Harvey Adams

Methodist New Connexion Potter

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.

Comments about this page

  • In reply to the question as to whether Harvey Adams invented the moustache cup- all his advertising unequivocally stated that his was the original moustache cup- and this was not contested by his fellow potters.

    By David Leese (05/03/2023)
  • Wonderful! I’ve been looking to find some information for a tea-set I have in this pattern that belonged to my grandmother- we used to drink afternoon tea on her lawn using it.

    By Victoria Brooks (06/02/2022)
  • Reply to Victoria’s post- this is Harvey Adams and though he didn’t backstamp all his items most of these are marked as such. Happy to provide further info. If needed (David.leese@hotmail.com)

    By David Leese (11/12/2019)
  • Thanks for the informations. Very interesting. But I am looking for a definite source, that Harvey Adams really invented the mustache cup. Where is the proof?

    By Andreas Heege (26/11/2019)
  • Just to let you know I am listing a cup and saucer of the above pattern on ebay today. It may be of interest.

    By Gwen Brown (09/02/2017)
  • I own an individual teapot, creamer, and sugar in the the pattern pictured. I’ve always wanted to complete my set, which I believe includes a tray. I’m still looking!

    By Kathleen Boyd (12/01/2017)
  • Does there exist a photo/painting of Harvey Adams — did he invent the moustache cup to handle his own big moustache?

    By Cathy Kristiansen (18/07/2016)
  • Yes this is a Harvey Adams trio (cup, saucer, and plate). It is illustrated because it is typical of the 1870 Harvey Adams manufacturing style, especially the use of generous gilding and relief floral decoration. The cup carries the pattern number 5821. Unfortunately the early pattern books have not survived, but the later ones are held in the pattern books kept in the Stoke on Trent City archives in Hanley (Spode Collection), pattern numbers from 11080 onwards are detailed and illustrated.

    By David Leese (21/02/2015)
  • Is the tea cup in the image from the Harvey Adams Pottery? It’s just I have a set like this and I’m trying to find out its origin.

    By Victoria (11/02/2015)
  • See also the page showing a sketch of farm machinery signed by Harvey Adams under ‘ Memorabilia and artefacts’

    By Pamela Atkins (14/07/2014)

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