Susie Cooper (1902-95)

Susan Vera Cooper was born on 29 October 1902 near to Burslem, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire. She left school in 1917 in order to assist the family business, but the following year enrolled for evening classes at the Burslem Art School. By 1919, with a scholarship, she commenced a full-time course at the School.

She began to work as a paintress with the Hanley-based pottery firm A E Gray and Company and by 1924 she became their resident designer. By the Autumn of 1929 she and her brother-in-law, Albert 'Jack' Beeson had founded a small factory in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent. With four thousand pounds raised largely from her own family, and with Jack as a partner, Susie Cooper left Gray's on her 27th birthday. Unfortunately the Wall Street crash of 1929 greatly affected industry in the Potteries, and in November (just three weeks after Susie Cooper and her partner had set up in business), the owner of the premises which had been leased to Susie was bankrupted. However, by early 1930, a new factory premises at the Chelsea Works was located, and the Susie Cooper business was well and truly founded.

She began to work as a paintress with the Hanley-based pottery firm A E Gray and Company and by 1924 she became their resident designer. By the Autumn of 1929 she and her brother-in-law, Albert 'Jack' Beeson had founded a small factory in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent. With four thousand pounds raised largely from her own family, and with Jack as a partner, Susie Cooper left Gray's on her 27th birthday. Unfortunately the Wall Street crash of 1929 greatly affected industry in the Potteries, and in November (just three weeks after Susie Cooper and her partner had set up in business), the owner of the premises which had been leased to Susie was bankrupted. However, by early 1930, a new factory premises at the Chelsea Works was located, and the Susie Cooper business was well and truly founded.

Images

Susie Cooper, © Wedgwood Museum

Susie Cooper
© Wedgwood Museum