It is widely acknowledged that Henry Goss and his two sons, Adolphus and Victor were the first to hit upon the very lucrative idea of producing souvenirs carrying coats of arms. These ‘seaside souvenirs’ were an ideal product to make just as the expansion of the railways and the introduction of the bank holiday had greatly
increased people’s travel. The day-trip was now becoming popular.
W. H. Goss & Co first produced crested ware in 1888 from their “Falcon Works” pottery in Stoke-on-Trent. A typical piece of Goss crested ware had a white, creamy glaze and a coloured transfer of a coat of arms. A genuine Goss has a printed mark, featuring an image of a falcon above the name “W. H. GOSS.” Hundreds of different pieces were made from traditional vases to top hats, clogs and tiny kettles.
The success of their heraldic china souvenir business was huge, with large scale production needed to meet high demand. It is believed that by 1910, approximately 90% of homes had a piece of Goss crested ware adorning their mantelpiece or sideboard. Adolphus Goss built up a huge network of Goss agents across the country to market and sell their crested ware. It began with the up-and-coming seaside resorts, but very quickly every town and city had its arms produced on Goss china ready for the tourist trade.
Other potteries such as Carlton, Grafton and Shelley didn’t take long to realise the potential sales in this area and launched their own ranges of crested ware. However, after the First World War tastes changed and interest
Senior Valuer Michael Dowse
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