Our History

Shaws has a rich history spanning over 125 years.

1890
Our History
1890

William Shaw buys Whitebirk Colliery at Blackburn and Belthorn Colliery.

He asks his nephew, Arthur Gerald Shaw, to help run the business.

Arthur realises that the spoil from the two collieries contains rich fireclay deposits. With his brothers Robert and Miles, Arthur begins to experiment with this material.

Our History
1897

The date is St Valentine’s Day, 1897.

Arthur founds a limited company to make fireclay products.

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1903

By 1903, Shaws sanitaryware range is well established.

Arthur insists that every piece should be stamped underneath with the name of the craftsman who made it and the year of manufacture. From this habit we know of a 1903 model that is still in daily use today. If you have a Shaws sink that is even older, please tell us!

Our History
1908

The company expands rapidly.

Arthur builds a new factory at Waterside to cope with demand.

Our History
1914

The First World War disrupts normal production.

Shaws contributes to the war effort, making acid ware and ceramic conductors for the government.

Our History
1919

Arthur invents and patents a new gas-fuelled kiln to improve the quality of production.

This is so successful he establishes a separate company, The Shaws Gas Kiln Company, to build and install kilns throughout the world.

Our History
1924

Shaws becomes the largest employer in the area.

With 600 people employed at the 26 acre site at Waterside, Darwen.

Our History
1930

Furnishing the entire bathroom suite.

The 1930 Shaws catalogue shows that an entire bathroom suite can now be purchased from Shaws, including the ‘Sumptuor’ white glazed fireclay bath.

1951

Arthur dies at Accrington Victoria Hospital on 9th June, 1951.

1960s

Shaws diversified further, manufacturing fireplaces. It eventually made over 60,000.

Our History
1990s

Landing in America.

After a difficult period in the 1980s when many British manufacturers closed down, Shaws starts to thrive again by supplying fireclay sinks to premium kitchen showrooms such as Smallbone of Devizes.

American Ken Rohl agrees his first contract to distribute Shaws in the United States. Shaws soon becomes the luxury kitchen sink of choice in thousands of homes across America.

Our History
2022

125 years of Shaws of Darwen.

Shaws celebrates its 125th anniversary with the launch of its Gallery collection of decorative designs, and adds Black and Grey colour options. It will make more sinks in 2022 than any year in its history.