Introduction

The digitisation of archive material in relation to the history of the Etruria Factory represents a second phase of work made possible through the generous support of English Heritage and the dedicated work of volunteers. The goal is open to up swathes of the museums manuscript archive, making it publicly accessible on the Wedgwood museum’s website. Following in the footsteps of the Barlaston Factory Archive project, the Wedgwood Museum has chosen to tell the story of the Wedgwood Company's famous Etruria Factory. The new Etruria Factory Archive section will explore the conception and initial evolution of Josiah I's Etruria Factory.

The museum's manuscript archive consists of four major collections, the oldest being the 'Etruria Collection' which consists of a large number of Josiah I's personal correspondence. The second, referred to as the 'Liverpool Collection', was originally purchased by Joseph Mayer, the Liverpool antiquarian, after having been disposed of by the Wedgwood Company on the death of Josiah Wedgwood II in 1843. Upon Mayer’s death this collection was bequeathed to Liverpool Museum where they remained until being exchanged for twenty-five pieces of Wedgwood ware from the Etruria Museum in 1924. The third, the 'Mosely Collection', takes its name from Mrs William Mosely, a great-great-granddaughter of Josiah Wedgwood, who donated the material. The Mosley collection contains mostly Wedgwood family correspondance dating to the late 18th and 19th centuries. The fourth, known as the 'Barlaston Collection', is a diverse accumulation of factory records dating from the 1930s to the 1950s.

As with Barlaston Factory Archive project the emphasis is on digitising manuscript material relevant to the construction of the factory itself. However, unlike the Barlaston Factory Archive project, the material relevant to the Etruria Factory comes from across the archive collections. Much of the information concerning the early years of the factory is gleaned from Josiah Wedgwood's own personal letters*. In addition to Josiah’s own words are the letters of his family and friends which offer an insight into the Etruria Factory and Estate as it was being built. A wide range of maps, artists sketches and painting from across the 18th and 19th centuries give an insight into the layout of the factory as it evolved and changed.

Only one small section (the round house) of the once famous Etruria Factory still stands on the original site in Stoke-on-Trent. Those with any firsthand experience of the site are few and far between as production had ceased completely at the site by the end of the Second World War. For over 170 years the Etruria Factory was the beating heart of the Wedgwood Company. The Etruria Factory Archive project has taken its first steps toward bringing the history of the factory to life. Content will be continuously added to this section so be sure to check back on a regular basis for the latest updates. 

*Please note that the digitised content contained within the archive chapters consists of the original, handwritten, letters. In addition to the originals we have chosen to scan typed transcripts (where available) of these letters which will enable for easier reading. If you wish to view these transcripts we request that you use the 'Search the Archive Collections Online'. Simply enter a keyword(s) and/or document number (eg. E25-18237) into the search function and the original letter and its equivilent typed transcript will appear.