COMPANY HISTORY

The Diamond Tile Company Limited 1932 - 2012: An 80 year old four generation family Company

The bottle kilns of the Diamond Pottery Company 1932

The bottle kilns of the Diamond Pottery Company 1932

The Diamond Tile Company Limited in Hanley is unique. Diamond has been a family company for four generations. It has fought its way through four recessions and one world war, and evolved into one of Britain's largest independent family retail showrooms for bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms and tiles.

The company was established in 1932 by Robert Harry Carden Cliff who was a potters' factor and took over the run-down Diamond Pottery Company, which produced a variety of pottery items and china dolls. Diamond was in a poor state: it had five bottle ovens, leaking roofs, and buildings that were about to collapse. 'Harry' Cliff began manufacturing ceramic tiles for fireplaces which were much in demand and later added a fireplace slabbing shop manufacturing basic fireplaces and selling them all over the country

Tom and Dorothy Staton

Tom and Dorothy Staton

In 1934 at the age of 14, Dorothy, Harry's daughter, joined her father to help in the office as a book keeper. Later Dorothy became Company Secretary, a position she kept for over 60 years. Pre-war the company employed over a hundred people, making the firm one of the largest tile manufacturers in the area. Dorothy met and got engaged to Tom Staton a local pottery manager who joined Diamond in 1941 and married Dorothy in1944, the day before he left to serve in the RAF during the war.

The Government War Department took over Diamond's premises to store war supplies, including bales of hessian for camouflage which was used to cover Sheltons' iron and steel factory and warehouses which were prime targets for German bombers. Dorothy remained at Diamond throughout the war keeping a record of what was delivered and what was collected.

During the war the local hospital asked Harry to manufacture dolls to give the children who were in hospital at Christmas. Diamond had moulds made, and when manufactured Florrie, Harry's wife painted the faces, and Dorothy helped to make the dolls' clothes and dress them. Doll production continued until it was stopped by the war department for using coloured glazes.

After the war there was a big demand for tiles and tiled fireplaces. Tom who had returned from the war installed the area's first Gottignie Gas intermittent 2 glaze kiln which manufactured tiles 24 hours a day seven days a week. The kiln was successful but expensive to run. In 1960 Tom sold it to H & R Johnson's (India) Ltd. and it was shipped to Bombay where it was rebuilt.

In 1961 Tom Staton, now managing director, saw the future in the manufacture of modern fireplaces. He turned part of Diamond's warehouse into the first retail fireplace showroom in Stoke-on-Trent, replacing the thick bland fireplace tiles with colourful new materials such as marble, stone and slate. Tom turned the 'fire frame' on its side so that the inside of the fire frame measured 20" wide x 16" high, and lifted it off the floor so it could have a raised hearth and plinth on which televisions could be placed. He patented the design and called it The Kingsley patent 'Hole in the Wall' Fire. It was a unique design and sold well, giving customers a wide choice of designs, including of copper, brass or stainless steel frames and canopies all made at Diamond by 'Kingsley' in their sheet metal and slabbing shops. Many of today's modern fireplaces are based on Tom's Kingsley 'Hole in the Wall' design.

The Kingsley patent 'Hole in the Wall' Fire

The Kingsley patent 'Hole in the Wall' Fire

In 1964 Tom and Dorothy Son John joined the family business, followed by his Sister Carol in 1971. A few years later Tom designed Kingsley centre fires to add to the range, the only company whose centre fires could actually take both solid fuel or a log burning gas fire. Kingsley fires were sold throughout Britain and around the world.

Diamond opened the first retail showroom, displaying locally manufactured Twyfords and Armitage bathrooms in room settings tiled by Richards and Johnsons tiles. The Company expanded the wall and floor tile side of the business both for the trade and retail customers. John expanded Diamond's tile-contracting division and tile distribution which supplied retail tile shops and trade tilling accounts.

In 1975 taking advantage of the ever increasing market for home improvement a section of the showroom was redesigned showing quality English fitted kitchens from Hygena, English Rose, Elizabeth Ann, Easthams and Wrighton. When Wrighton's started to produce Bedroom furniture Diamond was one of the first showrooms to display the new ranges.

