Potters of Darwen
Charles Potter adapted a calico printing machine for printing paper and his brother Harold patented it in 1839. They moved production to Belgrave Mill in Darwen and started producing wallpaper commercially under the trade name C. H. E Potter.
Great design was as vital to wallpaper then as it is now. The Potters received distinctions for their wallpapers at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851. They also went on to receive a gold medal at the 1867 Universal Exhibition in Paris. This beautiful design is from our archive.
The Potters continued their success and John Gerald Potter followed in his father’s footsteps. In 1884 The Potters started to experiment with ‘sanitary’ wallpaper, which unlike typical paper at the time, was washable and helped promote good hygiene in the home.
Wallpaper Manufacturers Ltd (WPM)
The WPM was an amalgamation of the Potters division with other wallpaper companies. It was around this time that the Crown name emerged and most of the wallpapers manufactured by the WPM were sold under the Crown trademark.
The War Effort
The mills helped aid the war efforts by adapting their machinery to create munitions.
The Great Fire
The mills saw many fires throughout the years and were rebuilt several times over. The most notable fire was in 1920 when the swift action of the fire brigade saved the mill, where production continued until 2004.
Do It Yourself
The nation’s love of DIY grew and Crown launched fantastic national advertising campaigns encouraging everyone to get decorating.
As demand on the high street for Crown wallpapers grew, shops were opened throughout the UK.
A Proud Workforce
A wallpaper truck all dressed up and ready for the Queen’s visit.
Crown wallpapers were now being exported and sold around the globe. The distribution efforts came from multiple hubs around the UK and service was as important then, as it is today.
Great interior fashion
Continued investment in creating outstanding interior fashion is still crucial for Crown in the present day. Here is another design from our archive treasure chest - so retro!
Young At Heart – This is one of Crown’s wallpaper pattern books from the 1990’s.
Snow Kite, one of Crown’s most popular wallpapers during this period, selling in excess of 300,000 rolls
The Team Today
Our aim is still the same as when Crown first emerged; to provide stunning, innovative wallpapers to enhance your living space. Our enthusiastic people and team ethic are key, and of course we like to have some fun along the way!
- Special thanks to Darwen Days, a local historical resource, for their kind donation of images
- The W.P.M - The Pattern of a Great Organisation 1899 – 1949
- Potters of Darwen 1839 -1939 – A Century of Wallpaper Printing by Machinery by A.V. Sugden and E.A. Entwistle