Old English Staffordshire pottery is antique earthenware from the Staffordshire region in central England. The Staffordshire ceramics that most collectors are familiar with today come from the 18th century when the bottle kilns of the region were used to craft fine dinnerware and fanciful figurines.
It's the geography of Staffordshire, and the thick layers of clay just below the surface of the ground, that has made it a center for slipware and other types of lead-glazed earthenware. The clay was so readily available that potters routinely dug clay directly out of the roads, thus giving us the origins of the phrase “pot hole.” Coal to fire the bottle kilns was also plentiful in the northern part of the district. Potter John Astbury is often credited with starting the popularity of Staffordhire pottery when he discovered that adding heated ground-flint powder to the local reddish clay could create a more palatable white- or cream-colored ware.
The railway distribution of pottery products from the 1840s was a boon for potters who wanted to sell their wares, and there was a considerable increase in business. Potteries active in the 19th century and are still active today include Aynsley, Burleigh, Doulton, Dudson, Minton, Moorcroft, Twyford and Wedgwood.