Biography of Josiah Spode

Portrait of Josiah Spode

Josiah Spode was an eighteenth century potter and industrialist.

When and Where was he Born?

8th May 1755, Lane Delph, Staffordshire.

Family Background:

Josiah Spode was the son of Josiah Spode the First and Ellen Finley. Born into family of five daughters and two sons


Free Grammar School, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.

Timeline of Josiah Spode:

1775: He marries Elizabeth Barker of Lane Delph, daughter of John Barker an apprentice of Thomas Whieldon a Master Potter on the 9th July.

1778: Spode joins the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (as there was no guild for potters at the time) on 11th March and was thus free to set up a pottery selling business at 29 Fore Street, London and to take on apprentices. The wares he sold there were not exclusively from his father’s factories in Staffordshire.

1782: Death of his wife of a fever.

1785: He moves to larger premises at 46 Fore Street, London.

1787: Josiah Spode finishes paying off the mortgage on his father’s factory, as business was good.

1788: He moves to 45 Fore Street, which was a property, twice the size of next door.

1790: He becomes a partner in a coal mining business (Fenton Park Colliery) with other Staffordshire potters.

1796: He moves to Portugal Street, London (Near Lincoln’s Inn) in a converted theatre.

1797: Death of his father Josiah Spode (the first) and became sole owner of the factory. Moved back to Staffordshire to live at Fenton Hall leaving the London business in the hands of his 21 year-old son William and his friend William Copeland who had worked with the family business for 32 years. William became so rich that he retired to become a member of the landed gentry, which was considered at the time nobler than being in trade.

1800: Spode begins to manufacture porcelain in quality in imitation of Sevres in France, which was better than Worcester, Derby or Coughley. With skillful marketing he made bone china a firmly established and desirable product.

1803: Spode starts building “The Mount” at Penkhull as a major house.

1806: The Spode factory is visited by the Prince of Wales and Spode was given the accolade of being Potter and Porcelain manufacturer to His Royal Highness.

1806: Introduction of the “Greek” pattern.

1811: Introduction of the “Blue Rome” Plate.

1816: Introduction of the first “Blue Italian Plates”.

1821: Introduction of the “Girl at the Well”.

When and Where did he Die?

16th July 1827, Penkhull, Staffordshire of natural causes.

Age at Death:



9th July 1775 to Elizabeth Barker of Lane Delph, Daughter of John Barker an apprentice of Thomas Whieldon a Master Potter. (Died 1782 of a fever).

Site of Grave:

Stoke Parish Church, Staffordshire.

Places of Interest:


Spode Factory and Museum, Church Street, Stoke-on-Trent.

Further Information:

Spode Museum Trust.