In the years before town sewage systems were established it was common practice to throw the ‘slops’ into the street gutters with the accompanying cry “Gardyloo” – a corruption of Garde l’eau ; French for “watch out for the water!” Today the expression “Gardyloo” is long gone but the name “loo” is commonly used for toilets in the UK.
Brick maker Thomas Bond builds a bottle kiln in the sleepy village of Armitage in a move away from the city of Stoke on Trent.
Bottle Kiln at Armitage
In response to London’s ‘Big Stink’ the British government passes the first public health bill mandating the use of sewers in towns and cities. This resulted in an improvement in mortality rates, with a decrease in Cholera , Typhoid and Diphtheria along with many other illnesses. This same change in population curves happens today when sanitation is installed for the first time in third world communities.
Public Health Act - We are in the "health" business
In response to the Public Health act of 1847, demand rises for domestic toilets. Quick to spot the growing market, work starts on converting the production to making toilets.
Armitage begins toilet production
During the turn of the 19th century 60% of production was exported abroad, and in particular to North America. The logo at this time was ‘Johns’ and the brand became synonymous with the toilet. To this day the toilet is colloquially referred to as the John in many parts of the USA.
The ‘Johns’ brand is used until 1959
Armitage invents the "John"
In a search for a new and distinctive colour, the ceramics team at Armitage came up with a pale green similar to the flesh of an Avocado and the colour was named accordingly. During the subsequent 10 years, over one million Avocado suites were installed across the UK, out selling all other colours and is now embedded in the national psyche as an icon for bathrooms of the 1970’s
Armitage Shanks invents Avocado
Shanks holdings, a leading national sanitary ware pottery and also specialists in marine pottery for ship building, was acquired by Armitage in 1969 and this union lead to the emergence of our Armitage Shanks brand on products in 1970.
Armitage Shanks Brand is born
The pottery industry is renowned for traditional techniques and craftsmanship. We are proud to carry this ethos on and marry our craftsmanship with the latest technologies in order to bring the highest quality products to market at affordable costs. Investment in machines to cast our ware commenced in 2000.
2000 – 2004
Armitage factory invests in 21st century technology
And so it’s time to say.