Josiah Wedgwood II (1769-1843)

Known as 'Jos', Josiah II - like his brothers - had been given an education which made him believe that he was too good to work as a pottery manufacturer even though his father had left him the factory on his death in 1795. He was a partner from 1790-1841, and took over active management of the company in 1805. It was a troubled time with the French Revolution disrupting business. Josiah tried hard to carry on what his father had started and introduced a number of new lines, such as bone china and blue printed ware to the factory’s output.

Although he owned land in Surrey, Josiah became the first Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent in 1832. In 1792, he married the eldest daughter of the Squire of Cresselly - Elizabeth 'Bessie' Allen, sister of Louisa Jane, and so moved even further away from the social class into which he had been born. They made their home at Maer Hall in Staffordshire where they raised 10 children, one of whom was Emma, the future wife of her cousin Charles Darwin. Indeed, Josiah II is usually credited with persuading his brother-in-law, Robert Waring Darwin to allow Charles to take part in the voyage of 'The Beagle'.

Images

Josiah Wedgwood II, © Wedgwood Museum

Josiah Wedgwood II
© Wedgwood Museum