History of Denby
The Denby Pottery factory was founded by the Bourne Family in the early 1800’s.
The site where the factory was located had plenty of excellent clay, was near a coalmine and had a good supply of running water. It was well placed for road and rail links and the area had an already skilled workforce.
Denby’s initial production was salt glazed stoneware bottles. Gradually more ornate items were produced and was described as Decorative Ware.
During the late 1800’s Denby thrived under the Bourne management led by Sarah Elizabeth Bourne. During this time kitchen and tableware were being introduced.
In the early 1900’s, Denby was managed by Joseph Bourne Wheeler and John Topham who both expected high standards from the workers. During this time Albert Colledge joined Denby as a caster. Denby continued its production of bottles and containers, which were used in the home and for many trades and industries. Denby survived the setbacks of the First World War and continued to make good progress.
In 1926 Denby introduced Cottage Blue Ware. This was a range of tableware and cookware, which still remains one of their most popular patterns. Another turning point was the development of the “Nevva Drip Teapot”. Produced in 1922 it was said to have a faultless pouring spout. It became a huge success and was used on many Teapots subsequently.
In the 1930’s, Norman Wood took control and regardless of the Depression moved Denby forward. Many new designers joined the company. Donald Gilbert, Austrian Alice Teichtner and Albert Colledge’s son Glyn were just some of the designers who really made a mark on the success of Denby. Donald Gilbert in particular designed the still popular Manor Green in 1938. He, along with Albert Colledge and Alice Teichtner also produced many animals and birds. These have become very collectable.
Albert and his son Glyn Colledge continued to introduce many decorative items throughout their time at Denby. They were both famous for their individual designs, in particular Glyn Ware and Glyndebourne.
After the Second World War in 1953 the production of Cottage Blue and Manor Green was restarted and a new colour was introduced, Homestead Brown. Albert and Glyn Colledge produced Flair, Peasant Ware, Dovedale and in 1956 the famous Greenwheat.
In 1960 a new designer was bought on board Gill Pemberton who developed Denby Chevron in 1961 and Denby Arabesque in 1962. During this time Glyn Colledge also came up with some new designs namely Studio, Ode, Echo and Shamrock.
Gill Pemberton, although working for Denby, worked from the Langley Pottery. During this time she produced four designs Mayflower, Sherwood, Canterbury and Chatsworth. They were initially launched under the Langley banner until Denby took over the Langley Factory.
Working together as a team Gill and Glyn continued to produce new ranges. Firstly we had Kismet and Bokara Cluster, then in the early 70’s they produced Gypsy, Troubadour Minstral and Romany.
Designer David Yorath in 1973 designed Potters Wheel another popular pattern. Also during this time Gill Pemberton designed the Renaissance Collection for the American Market. This included Castile, Seville, Venice and three pattrened designs Avignon, Lorraine and Verona.
Various collections where introduced in the late 1970’s and the early 80’s. Amongst the many there was the popular Sherwood Collection which included Denby Daybreak and Encore.
In the late 1980’s Coloroll took over the company. They also introduced some new ranges and continued with the popular Sherwood ranges. They introduced to the Sherwood range Imperial Blue, Colonial Blue and Regency Green which were plain colours reflecting the original Manor Green and Cottage Blue.
Sadly the Coloroll relationship hit problems and the Denby Board of Management organised a Management Buy-Out, which became final in July 1990. The management buy-out was a great success and the company was floated on the stockmarket in 1994.
During the 1990’s and 2000 onwards Denby thrived and launched many very popular patterns. Some of these are the sought after Marrakesh and Baroque.
Today Denby continues to move with the times and still has a large range of versatile and practical products.