagle Works in Station Square, Longton.
Then in 1900 the Grafton Works was built on Malborough Road (off Wood Street) in Longton, Stoke-On-Trent, England. The works took its name from the adjacent Grafton Junior and Infants School which opened in 1892. The Grafton pottery works was built on the opposite side of Marlborough Road from the school. Alfred Bailey Jones was joined in business by his two sons A. B. Jones and W. B. Jones in 1900 and formed the company A.B. Jones and Sons Ltd.
The Jones family went on to use the trade name “Grafton”. Grafton China then became Royal Grafton after being given a royal warrant by Queen Mary. Royal Warrants are a mark of recognition to individuals or companies who have supplied goods or services for at least five years. Warrants have always been regarded as demonstrating excellence and quality, and are highly prized.
In 1905 A B Jones was elected as the mayor of Longton and served until 1906 . In fact he was the last mayor of Longton before the pottery towns were federated which then gave rise to a Lord Mayor of Stoke on Trent
In 1940 the father, A.B. Jones Sr. passed away and the business continued under the management of A. B. Jones Jr. until his death in 1956. After his death his son, Alfred Leslie Jones managed the business.
By 1966 the family decided they had had enough of the business and when approached by Crown House Glass Ltd. they decided to sell. After the sale Crown House continued to trade under the A. B. Jones & Sons name. Crown House Tableware also owned Dema glass, Denby, Edinburgh Crystal & Thomas Webb Crystal.
In 1971 the business was sold to the New Zealand based Crown Lynn Potteries Ltd. and renamed Crown Lynn Ceramics (UK) Ltd. By 1972 Royal Grafton fine bone china ceased trading. Then in 1985 there was a management buyout and the name was changed to Royal Grafton China Ltd.
Seven years later John Tams acquired Royal Grafton China Ltd. in 1992and used this purchase as an entry into bone china manufacturing under the names ‘Royal Grafton’ and ‘Grafton Living’. Eight years later in 2000 poor management sent John Tams Group PLC into receivership and following a management buyout continued as Tam Group Ltd. using the brands ‘Tams’ ‘Royal Grafton’ and ‘Grafton Living’. These trade names went on to become part of the Tams China group (est 1874) which also went on to fail resulting in the sale of the modern industrial unit in Longton Staffordshire, in January 2007.
It’s a shame to see an enterprise such as this end with a whimper after a century of business. Royal Grafton never seemed to reach their stride after the war and finally succumbed to the flooding of cheap Asian goods into the marketplace.
Below are many examples of Royal Grafton China being sold on ebay. These are live auctions and sales so they may change over time. Also, below are many of the vintage bone china products we have to offer. Finally I would like to acknowledge the websites listed below that helped as I researched this article. Please take a moment and see the information they have to offer.
Thanks for taking the time to read the article. I am learning more and more as time goes on about vintage china and porcelain and plan to write about the information that I find. If you have anything you care to share about fine English China I would love to hear it.