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About Shaws Terra Cotta

The story began in 1897 in Whitebirk, Blackburn.

Hathern letterhead

The founder, Aurthur Gerard Shaw, having recognised the growing demand for architectural ceramics, began manufacturing utilising the rich clay deposits unearthed at his father’s coal mines at Belthorn and Waterside. Originally known as the Shaws Glazed Brick Company, production soon developed to encompass terracotta and faience. So successful was this venture that in 1908 a new factory was built adjacent to the mines at Waterside.

The company continued to make progress until the outbreak of war in 1914. To keep work alive acid ware and ceramic conductors were made for the government. During this time Arthur Gerald invented and patented a system of burning clayware by gas and by 1919 had formed The Shaws Gas Kiln Company, building and installing kilns throughout Great Britain, Europe and America.Shaws Terra Cotta 1932 brochure

The years between the wars saw a tremendous growth in demand, with architects of the day realising the material’s excellence in both design versatility and durability. High Streets throughout the country were soon embellished with complete elevations of Shaws faience.

By 1924 Fireclay Sanitaryware had been introduced and Shaws had become Darwen’s largest employer with up to 600 staff at the present 26 acre Waterside site.

1951 saw the unfortunate death of Arthur Gerald, but the company – unlike any others in the industry – continued to prosper by anticipating the changing architectural styles. Since then the company has continued to develop its manufacturing processes, product range, quality and customer relationships right through to the modern day

Shaws Terra Cotta Poster 1932