The 1940s - Rescued from uncertainty
The Ford B pottery had been state-of-the-art when it was built in the
1870s. By the late 1940s, it was more like an antique, and so were its
working practices. Many of the skilled workers never returned after the
war, and there was not enough time to train up new workers in the ways
of the pre-war era. And the pottery was still being run by trustees until
a buyer could be found.
Rescue for the pottery came in the form of Hoults - a Newcastle removals
firm. They were naturally interested in the geographical site - 14 acres
of land close to the city centre, where they could store furniture and
park their substantial fleet of vans. Fortunately, under the enlightened
leadership of the new Managing Director, Fred Hoult, the pottery business
also benefited. New electric kilns were bought, staff were sent to Staffordshire
to learn the 'modern' ways of manufacture, and vigorous attempts were
made to revive the crucial export market.
Pieces from the pre-war years were resurrected (a fact which makes dating
of Maling wares from around this time extremely difficult). An example
is the range of embossed plaques which had first appeared in the 1930s.
Many of these will be found to carry a stamped date which indicates that
they are 1940s productions, although the designs were first introduced
pre-war. 'Waved' designs continued to enjoy popular appeal.