John's Biography


Some early photos of John at work aged 21 onwards. 

John Hughes MBE was born on 23rd February 1934 at home in Pontsionnorton, Pontypridd. He attended Pontypridd Boys County Grammar School until he was 17, when he took a job in Cardiff’s City Hall. In 1952 he began his National Service with the Royal Air Force, stationed in Gloucester until he left in 1954.


John in the Groggshop back in the 70's.

John held various jobs over the next decade, including children’s photographer, brush salesman and insurance salesman. He married Pamela in 1956 and had three children. He was working in the College of Food Technology and Commerce in 1965 when he retreated to his back-garden shed and created the very first of the Groggs.

In June 2010 John was awarded with an MBE as part of the Queens Birthday Honours List for his services to Ceramics and Charities in Wales. 


John receiving notification of his MBE acheivement with friends Tommy David and Alan Underwood ~ With Pam at Buckingham Palace after receiving the award. 

John in his own words back in 2010...

Favourite Film: Field of Dreams – it’s every sports spectator’s dream film.

Favourite Music Artist: Tom Waits – he’s got a huge musical output and everything he’s ever written is incredible.

Favourite Album: Tom Waits’ Black Rider

Favourite Song: Copper Kettle by Bob Dylan – It should be every self-employed person’s anthem and speaks of peaceful, self-contained life.

Favourite Food: It’s between roast beef with roast potatoes or fish and chips, but I really can’t choose!

Favourite Sporting Moment: I can’t possibly divide Wembley in 1999 and Pontypridd winning the Swalec Cup in 1996. They were both so dramatic, with knife-edge, but correct results. Grand Slams 1976, 78 and 2005.

Favourite Try: 'A question which is impossible to answer!'

Favourite Place: The old Arms Park – so many wonderful memories.

Favourite Foreign Destination: Paris

Favourite Artist: Marc Chagall – I admire his romantic and intense use of colour.

Favourite Hobby:Keeping tropical fish, particularly cichlids. Photographing rugby players for their Groggs.

Favourite TV Programmes: My long-standing favourite is Coronation Street, but in recent years it has to be NYPD Blue.

Favourite Actor: Jeff Bridges

Favourite Actress: Michelle Pfeiffer

Favourite Author: Garrison Keeler

Dislikes: Freezing Cold Guiness – because you have to wait too long before you can drink it! Slow Bars.

Ambitions: To ‘keep on keepin’ on’ - Bob Dylan.

Favourite Saying: ‘To thine own self be true’ – William Shakespeare

Favourite Book:Gareth Edwards and David Parry Jones’ ‘The Golden Years of Welsh Rugby’

Biggest Influence: Stanislas Reychan – I saw some of his work in the Craftsman Potters in London in the 50s, and I realised that’s what I wanted to do.

Sporting Hero: The 1976 Grand Slam Welsh team – I can’t possibly pick just one because they played so well together.

Favourite Grogg: 'Gareth Edwards Hand Off'