A man of outstanding ability in mining

This is a remarkable image. Note the two Ruston Bucyrus dragline excavators, one of which is still a landmark on the site skyline. I wasn’t originally sure this was Birch Coppice, as it looked too deep, then I noted the office block on the skyline – see notes below. This I would say has to be mid to late 1970s. Click for a larger version. Image from the Potclays website history page.

Well, that was quick and you guys never, ever cease to amaze me – Having done the morning chores and gone for a wander out, I came back to find that following my publication of the enquiry about the Potters Clay and Coal Company and the possible involvement of Samuel Ramses Jones outstanding researcher Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler had been digging in the National Newspaper Archive.

Here’s the link to the full post from yesterday, in which I mainly ruminate on a couple of photos found on the Potclays website. In that article, I erroneously speculate that the issue may be being confused with Brownhills, Tunssatall in The Potteries – clearly not the case.

The original enquiry said:


I need some help, please…

Can you find or do you know who the founders of the original company that started up as Potters Clay and Coal were?

Theres not a mention of them any were on the net.

I have been told that a relative, Samual Ramses Jones may have been involved.

I just looking for more information, really – Samuel’s daughter is still alive.

We know they lived at The Croft I think it was Pelsall Road – I maybe wrong. Her father died in 1939 or 40.

If you have any more info at all please can you contact me, apparently he was a well known gentleman of his time in that area.

Well, Peter found the article the foot of this post in the Lichfield Mercury of 23rd March, 1940, reporting on the funeral in all probability, of Samuel Ramses Jones. The article gives details of his founding of the Potters Clay and Coal Company.

Peter’s ability to find stuff in the newspaper articles is wonderful.

This is astounding stuff and I’d like to thank Peter immensely – I have emailed the reader concerned with the link to these articles. Please, if you have anything to add, do. I’d be particularly interested in the location of The Croft, where Samuel is believed to have lived.

Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

The text of the Lichfield Mercury is below. It’s a hand-corrected machine read passage, so please alert me to any howlers or typos.


Many Brownhills residents paid their tributes of respect to the memory of Mr. Samuel R. Jones, at the funeral on Saturday morning.

All the blinds were drawn in the main street, through which the cortege passed to the Brownhills West Methodist Church, where the service was conducted by the Rev. W. Dawson, and then on to the Parish Churchyard.

Mr. Jones, who had passed away the previous Wednesday after a long and painful illness at the early age of 39, was a man of outstanding ability in mining and of considerable business acumen.

He was managing director of the Potters Clay and Coal Company Ltd., a successful undertaking, which he had founded. Unfortunately he did not live to realise his ambition of seeing complete pottery production from the drawing of the clay to the finished article in Brownhills, where the undertaking would have found employment for many people.

During the past few months a slip mill had been erected for the washing and pressing of the clay prior to despatch to the potteries. It is hoped, however, that what he planned will be eventually realised.

The chief family mourners were the widow (who is left with two children), Mr. and Mrs. G. A. Jones, (brother and sister-in-law) and Mr. and Mrs. K. Holyman (sister and brother-in-law), workmen from the Bentley Pits and the Potters Clay and Coal Co., Ltd., Brownhills and representatives of local public bodies also followed.

There were many beautiful floral tributes, including those from the Comforts Fund Committee, the ladies’ knitting party at the Congregational Church, aad the Cannock Division of the Conservative and Unionist Association.

Report carried in the Lichfield Mercury of 23rd March 1940, as found by Peter ‘Pedro’ Cutler. Click for a larger version.


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12 Responses to A man of outstanding ability in mining

  1. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    an amazing find by Peter….I hope that relatives in the Jones and Holyman families will be able to help. Suddenly another whole ( sorry ) new chapter of local history opens up, I hope.
    Many thanks to Peter…much appreciated
    kind regards

  2. Pedro says:

    Part of the Potclay Group….THE POTTERS CLAY AND COAL COMPANY 

    “Our puddle clay was used in the construction of parts of the M6 motorway, notably Spaghetti Junction.”

    Not sure I would admit that!

    • Old Brum civil engineering joke:

      Why did they put 12 foot plywood barriers around the pillars of Spaghetti Junction?

      To give Jeff Rooker splinters



  3. Pedro says:

    In 1946 George Albert Jones had his car stolen, and his address was The Croft, Chester Road….near the railway station.

  4. Pedro says:

    Ay up there seems to be a mystery here as to just who founded the Potters Clay and Coal Co!

    I had come across the obituary of Samuel Jones in the Lichfield Mercury as seen above, and it states that he founded the company. But there was no further info, but in searching I came across a site for local history of Stoke, and a walk discovering old streets. This one was Fowlea Bank and on the walk the chap spoke with the Chair and MD of Potclays Ltd. A Johnathon Noake…

    “The company was started by my grandfather William who had been works manager for Twyfords before he retired. His interest was geology and he had ideas about producing inexpensive ball clay without having to go to Cornwall. He went to the South Staffs coalfield and made hundreds of enquiries with local miners about the quality of clay and discovered it was white and plastic enough to suit his ideas. The landlord of a pub called the Swan took him down his cellar and showed him a full seam of high-grade coal under-laid with the clay he wanted. So he bought the local mine and sold the coal and clay to sanitary-ware manufacturers in Stoke on Trent trading under the name The Potter’s Clay and Coal Company at the Swan Works, named after the pub.”


  5. Marion says:

    Samuel Remeses Jones was the brother of George Jones,he lived in the Croft on Chester Road,Brownhills before George, where ive been told he paid wages to the miners,and was where Potters Clay & Coal used to run from in the early 30s,this is when he worked as part of Potters Clay with William Noake,before he died at an early age in 1940,a year after William Noake….

  6. Marion says:

    Samuel and George Jones both went to mining college, so that’s where the knowledge of mining came from at the start to help William,Samuel worked really hard,but as it says in his obituary, never lived to see his dream,and has never been recognised for his work…

  7. Pedro says:

    Interesting that the present Chair and MD of Potclay Limited maintains that it was a “family” business. Perhaps he should be asked about the beginnings of the Co as he seems interested in the local history of Stoke,

  8. Marion says:

    It is interesting?i know it was many years ago and is an interesting part of Mining History,especially as it was wrote in his obituary….

  9. Pedro says:

    For the record in November 1934 there was an application by a Hanley haulier for a licence of an additional vehicle, a representative of a pottery firm told the West Mids Traffic Com in Birmingham that the demand for potter’s clay was increasing month by month.

    The clay, it was stated, was being drawn from pits at Brownhills and at Bentley near Walsall, and the applicant had special knowledge of clays of value to pottery firms.
    (Very likely to be PCC Co)

  10. aerreg says:

    hi david bentley is located between walsall and wilenhall going toward wolverhampton it has a modern church in its midst the name rubery owen is aquainted to the area god bless

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