EVERY day many thousands of motorists pass a rather grubby old building at the bottom of Newtown Road, Worcester, just before the traffic lighted tunnel, probably unaware of the slightly grubby part it played in the city’s fine china industry.

For it was here in 1896 that Edward Locke set up his porcelain business. Locke had worked in the modelling department of the city’s world famous Royal Worcester factory, which stood less than a mile away, and so knew the production process well. He then decided he wanted a slice of the action for himself.

So he left and started his own firm in the Shrub Hill area. Not surprisingly Locke’s pottery produced porcelain wares similar to some of those made by Royal Worcester at the time. 

Although the quality may not have been quite as good, it was still excellent and almost certainly Locke & Co benefited from the high profile and reputation of Royal Worcester.

However Edward Locke didn’t sail along in the slip stream for very long. By 1902 Royal Worcester had decided he was making too much use of the Worcester brand and gained a High Court injunction preventing Locke & Co. from using the title ‘Worcester’ on its wares without making it clear the items were not produced by the main Worcester factory.

Operating under this handicap, Locke’s business went into decline and his company eventually closed in 1914. The following year the building was taken over by noted Worcester print firm Ebenezer Baylis (now gone too) and in more recent times has had a series of industrial uses.

IN PICTURES: Worcester summer floods of 2007

Which brings us to the rest of the photographs on this page, all of which relate to other famous Worcester business names long disappeared.

The Blackpole area to the north of the city centre is today home to a number of industrial estates, in the main created out of the premises of former world renowned engineering companies.

Among them were Archdales, which closed in the 1970s, and Wards, which followed 10 years later.

Across town near Shrub Hill was the factory of the once might Heenan and Froude, the company that made Blackpool Tower.

And then of course there was Kays, the mail order giant which had several sites in Worcester and at its peak in the 1960s employed more than 6,000 local people. Now, like all the others, the name has been swept away by the winds of change.