Josiah Wedgwood IV (1872-1943)

Son of Clement, Josiah (known as 'Jos') made his mark in politics rather than in the pottery business. A naval architect by profession, he served in the Boer War, and was later posted to Ermelo, South Africa as a resident magistrate. In 1894, he married Ethel Bowen and on his return to Staffordshire, built Moddershall Oaks for their family of seven children. The house was built after the style of a South African bungalow made of timber. Although quite isolated, it was within walking distance of other Wedgwood residences in Barlaston. In World War One Josiah was awarded the D.S.O. at Gallipoli, and in 1919, he became a Member of Parliament.

Josiah joined the Labour party in 1919 and continued to represent Newcastle-under-Lyme until 1942, when he was also made first Baron Wedgwood of Barlaston. Between 1921 and 1924 he was Vice Chairman of the Labour Party, and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the first Labour Cabinet. Josiah’s own views and his government contacts were to be of immense help to his son, Josiah Wedgwood V as he struggled to build a new factory in the midst of the many war-time restrictions. One trait shared by the Wedgwoods is the strong sense of responsibility towards those less fortunate and Josiah worked hard bringing over Jewish refugees from Europe before the outbreak of World War Two (sheltering them until they had alternative accommodation). He continued to support the Zionist cause and tribute is paid to him in Haifa and Jerusalem where there are streets named after him.

He was author of a history Staffordshire pottery (1913), and 'Memoirs of a Fighting Life' (1942).


Josiah Wedgwood IV, © Wedgwood Museum

Josiah Wedgwood IV
© Wedgwood Museum