Traditional fine bone china manufacturer Hudsons of England of Longton in Stoke-on-Trent met The Prince of Wales on June 24.
The company, which celebrates its 140th anniversary next year, was part of an exhibition organised by the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to demonstrate the depth and range of export activity from within Stoke-on-Trent.
The Prince of Wales visited the exhibition held at Middleport Pottery, to meet local business leaders, view their products and learn more about how each company has been supported by the UKTI to export overseas. Middleport Pottery is part of the Prince’s Regeneration Trust (PRT) and has benefited from a £9m investment project since 2011.
Hudsons of England showcased a selection of exclusive fine bone china designs from its 100% made in England Hudson and Middleton brand. It attended the exhibition along with other local successful export companies including Jan Constantine, Scabetti, Gaddum & Gaddum, Fun Furniture Collection and Ooh-AR.
Hudsons of England managing director Mike Shirley said: “It’s been a huge opportunity that we’re very grateful for. Everyone was extremely excited and proud to be involved. Our export market has flourished over the past few years and with recent investment we have high forecasts planned.The UKTI have been invaluable in their support and direction and we have formed a very strong working relationship.”
To tie in with the Royal visit, Annvita English Tea Company travelled from China to attend the exhibition. In late 2013 Hudsons of England gained significant investment from the Chinese tea room chain, resulting in improvements to its manufacturing facilities, job creation and, soon to be embarked upon, renovations to its Grade II listed building in Longton.
The latest export figures released by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs show that the West Midlands continues to be the top region for overseas growth, with the highest year-on-year percentage increase in exports in England. UKTI recently announced new statistics revealing that in the last 12 months, West Midlands firms secured overseas business worth £980 million over the next five years, with UKTI help.
The family-owned company is looking to expand by 100% over the next few years. Formerly Hudson and Middleton, it is one of the few remaining fine bone china manufacturers based in Stoke on Trent. Founded in 1875, the company is not only one of the oldest potteries in England, but also almost unique in still operating from its original Grade II listed building.