Whilst the Minton Archive does contain some tile-related material it’s less than you might think, and for good reason. Encaustic tile manufacture began as part of Minton’s china business but over time the two entities would become distinct and eventually separate completely. Minton and Co. would continue to produce certain types of tile, as seen from records in the Archive, but the rights to produce encaustic and flooring tiles would be fought over by ex-business partners and Minton family members for some time.
Copies of Chancery minutes and judgements found within SD 1705/MS1456 contain the details of this battle over the Minton name and from these we’ve been able to construct a timeline showing the initial separation of the business and the increasingly messy fallout from this event. There’s lots more information in the documents than we were able to squeeze onto the timeline so we’d heartily recommend reading them in full, either in person in the Archives Reading Room or by using the downloadable transcriptions linked to below – the timeline should hopefully keep you on track whilst you wade through the legalese! It’s also worth spending time on specialist websites like Tile Heaven which explore this part of the Minton story in much greater detail than we’re able to do here on the blog.
Together we hope these sources show that identifying a Minton tile can be a tricky business – after all, at one point “Minton” could mean Minton & Company, Minton Hollins & Company or Robert Minton Taylor & Company!
We couldn’t end the post without highlighting one of our favourite parts from Vice Chancellor Malin’s judgement: obviously frustrated by the squabbling surrounding the Minton name his final words on the matter are just that –
You know my views now… you have the shorthand writer’s notes of what I have said – if that is not acceded to I shall endeavour to make those who refuse it suffer for it.