Royal Grafton China 1876 – 2007

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.

grafton gloria 2The 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.Marina

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.

Royal GraftonIn 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.

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3 Responses to Royal Grafton China 1876 – 2007

  1. Cam says:

    Thank you you so much for the Vintage Royal Porcelain collection, limited edition. Sofia style bone china tea cup and saucer set. Lovely, and elegant. When I drink my tea, I will think of your store. Kind regards.

    • jim thomasson says:

      Thanks so much for coming to our store and giving us the opportunity to serve you. please come back any time!

  2. Tony Boulton says:

    Hello Jim – I read your piece about Royal Grafton. I worked there from 1981 to 1992 and was a partner in the management buyout in 1985.

    You suggest that Royal Grafton China ceased trading in 1972, which is incorrect. After Crown Lynn NZ became involved the company continued trading as Crown Lynn Ceramics UK Ltd., but the main production was still Royal Grafton. I was recruited in 1981 as Marketing Manager, to take the business forward. We did so successfully until Crown Lynn (Ceramco NZ as it became) ran out of money to fund modernization of the factory. They sold it to a consortium of which I became a small part. Sadly, we too lacked capital resources despite significant growth in our export business and exciting new award winning designs. the factory was old and needed input. Tams came along and offered a deal. Then they pulled out at s critical moment and the bank threatened to close us down. We had to accept an offer of £1 per shareholder and they took over. Days later they told me they didn’t need a Marketing Director. History suggests otherwise, but I left and started my own business.

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