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The Business of Middleman in the English Pottery Trade before 1780 LORNA WEATHERILL

This was a time of rapid expansion for the pottery industry and changes in consumer behaviour throughout these years had resulted in wider markets and a powerful demand for both earthenware and china from all parts of the country. Changes on the production side, in the technology, organisation and location of the industry, had resulted in very rapidly increasing production, especially in the late seventeenth century and after about 1750. In the 1680s the workforce was under a thousand, by the 1720s it had increased to about 1,500. By 1780 it was about 5,500 of which 4,000 were in the largest centre of production in North Staffordshire and a further thousand in several other centres in the north of England. Imports of oriental chinaware, amounting to between one and two million pieces a year, were also landed in London and initially sold at the East India Company’s auctions there.4