• Find out how the First World War had an impact on Wedgwood, both as a company and as a family.

Wedgwood and the First World War

  • by Jordan Muncaster

Photograph of Cecil Wedgwood DSO

Theme

Cecil Wedgwood (28th March 1863-3rd July 1916) was a partner in the pottery firm. The only son of Godfrey Wedgwood, he later became Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent. At first, Cecil wanted to be involved in the company. After hearing that his father was not making it into the works as often, he told his stepmother that it would be "better" for him to leave Cambridge and come to work at the works. At the age of 24, Cecil announced that he was engaged to Lucie Gibson. However, a bad time for the company in 1887 led to Cecil saying that he was prepared to postpone his marriage until business improved. He eventually got married a year later on the 18th July 1888.

In 1891, Cecil and Francis Wedgwood, Cecil's nephew, became equal partners. In 1895, the family agreed to being incorporated as Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Ltd. The number of shareholders were limited to 50. The family was proud to have had Cecil, Francis and also Kennard Wedgwood serve as officers in the Boer War.

Cecil was educated at the Clifton College and was made chairman of the North Staffs Chamber of Commerce in 1906. He was also made chairman of the Committee for Federating the Potters Town in 1907, as well as councillor for Hanley in the same year. He also served as a major of the 4th North Staffordshire Militia in the Boer War and received a DSO (Distinguished Service Order) in 1902. Cecil and Francis left on active service in the First World War in 1914. While Francis was sent out on recruiting duties, Cecil began to train troops to prepare them for when they were sent to the front line.

After raising the 7th and 8th Battalions, and despite being in his mid-50s, Cecil was sent out to the front line, and was sadly killed at the Battle of the Somme on the 3rd July 1916. Although he was buried in France, 400 employees attended a memorial service in his honour at St. Peter's in Stoke.

Catalogue

Picture of Cecil