Not only did The Diamond/Kingsley group of companies supply the fireplace, bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and tiles for customers homes but was the only company in the area that if required could arranged the installation of the items which was unique at that time.

Sadly, Tom Staton passed away in 1985. John left Diamond in 1989 but continues to help his Son Matthew who manufacture's Oazic bespoke fireplaces in Newcastle Street, Burslem, Staffordshire.

Tom's daughter, Carol Staton, took over as Managing Director from her mother Dorothy in 1991. Carol already a successfully business person was determined not only to make sure Diamond would continue to thrive but that the showrooms would be one of the largest and best in the uk. She sought out the finest products, not only from the remaining British manufacturers but also from Europe. With her knowledge of property and interior design Carol made sure that every display in Diamond's showroom was appealing to customers, both aesthetically and economically, showing customers how they could make their rooms just like those shown in the leading home design magazines, but at affordable prices and if installation was required with the minimum amount of stress and disruption.

Carol's Son, Mark joined the company in 2001 and Louise, her Daughter, joined the family company in 2005 after taking a degree in Business and Design at Manchester University.

Louise is the Director in charge of Design and specializes in unique bathroom designs and wet room areas, her expertise acknowledged by a leading bathroom design award and media articles. Diamond offers customers a complete bespoke design and installation service which includes products from the very best Bathroom, Kitchen, Bedroom and Tile manufacturers from the UK and Europe.

Customers are able to view their newly-designed rooms on large wall-mounted screen whilst enjoying a coffee or tea. Design changes can be made while the customer is watching so they have a superb view of what their room would look like before they leave the showrooms.

House property is Carol's passion and in 2011 Carol and Louise started a new business Kingsley Estate Agency which concentrates on selling quality homes at a very low commission rate but giving the personal help and advice which they felt was lacking in the market place.

In November 2012 Dorothy at the grand age of 93 years old passed away, the end of the second generation and the end of an 80 year era.

The family decided it was time for Diamond to move on and embrace the future.

Retailing has changed drastically over the last ten years, competition from the large out of town stores and the internet along with cheaper, less quality products being manufactured from all over the world now being sold in the UK, the family knew that to survive and prosper Diamond needed to down size and concentrate on their bespoke clients who wanted the good old fashioned professional service upon which they have built their first class reputation and customer recommendation.

Therefore, the showroom at Marsh Street, Hanley closed on 30th April.

Bathroom, Kitchen, Bedroom and Interiors showroom at Borough Road, Newcastle

Bathroom, Kitchen, Bedroom and Interiors showroom in Newcastle

New Era

Always leading the way Carol and Louise are thrilled to open on 1st May, a bespoke "boutique" Bathroom, Kitchen, Bedroom and Interiors showroom in Staffordshire at Berkeley Court, Borough Road, Newcastle which will display their stunning designer rooms.

Backed by their knowledge, expertise and the very best manufacturers from the UK and Germany they will guide clients through the often complex procedure of design, choice of product, colour coordination and if required arrange the complete installation.

Diamond's ethos and unrivalled reputation of supplying quality products at realistic competitive prices along with good old-fashioned professional service still remains stronger than ever.

Please contact them on 01782 621100 for more information. Or call into Bespoke Bathrooms and Interiors at 6-7 Berkeley Court, Borough Road, Newcastle, Staffordshire, ST5 1TT.

Kingsley Estate Agents

Carol and Louise look forward to developing Kingsley estate agency, although it was only established in May 2011 it has a large client base and has been very well received, a genuine low commission rate of 0.5% is backed by a full sale package with no hidden extras and listings on Rightmove, but most of all it is the personal service and attention to detail that makes clients choose to sell their homes with Kingsley and recommend Kingsley to their friends and relations.

Dedicated shop premises in Newcastle with parking and passing custom and a new bespoke web site will only be the start of what's to come. Visit www.kingsleyestateagents.co.uk for more details.


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