In conversation with Doulton Water Filters

By John Pearce, CEO, Made in Britain
Hundreds of our members have been with us from the very start, many joining Made in Britain before I did, in April 2015 – eight years ago this month.
Sir Henry Doulton“Until unpolluted water supplies are available everywhere, effective filtration is one of the best defences against water-borne disease.”
Sir Henry Doulton 1820-1897 (pictured, left)

Doulton Water Filters is a world-leading specialist manufacturing business, making drinking water filters and systems to the very highest standards and selling them around the world, helping literally millions of people in need of clean, healthy drinking water.
As MiB members, they are near the top of that list of early adopters that made a lasting commitment to Made in Britain in January 2015, believing that a unifying mark for manufacturers was the right way to secure a prosperous and inclusive future for the sector.
I recently met up online with Tim Evans, Global Sales Manager at Doulton to explore some of the many milestones in the company’s long history. As a fundamental truth and guiding principle for the way they do business, Doulton love to say to their customers, stakeholders and everyone who cares about clean, safe H2O - ‘we are water’ – and in the human body, that means up some 60% - so it’s essential to health, well-being and, all too often, survival. Tim explains exactly why Doulton care as much about clean water now, as they did back in 1826;
“We think the same about our business as we do about clean, safe water itself – we never take it for granted. Some may imagine that our nearly 200-year history means we’re stuck in the past, but nothing could be further from the truth. The technical challenge of producing safe, clean, healthy water to drink after filtration through a porcelain type candle filter, evolves every year and with every new potable water challenge that emerges. Our blend and fusion of the natural microscopic, raw materials that make up a Doulton water filter are unique to us as a business. Our clients all around the world don’t come to us for our past, they want to know we’re protecting the future of clean water as that challenge evolves and as potable water management becomes so much more of a social responsibility issue.”
Everyone that works at Doulton’s Staffordshire plant is proud to feel so directly connected to the person most associated with cutting-edge products for safe water filtration, Sir Henry Doulton, 1820-1897. Starting his professional life early, at 15 years, the young Henry (son of London-based pottery manufacturer John Doulton) was already putting in long hours together with the workers at his father’s Doulton & Watts factory, and furthering his scientific and cultural knowledge after hours, learning chemistry, physics, as well as how to draw. In 1854, 34-year-old Henry Doulton joined forces with his father in a new company, Doulton & Co. The business was established in Staffordshire in 1877, a practical move to be manufacturing at the very heart of vital pottery-making sectors in the UK at that time. Today, more than 100 years later, Doulton water filters are still produced in Stoke-on-Trent, a few miles’ walk from the first production site in Burslam. 
Tim Evans is as passionate about the people element of working for Doulton, as he is about the products they nowadays export to countries around the world to provide clean, safe water; 
“It’s the people that really make the unique difference in any manufacturing business and especially so at Doulton. Though our founder’s stories are important, they’re no more meaningful than the collective force and cultural intelligence that comes with more than a century of committed, dedicated professionals working tirelessly to produce the very best filters and water delivery systems under often extraordinary and challenging circumstances. The Covid pandemic that started in the UK in March 2020, and the lockdown that soon followed saw Doulton workers, like many in key manufacturing sectors, find ways to carry on making and sending out much-needed water filters and systems, working closely with both the Red Cross and Unicef, to countries where the need was greatest for clean, safe drinking water throughout the pandemic. It brought back recollections of the extraordinary stories of the workers at Doulton affected by both First and Second World Wars, which we share on the archive section of our website today.” 
World-class water filters might not be the first thing people think of when they read the famous Doulton name. But the business now in its second century of production is proud to be so emotively connected to the Doulton manufacturing legacy and passionate about the ongoing challenge of providing clean, safe drinking water for everyone. The Made in Britain mark is a relatively recent link with the legacy of this extraordinary enterprise, and, as Tim explains, a very welcome addition to the trademarking and values of the business overall.  
“The Made in Britain mark was right for Doulton, right from the start, even when there were only a few hundred manufacturers committed to it. We’re all delighted here at the factory to know the strength of the mark has grown to some 2000 British manufacturers that will no-doubt play an essential role in shaping the future of making more world-class products in the country. As someone who valued the aesthetic and beauty of design enormously, I’m sure Sir Henry Doulton, would have thoroughly approved of the famous Made in Britain collective trademark as much as we all do.”  
“He was a generous employer, an honest merchant, a loyal friend and one who loved the principle of beauty in all things”; Taken from “Impressions of Sir Henry Doulton by one who knew him” published shortly after his death in the Journal St James.
All this is what being a successful British manufacturing enterprise looks like and what should give us all confidence for the future of our sector.

By Made in Britain 1 year ago | By Made in Britain

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