The Warrillow Collection

Scope and Content

The Warrillow collection at Keele comprises over 1800 photographs of the Potteries area dating from the 1870s to the 1970s. The majority were taken by Warrillow himself and graphically record the changing landscape and people of the Potteries. The photos cover all aspects of life in and around Staffordshire and include images of factories, works,the mining industry, roads, buildings, churches, and other structures.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ernest James Dalzell Warrillow was born in Etruria in 1909. He bought his first camera in 1920. He successfully photographed King George V, Queen Mary and the Prince of Wales when they visited Stoke-on-Trent in 1925, and joined the Sentinelnewspaper group as a junior press photographer in 1927 working for the group until his retirement in 1974. His working life was spent recording the changing landscape and people of the potteries. Warrillow also collected old photographs and engravings of the Potteries. His first book, History of Etruria was published in 1950, followed 10 years later by A sociological History of Stoke-on-Trent. In 1967 he published Arnold Bennett and Stoke-on-Trent to mark the centenary of the novelist's birth. Warrillow also contributed articles to various photographic and historical magazines, and was awarded the M.B.E. in 1964 for service to the City of Stoke-on-Trent. Warrillow also wrote 80 short stories for children published as The Candle of Dreams. Warrillow qualified as an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society in 1933, was elected an Associate of the Royal Historical Society in 1948, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Antiquaries in 1950. He was also an Honorary Life Member of the Wedgwood Club of America (1954), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Fellow of the Ancient Monuments Society and one time County secretary (1956), and an Honorary member of the Stoke Cinematography Society. In 1975. he was made an Honorary Life Member of the National Union of Journalists, and in 1976, elected a Member of the Royal Society of Literature and made an Honorary Life Assiciate of the Royal Photographic Society. He died in January 2000.

Reference: Finding aid for the Warrillow Collection


The photographs are in 30 volumes and are arranged alphabetically by place name, person or subject within.

Access Information

There are no restrictions on access to these papers. Viewing is by prior appointment.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited in 1981 by Ernest Warrillow.

Other Finding Aids

There is an A-Z index of the photos which can be consulted at Special Collections and Archives, Keele University.

An authority record exists for Ernest Warrillow (GB 152 AAR1994).

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

Other collections held at Special Collections and Archives, Keele University and relating to the Potteries include the Spode Papers (GB 172 AAR SP). Special Collections and Archives, Keele University also holds other collections relating to mining. These include the papers of the Goldendale Iron Company Ltd, pig iron manufacturers, Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent (GB 172 GD), the William Jack Collection (GB 172 WJ) and the Sneyd Papers (GB 172 S).


Works using this material

Reference: Bailey, S., More Memories of Stoke-on-Trent (True North Books. 2000).

Reference: Warrillow, E. J. D., A Sociological History of Stoke-on-Trent (Newcastle, Staffordshire. Ironmarket Press. 1977).

Reference: Buxton. David., Staffordshire of One Hundred Years Ago (Stroud. A. Sutton. 1993 ).