The Pilkington Archive

Scope and Content

The archive consists of the business records of Pilkington's, 1891 to 2010, including: Registers of Shareholders, Registers of Directors, some Deeds and Indentures, Factory building costs, Design Books, original Tile Designs and pounces, Photographs, Glass Negatives, Training films, Correspondence, Salary & Wages Books listing employees, Day Books, Minute Books, Stock Books, New Work Books and Expenses Books. Books and correspondence relating to tile production in the 1950's including receipts and invoices for materials, equipment, building work etc. A unique collection of over 20 scientific notebooks detail over 16,000 experiments of how glazes were made and applied. There are also letters between the owners and the Burtons concerning the setting-up of the factory and letters from Lewis F. Day regarding his designs for Pilkington's.

Administrative / Biographical History

Pilkington's Tile and Pottery Company was established in Clifton, Salford in 1891. An accidental discovery of clay during coal mining engineering prompted the Pilkington family to employ William Burton as manager. Burton was a chemist from Wedgwood and designed the factory. This was an age of great technical and scientific advancement and production of tiles began in 1893. About five years later production of its Lancastrian pottery commenced. This went on to become world famous, selling at Liberty's of London Tiffany's of New York, culminating in the award of the Royal Warrant in 1913, after which the pottery became known as Royal Lancastrian. Pilkington's became a major employer and also employed prestigious designers and artists for their pottery, tiles and tile murals. The company went into administration and ceased trading in 2010.

Access Information

Contact Salford City Archive or the Pilkington's Lancastrian Pottery Society for item level descriptions. Access via appointment only.

Other Finding Aids

A comprehensive item level list of the collection is available from the Salford City Archive or the Pilkington's Lancastrian Pottery Society

Custodial History

In 2010 the records were purchased at auction for the archive by the Friends of Salford Museum. The collection has been listed by Barry and Angela Corbett of the Pilkington's Lancastrian Pottery Society

Related Material

Salford City Archive also holds the Mycock collection (U26). William Salter Mycock a designer who worked for Pilkington's from 1894 until 1900. Catalogue available via the National Archives

Corporate Names

Geographical Names