Francis Hamilton Wedgwood (Frank) (1867-1930)

Eldest son of Clement, Frank (known as 'Major Frank') was educated at Mannheim and at Trinity College, Cambridge, before becoming a partner in the family firm in 1889 following his father's early death. In 1902, Frank married Gwendoline. He succeeded Cecil as Company Chairman in 1916 and oversaw the installation of gas-fired tunnel ovens and the construction of new decorating workshops at Etruria. His foresight and prudence laid the foundations of Wedgwood's later prosperity.

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 had a crippling effect on the pottery industry. A large portion of Wedgwood’s most expensive output, usually exported to America, was no longer wanted. Cutbacks were made at the factory and yet Frank, capitalising on the fact that 1930 was the bicentenary of the founder, Josiah Wedgwood, was determined that the anniversary should be marked in as many ways, as far afield as possible. Exhibitions were held, competitions to choose commemorative pieces were advertised, ceramicists came from all over Europe for conferences, and a ball was held at London's Park Lane Hotel. However, the crowning glory was a week-long pageant, performed by the Wedgwood family and the factory’s employees at Hanley Park. Tracing the history of the Potteries from the Romans through to the present day, the spectacle even attracted the company and the praise of Sir George Bernard Shaw. It was Frank's intention that the celebrations marking the birth of the founder would attract attention to the entire North Staffordshire pottery industry and therefore increase orders. Sadly, despite all Frank's endeavours, a financial loss was incurred. He died suddenly at Euston in October 1930, on his way to a business meeting in Brussels.

Images

Francis Hamilton Wedgwood, © Wedgwood Museum

Francis Hamilton Wedgwood
© Wedgwood Museum