Exporting Stoke & Beyond Conference 2011

Exporting Stoke and Beyond
was a one-day conference organised by the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society held at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday 12 November 2011.

Dunedin Railway Station, New Zealand (faience by Doulton’s)

During the mid 19th century Britain was not only the world’s leading imperial power, but was also its foremost exporter of architectural ceramics. The expansion of British territories led to the construction of many public and ecclesiastical buildings displaying the best of British design in ceramic terms.

The conference drew its inspiration from this export of British design and culture, and saught to explore its consequences for the manufacturing industries of Stoke and beyond, for Britain, and for the former Empire.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Graham McLaren, Bath School of Art and Design, Bath Spa University. Graham McLaren is an historian of art and design, specialising in the history of ceramics and glass. His current research will result in a substantial text to be published by Manchester University Press entitled The Culture of Ceramics. It considers the significance and impact of ceramics on Western culture and attempts to place the material in its social and cultural context.

Mario Baeck MLitt, tile historian, author and expert on north European tiles. Mario Baeck will focus on European reaction to the introduction of new tile manufacturing technology in England, and on the role of international exhibitions in publicising the use of tiles during the late 19th century. He is currently undertaking research for a PhD and his published work includes The Industrial Tile in Belgium, in the 2004 exhibition catalogue Industrial Tiles 1840-1940 (Nederlands Tegelmuseum).

Dr Lynn Pearson, author of the TACS Tile Gazetteer: A Guide to British Tile and Architectural Ceramics Locations (Richard Dennis, 2005). Lynn Pearson will talk about where and how British-made tiles and architectural ceramics were used abroad, where they may still be seen, and the problems faced – and overcome – by British firms attempting to export their wares around the world in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Conference Programme

Session One: Made at home, built abroad

Chaired by Tony Herbert, author of The Decorative Tile in Architecture and Interiors, and founder member of TACS.

Dr Lynn Pearson

Way Beyond Burslem: A journey through British-made ceramic locations abroad: Paper

Barry Corbett

Pilkington’s Tiles – Exporting Beauty from Lancashire: Exhibitions and Export Market, 1893-1938: Paper

Amy Smith

Reports on her travels in the USA during summer 2011 on a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship researching the use of architectural terracotta: Abstract.

David Malkin

Retiling the floors of the world: 60 years of exporting tiles

Session Two: Design and technology transfer within Europe

Chaired by Dr Alan Swale, lecturer, ceramic designer and historian, and former TACS Chair.

Mario Baeck

‘We can equal more cheaply‘: German, Belgian and French interest in English industrial tiles and tile technology during the nineteenth century: Abstract

Hans van Lemmen

The influence of Stoke tile technology and design on Portuguese and Spanish tiles: Abstract, Slides

Johan Kamermans

Gothic Revival tiles in Dutch architecture: Abstract

Session Three: The cultural context of the ceramic export trade

Chaired by Penny Beckett, TACS Chair and former Editor of the TACS magazine Glazed Expressions.

Dr Graham McLaren

Manners, Morals and the Modern: Exporting Ideas and Publishing British Tiles in the Late Nineteenth Century: Abstract

Professor Chantal Zheng

The Japanese ‘Victorian tiles’: A synthesis of East and West savoir-faire: Paper , Slides

Chris Blanchett

Japanese Copies of British Tiles from the 1920s and 1930s. Abstract , Images

During the lunch break delegates had an exciting opportunity to use a live link to see and find out more about the unique Minton Tile Ceiling at Bethesda Terrace in New York’s Central Park – a unique and much-loved Stoke-on-Trent export from the 1860s (courtesy of Danny Callaghan and partners).



In the latest London style: Decorative tile and terracotta exports by British manufacturers, 1840-1940 by Lynn Pearson, a paper given at the 2006 Congress on Construction History

PDF version (of the text only) of a paper by Lynn Pearson published in the Journal of the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society, 2005, volume 11, pp27-32 entitled ‘Decorative Tile and Terracotta Exports by British Manufacturers, 1840-1940’.

Bibliography of material relating to British exports of tiles and terracotta


Preserving Historic Ceramic Tile Floors – from the US Department of the Interior, National Park Service

Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne – Minton floor in the vestibule