This third-generation family business was set up by Jim and Vi Cross in 1969 as Pilling Pottery, making pottery and pottery equipment in the village of Pilling on the North West coast of England. The business grew and became a primary village employer which at its peak was producing over a thousand hand thrown pots a day as well as kilns and potters wheels. With no internet at the time, most work came from word of mouth or that old favourite publication, The Exchange and Mart. Cheap imports came in a wave and hit the business hard both directly and indirectly as the handmade market depleted overnight.

Adrian Cross, the current M.D. has worked in the business all his life, joining the business in 1980 at this low point and together with Jim worked to rebuild the business with kilns wheels and pottery, in time developing our premium top loading range together with Jim and further down the line Brian. As business expanded it became clear a new name for the kiln side of the business would serve us better and so Northern Kilns was decided upon. Adrian bought the business in 2012 from Jim and Vi.

Adam, Adrian’s son joined the business in 2009, bringing with him a very able pair of hands and creative mind. Adam has carefully tweaked and improved our designs to be the most effective and efficient they’ve ever been. Adam is now our Production Manager; his welding is the start of every kiln, and he ensures they are built on schedule.

Jen, Adrian’s daughter joined the business in 2016 as part of the office team and has grown into the role of Operations Manager as the business has grown. Jen handles the organisational side of the business and heads up the Office team, supported by Sarah and Sue.

Our timeline shows improvement in product choice, product design and a move with the times in terms of technology but our business stays the same in terms of service, due to the commitment and care of our directors, which is what our staff also strive to provide.

Our story

Adrian joined the business in 1980 and is now supported by his son Adam, who joined in 2009 & daughter Jen, in 2016.

Third Generation Family Business

Fresh from the kiln

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