We don't know exactly when pottery was first made on the banks of the Thames in Lambeth but probably started in Roman times. The tradition probably continued from then through the Middle Ages till Royal Doulton moved its HQ and works in the mid 20th Century.
In 1570 two Antwerp potters, Jasper Andries and Jacob Janson, petitioned Elizabeth I to settle in Lambeth and commence trading. Janson anglicised his name to Johnson it thought to be the first maker of tin enamelled earthenware pottery latter known as Lambeth Delftware. Elizabethan times also saw an influx of bottle shaped pottery from the Rhineland Area of Gemany. This Cologne ware was strong, durable and clean compared to its English contemporaries.
In 1626 Thomas Rous (or Rius) and Abraham Cullys were granted a patent to become 'the sole mamaking of the stone pottes, stone jugges and stone bottells for the terme of fourteen yeares' by Charles I in 1626. In 1671 a patent was granted to John Ariens van Hamme, a Dutchman, to produce tiles, porcelain and earthenware. He was one of several potters from Delft who settled along the Thames in Southwark, Lambeth and Vauxhall during the 17th & the first half of the 18th centuries.
The early Lambeth potters would have made a porous domestic table wares, tiles, wine jars, and apothecaries (chemist) pots and jars. The Lambeth potters lost out to Staffordshire potters, in the second half of the 18th century, who developed a non porous, cream-glazed earthenware more suitable for domestic tableware. A few potters continued in Lambeth making their salt-glazed (A glaze formed by throwing common salt into the kiln at about 1800F (1000C) during the firing.) stonewares. By the early 19th century there were several small potteries in Lambeth when John Doulton invested in a Vauxhall Walk pottery in 1815. He joined forces with John Watts and the company was to become the famous Royal Doulton company. Doulton and Watts, who were in their early twenties, were adaptable and used their initiative and soon the company grew. After a slow but steady progress the company soon started taking business away from other local companies and expanded into new premises in Lambeth Walk in 1826 trading under the name of Doulton & Watts. The history of pottery in Lambeth since 1815 is dominated by the Doulton Company (see separate entry).