Harvey Adams was born into a first generation Primitive Methodist family in Horton, North Staffordshire in 1835. It was the Harvey family originally of Outclough farm Norton, who had been very near neighbours of James and Hugh Bourne of nearby Bemersley. The Harvey girls traditionally called their eldest sons by the Christian name of their former surname, Harvey.
He was the son of a potter, and was to develop high class china manufacturing.He was brought up in Hanley where he became a member, and trustee till 1872 of the Bethesda Methodist New Connexion Chapel. He was one of the wealthy potters who supported the Cathedral of the Potteries. It was there that his parents, his wife, father in law became members and he was married there as one of the first marriages to be registered there.He developed the Harvey Adams and Co China company of Sutherland Road Longton, and he invented and developed the moustache cup. He retired from the business in 1885, having made his fortune. The firm was to become Hammersley & Co.In the 1860’s he had become treasurer and trustee of the Mt Tabor Methodist New Connexion Chapel Fenton.There he joined other Methodist potters in providing business acumen in the development of the church.In 1871 he gained national notoriety for being “The School Rate Martyr in the Potteries” He refused to pay the school rate of 4/6d because as a nonconformist he considered the school board were paying for poor children to go to denominational (Anglican schools). He was charged and found guilty, having a barometer seized by way of forfeit at auction. His workers raise 10/-, the money to buy it back for him!The Morning Post of 26 January 1872 reported the Nonconformist Conference in Manchester:”It was announced during the evening that the goods of Mr Harvey Adams of Fenton had been seized for refusing to pay the school rate. The bailiffs it was stated had not taken a bible, but they had impounded an old weather glass which pointed to ‘stormy.’Mr Adams being present was loudly called for amid cheers , and declared his determination to resist to the utmost any imposition upon his conscience to promote sectarian or denominational teaching.”He was a councillor in Longton, political activist and local worthy seeking to improve the conditions of the Staffordshire Potters.