Doulton at War (1939-45) – A brief account of the damage at both the Burslem and Lambeth factories

Much is documented about the wares produced by Doulton during this period as much of what was produced is so very rare that only one or two examples of items exist to this day.

However, very little has been documented about what actually happened at the Burslem and Lambeth factories at this time. Naturally there was a shortage of raw materials that had a major impact on production, but also the calling up of employees from both factories must have almost halted production of most wares, save utilitarian items needed for the war effort.

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Damage to the Burslem warehouse October 1940

The war came early to the Burslem factory, when in October 1940 a three-storey warehouse housing finished goods and also the Art Director’s studios were bombed. Here you can see a couple of pictures of the debris it left behind. Try as I might the only things I can pin point are a Limited Edition Jug and what is probably some Flambé ware.

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A further view of the damage cause to the warehouse at Burslem in 1940

At Lambeth too, the factory sustained damage as did many of their employees’ homes. In May 1941 the Lambeth showrooms took a direct hit and were destroyed but fortunately there was no loss of life at that point. In typical Doulton form for the company at this time, financial assistance was provided to employees suffering from war damage to their homes.

Whilst the above is merely a snap-shot of events during the war-years, it allows us to share these unique pictures from the time.

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