William Duesbury (1725 – 1786), the famous Georgian porcelain factory owner who co-founded Royal Crown Derby, has been honoured with a Blue Plaque today (Friday 18 October) at the site of his former factory on Fox Street – now Landau Forte College – and an unveiling of some of the china he made during his lifetime.
Duesbury, who established the Derby Porcelain factory on Fox Street in about 1750 and went on to gain international renown for high quality porcelain china with potter and jeweller Andrew Planche, has been recognised with the official unveiling of the Blue Plaque by the Mayor of Derby, Councillor Fareed Hussain, the CEO of Royal Crown Derby, Kevin Oakes, the Chair of Governors at Landau Forte College, Keith Doble, and the Chair of Derby Civic Society, David Ling. Royal Crown Derby’s curator, Jacqueline Smith, marked the occasion by allowing Landau Forte students to view two rare pieces from Duesbury’s time: a figure group of a man and a woman representing autumn from a set of The Seasons (c.1765) and a bowl with a lilac border, green swags and a flower to the inside (c. 1775).
This will be the sixth of about 20 plaques that Derby City Council will erect this year and next year, having formed a partnership with Derby Civic Society to establish Blue Plaques across Derby to celebrate famous people who have strong links with the city. Blue Plaques are traditionally erected on a building or a site to mark the connection between that location and a famous person or event. The Council and Derby Civic Society asked local people to suggest who could be honoured with a Blue Plaque in the city. They needed to be people who had been dead for more than 20 years and had a long-lasting effect on the city and beyond, and who had a clear link to a building or site in Derby. William Duesbury was one of those suggested for the honour.
David Ling, Chair of the Derby Civic Society, said: “William Duesbury is a worthy recipient of a Derby Blue Plaque; he was an important enameller, a British entrepreneur, and founder of Royal Crown Derby. Duesbury arrived in Derby with his father on January 1st 1756 having acquired a share in the Derby Potworks on Cockpit Hill. In 1773 Duesbury’s hard work was rewarded by King George III who, after visiting the Derby works, granted him permission to incorporate the royal crown into the Derby back stamp after which the company was known as Royal Crown Derby. Duesbury died of a heart attack in 1786 at the age of 61, and is buried in St Alkmund’s Church, Derby. We are all looking forward to the unveiling of this very special Blue Plaque at Landau Forte College on the site of Duesbury’s factory.”
Kevin Oakes, Chief Executive of Royal Crown Derby, said: “William Duesbury was both visionary and entrepreneurial and it is fitting that he be remembered by the city in this way. I feel very privileged to be the custodian of the iconic Royal Crown Derby brand almost two hundred and sixty years on.”
Keith Doble, Chair of Governors at Landau Forte College, said: “Landau Forte College are proud to host the William Duesbury Blue Plaque. William Duesbury was a leading 18th Century entrepreneur, industrialist, and technologist. The College was established to bring together the worlds of business, industry and education in a uniquely productive partnership to secure the highest quality education for young people. The plaque will provide an appropriate link between the past and the present for a College that specialises in today’s technologies and business enterprise.”
Councillor Asaf Afzal, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Environment and Public Protection, said: “We are delighted to celebrate this early factory owner, who laid the foundations for one of the city’s most famous and important employers. This will be the sixth Blue Plaque that the Council and Derby Civic Society have erected so far this year, to honour and remember the amazing citizens who have gone before us and made Derby the great city that it is today. The plaques are a wonderful, visual way to show people across the city and beyond that we have much to be proud of in Derby.”
The image that accompanies this article shows (left to right):
- David Ling, Chair of Derby Civic Society
- Keith Doble, Chair of Governors at Landau Forte College Derby
- Kevin Oakes, the CEO of Royal Crown Derby
- The Mayor of Derby, Councillor Fareed Hussain
- Councillor Martin Repton, Derby City Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture
- Liz Coffey, Principal of Landau Forte College Derby