Rising raw material and fuel costs have forced the collapse of historic Stoke-on-Trent firm Jesse Shirley.
The company, which was founded in 1820, is the oldest producer in the world of bone ash, used in the manufacture of pottery. Now, though, it is in the process of appointing administrators.
Explaining the decision, managing director Mike Shirley – who is a direct descendant of the company founder Jesse Shirley – said: “It’s mainly due to raw material shortages, a large increase in the cost of the raw material bone and fuel inflation, that we’ve been making losses over the last year.
“The board has had to look at the profits and revenue of the business, and the shareholders were unable to cover those losses. So the decision has been made to ask to go into administration. What has happened is very unfortunate, but I cannot do anything about it.”
All 34 staff, including Shirley, have been made redundant.
Jesse Shirley previously went into administration in January 2009 when trade was badly hit by the collapse of Wedgwood. However, it was saved by a group of its suppliers that formed a company called Hajco 377.
“There was definitely hope for the business after the previous administration in 2009,” Shirley said. “There was the right spirit and attitude from investors, and there was business out in China, but increasing costs of the raw material have forced this decision.”
He added: “This is the end of an era for the company and the family. I’m sorry for everyone concerned. The suppliers, operatives and managers have all been equally affected by this.”