IT was the brand that took Poole’s name around the world, long before we had heard of modern day success stories like Sunseeker and Lush.

Poole Pottery is still sought after by avid collectors and has graced some of the most famous department stores on the planet.

Factory production was moved out of Poole a decade ago. But if Poole Pottery’s shop and studio on the Quay closes, as was threatened this week, an important story in Poole’s history will come to an end.

The company we know as Poole Pottery began life as Carter & Company, on the town’s East Quay, in 1873. By the 1880s, it was already competing with some of the famous Staffordshire potteries.

Its glazed faience tiling was used extensively in pubs, hotels, restaurants and shops, as well as in mosaic flooring and advertising panels.

Owen Carter, son of the founder, began experimenting with other products, and from 1900-05, small quantities of ornamental ware came out of the factory on the Quay.

Full production of hand-painted, hand-thrown ware, decorated by around 30 skilled ‘paintresses’, began in earnest in 1921. A showroom and tearooms were added in 1932.

Production was interrupted by the war, when the factory focused on more functional ware, and Poole’s distinctive designs did not resume until the 1950s.

Collectors keep their eyes out for the names of the crafts people who made their marks in the 1920s and remained central to the company’s look until the 1950s: principally Truda Carter, John Adams and Harold Stabler.

Until 1934, most of the pottery was marked “Carter, Stabler and Adams, Poole, England” or sometimes “Poole, England”.

In the early 1960s, the company set up a studio where designer Robert Jefferson worked with craftsmen/artists Tony Morris and Guy Sydenham, producing the colourful designs sold under the name Delphis. Wall plaques and table lamps were also put into production.

The name of the company was only changed to Poole Pottery in 1963, with the retirement of Cyril Carter. In 1964, it was acquired by Pilkingtons, mainly because of the file business which was still thriving.

Poole’s products were sold all over the world, including Tiffany’s, Harrods, Selfridge’s and Bloomingdale’s. Auctions of its pieces were often held at Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

But while the products remained popular, the pottery was facing increased commercial pressures.

In 1992, a promising new era seemed to have arrived with a £3.7million management “buy-in” led by boss Peter Mills.

Factory tours were introduced as part of a £500,000 investment plan. There was talk of acquiring related businesses and even floating the pottery on the Stock Market.

But the company reported a “very bad” 1993, despite huge success overseas.

In 1997, it was revealed that manufacturing would be moved away from the Quay, to Sopers Lane. Master potter Alan White threw the last pot at the factory in March 2001, ending 128 years of pottery production there.

It still looked as though the future of the company could be bright. In 2001, the Quay site attracted more than a million visitors, earning it a top 10 place on the English Tourism Council’s list of most popular attractions.

Uri Geller signed a contract to design plates, charges and vases in 2001, and the following year an American head office was established in Knoxville, Tennessee.

But by now, the company was in the ownership of Orb Estates, which also had control of the Quays Group that was building the Dolphin Quays development on the former factory site.

In 2003, it emerged that Poole Pottery had crippling debts. Both it and Dolphin Quays went into administration.

The pottery was bought out of administration by a group led by Peter Ford but in 2006 it was taken over again, by Poole Holdings PLC, led by managing director Jeffrey Zemmel.

In December that year, the shop on the Quay closed suddenly, leaving 50 people out of work and leaving the waterfront without a Poole Pottery presence for the first time in 133 years. Shortly afterwards, the factory also closed, leaving 100 people jobless and without wages at Christmas. It emerged that the company owed more than £1million.

The pottery was bought out of administration by Hertfordshire company Lifestyle, but production was transferred to Stoke.

In 2011, Poole Pottery was taken over once again, by Denby Pottery. Although the factory is still at Stoke, the shop and studio have been kept as popular attractions on the Quay. Master potter Alan White can still be seen throwing clay to create shapes. The four designers and artists at the site help design new collections to be made at the Stoke factory, as well as making pieces decorated to make one-off products for sale at the shop.

It’s remains a very popular visitor experience which is, once again, at risk of disappearing.