As Wedgewood becomes another victim of the recession we should remember that this company has a substantial history. Coffee House, the Spectator’s blog, points out Wedgwood’s contribution to the anti-slavery movement.
It’s very easy to think that corporate social responsibility is a new thing, and that historically profit was the key motive. But over 200 years ago Josiah Wedgwood had his craftsman design a medallion for the abolitionist movement which helped bring the anti-slavery message into people’s day-to-day lives. He manufactured and distributed these at his own cost and they found themselves on hat-pins, broaches and could be inset onto other items.
By wearing or displaying it you showed your solidarity with the abolitionist cause in exactly the same way as wearing a poppy, ribbon or wrist-band now and the medallion helped increase public awareness of, and opposition to, slavery.
It is sad that Wedgwood has become another victim of the recession, and sadder still that we might lose one of the names that has played such a big role in the nation’s history.