Fine China Firm Waterford Wedgwood Go into Administration

by Charlotte Cardingham
Posted by Hannah on 5 January 2009
Fine China Firm Waterford Wedgwood Go into Administration

Out with the old, as time is called on luxury crystal and ceramics firm Waterford Wedgwood.

In what represents the latest iconic British brand to fall foul of the credit crunch, it has today been announced that premium dinnerware firm Waterford Wedgwood have gone into administration.

Long established as a household name the firm has a history dating back almost a quarter of a millennium.

The UK-based Wedgwood ceramics was originally founded in 1750, while luxury Irish crystal firm Waterford has been trading for 226 years. The two companies merged in 1987and famously acquired high-end pottery firm Royal Doulton in 2005.

However, despite the company’s rich heritage, today’s unfortunate news hasn’t come as a surprise to many.

The company were already known to have debts amounting to over £420million and ceased trading on the London Stock Exchange in December in a bid to reduce costs. Despite their difficulties they remained listed on the Irish stock exchange until earlier this morning when trading of company shares was finally suspended. 

Appointed as administrator, accountancy firm Deloitte is currently looking at opportunities to sell the business off. However, as previous attempts to find a buyer for the company as a whole have failed it is largely expected that, if it survives, Waterford Wedgwood will once again be split back into its original lines for re-development.

Although not a large company by many measures, the luxury dinnerware firm did have a global presence, employing 8,500 workers across the globe – 1,900 of which were based in the UK.

Many have blamed the firm’s outsourcing of work across the globe and failure to keep up with the times as contributing factors in its downfall. However, in all likelihood Waterford Wedgwood are simply yet another of the unlucky ones driven to the ground by the tightening economic conditions that are making it harder for even premium retailers to both find finance and attract custom.


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Your Comments

on 9 Feb 2009 19:36
Reading some of the snarky comments makes me sad - Waterford Wedgwood will rise again because we are positive and hard-working and are loyal to the company. No matter what happens we stand because we believe in our product and our long and wonderful history. Obstantia Discindo!
Robert Newsom
on 6 Jan 2009 19:22
With the automated glass cutting to keep the products affordable and mass market the products,I saw this coming. Bigger is not always better. People who have bought hand crafted products have and are willing to pay for it .When the product name was used for massed produced products these buyers were unhappy. Some companies have successfuly sold mass produced and hand made products with success. They used branding to distinguish the difference ,though.
on 6 Jan 2009 19:06
Titanic was made by the Irish also!!!!!!!!!
on 6 Jan 2009 18:57
My wife has been gathering settings and pieces of a particular Wedgwood pattern from e-Bay and other sources for a few months. If the company ceases to make its products, perhaps her compulsion will have a pay-off later in the world of collectables? As the Brits are rightly proud of such grand, old companies, my wife, an American, will preserve the memory of their tradition in one of our self-storage units.
on 6 Jan 2009 18:13
Another high quality and product Glass/pottery icon gone by the wayside like so many before them -Fenton,Westmoreland,Imperial/Lenox,and a hundred others- very sad .
Patty B.
on 6 Jan 2009 17:34
Well I see that the anti-Darwin folks have sank this ship. Hopefully it will survive.
George Bush's Pottery Teacher
on 6 Jan 2009 16:54
sad day
Melanie Saxon
on 6 Jan 2009 16:28
I love my Wedgewood china. I hope the company will rebound to future success.
Son of Dorothy
on 6 Jan 2009 16:14
I will miss this company but I will keep forever my family's crystal and china made by them.
on 6 Jan 2009 16:06
where is barclay bank now??????????
Anne Collins
on 6 Jan 2009 09:53
I started buying Waterford crystal forty-five years ago when it was made in Waterford Ireland but stopped when it was outsourced to Europe....there was a subtle difference in the quality....I still pick up an occasional piece that is specifically marked "made in Ireland".
on 6 Jan 2009 06:34
Waterford Wedgwood needs to bring it back home. There's far too much history to let this go now. My input.