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Potts Clocks

of Pudsey and Leeds

MICHAEL S. POTTS: Collector and Researcher of clocks made by the Potts Family

This branch of the Potts family originates in the North East of England and became involved in clockmaking, when Robert Potts was apprenticed to a clockmaker in Darlington in 1790. His son, William Potts, set up his own clockmaking business in 1833 in Pudsey, West Yorkshire. After an initial period of making domestic clocks of every type, the business expanded into the manufacture of turret clocks for churches and public buildings and it became necessary to move to Guildford Street in Leeds in 1862. The business expanded in jewellery and silverware as well as clocks and watches. A new turret clock factory was opened in Cookridge Street, Leeds and mass produced wall clocks for schools, offices and railways were made in the workshops behind the Guildford Street shop in Butts Court.

Three of William’s sons eventually joined their father in the business and in due course it became known as William Potts & Sons Limited. A further generation joined the business after World War I but their time with the company was short lived as Tom Potts left in 1928 to operate on his own and Charles Potts left in 1930 to set up his own turret clock business at Marshall Mills in Leeds where it remained until the 1950’s latterly under the control of Anthony Potts. The former business of William Potts & Sons Limited was sold to John Smith & Son Limited of Derby in 1935 and has remained a subsidiary company trading in Leeds to the present day.

As a direct descendant of Robert and William Potts I have been interested in researching the involvement by five generations of the family in clockmaking. I would welcome any information relating to the existence of clocks made by :


  • Robert Potts of Darlington (c1800 to 1830)

  • William Potts of Pudsey (1833 to 1862)

  • William Potts of Leeds (1862 to 1865)

  • William Potts & Son of Leeds (1865 to 1870)

  • William Potts & Sons of Leeds (1870 to 1906)

  • William Potts & Sons Limited of Leeds (1906 to 1930)

  • William Potts & Sons Limited of Burley Nr Leeds (1930 onwards)

  • Joseph Potts of Leeds (1900 to 1930)

  • R S Potts of Leeds (1928 to 1950)

  • Charles H Potts & Co. Limited of Marshall Mill, Leeds (1930 onwards)


Photographs and ephemera of all types would be most welcome as are photostat copies of any documents relevant to the history of the firms. Please use the contact box below.

In 2006 I completed the history of the firm under the title "Potts of Leeds - Five Generations of Clockmakers". The book was published by Mayfield Books and further information can be found on their website.

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