The Little Teapot That Could

A slipcast Brown Betty is removed from its mold.
A slipcast Brown Betty is removed from its mold.

Adderley Ceramics is run by husband-and-wife team Phil and Trish Davis, who were both born and raised in Stoke-on-Trent. When they left school, they worked for Aynsley China, and then in 1996 set out on their own. The Davises began making Brown Betty teapots in 2009 when they saw a gap in the market. They based their version on a 1920s teapot that friend Peter Hollingsworth found in his dad’s garden shed. “The Betty teapot is a well-known British icon,” Trish says. “It is a very difficult product to manufacture, and it’s very labour intense, but we do like a challenge.”

Other countries have copied the Brown Betty style, and you’ll find much discussion on the Internet about what distinguishes an authentic one. Don’t be misled by foreign copies. A bona fide Brown Betty must be made in Staffordshire, England, from the red clay that was discovered there more than 320 years ago. Rest assured that when you serve tea in a genuine Brown Betty teapot, you are holding a bit of British history and tradition in your hand.

Betty Terry, former associate editor of TeaTime, received her first Brown Betty teapot as a Christmas gift in 2013 and has collected her namesake teapot ever since. She is now the proud owner of eight Brown Bettys, and she agrees with generations of Englishmen who believe these make a superior pot of tea.

From TeaTime September/October 2015


  1. A couple of decades ago I inherited my grand mother’s Gibson & Sons red-ware tea pot. Recently I passed it on to my cousin, Trenna, who is named for grand mother and am now without a tea pot. I greatly admire the Staffordshire Royal Albert pots: particularly the English Rose, Old English Rose, and Confetti designs. I have looked at similar tea pots (all made in China) and find the lids don’t fit all that well and they don’t seem to have the visual appeal of the Royal Albert pots I see on the internet. I have tried without success to find comparisons between the English and Chinese pots other than price. What are the differences and are the English pots worth the price difference?

  2. Congratulations on being so kind hearted to give your treasured tea pot to your cousin!
    Before you choose a china pattern, consider that many vintage patterns are of better quality than some of the newer patterns and continued patterns that are no longer made in Great Britain or the USA.

  3. I found my Brown Betty in a thrift store for a few dollars, and I didn’t know I had an antique until after reading this article! It was made by Sadler. It’s a little teapot, good for two or three cups, and I can’t wait to make some tea.


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