An unexpected purchase has taken me on something of a hidden history lesson.
The pictured “Majestic” dinner service was acquired as part of a larger lot at a local auction. Consequently I didn’t know anything about it. However, whilst preparing to try and sell it on eBay, I did a little research and managed to find a few references to the manufacturer, The Empire Porcelain Company. It’s amazing what you can discover on the interweb.
It transpires that the Empire Porcelain Company had been around since 1895 with works in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, England. There were actually three factories operating side by side.
The Empire Porcelain Co Ltd was an important producer of domestic and ornamental earthenware and china for the middle of the market. In the late-1920s and 1930s the company produced interesting art deco-style tablewares and notable art deco ornamental wares decorated using the drip glaze technique. Chinz-decorated wares were produced in the 1940 and 1950s.From Pottery Histories
The pieces that I have are all dated in the 1950’s, as evidenced by the makers marks on the underside, so they are all around seventy years old.
The letter B apparently indicates that the dishes were produced under the Wartime Concentration Scheme
The Second World War proved a particularly difficult period for the British pottery industry because severe restrictions were placed on the production of decorated pottery. Production was concentrated in a reduced number of factories in order to save materials, energy and labour as these were needed elsewhere for the war.Pottery Histories
So there is no sentimental value to the dinner service, well not for me. But the history “behind the glaze” is interesting. Even down to the company being bought by a lawn mower manufacturer. Who would have thought they would have an interest in a pottery company.
Sadly, because the works were difficult to modernise, the Empire Porcelain Company was closed in 1967.