Established in 1965, the World of Groggs had a somewhat humble beginning. In what was first a desperate attempt to escape the rat race, founder John Hughes entered the world of ceramics via a back garden shed, and the first of the Groggs were born. From this makeshift studio came an army of weird and wonderful creations – mythical creatures from Welsh legend, small animal caricatures and ashtrays, along with the now unmistakable sporting ‘Uglies’, clay rugby figures which would become the template for the future.
John working in the Groggshop early 70's ~ The 'Shed' in Llantwit Road late 60's ~ An early glazed Clown.
With the increasing success of Welsh rugby, a shed was no longer enough to sustain this developing ceramic community. The World of Groggs was growing fast and needed a suitable home. The derelict Dan-y-Graig pub on the Broadway in Pontypridd provided the space and location for the Groggs to flourish and became a permanent base in 1971. The building was converted, painted in Welsh colours and given a name. The Groggshop gallery and studio had begun.
The former 'Dan-Y-Graig Arm's now John Hughes Pottery early 70's ~ Richard (12) working on his favourite subject.
The following years saw the tradition of the Groggs develop into a family legacy. After choosing a career in ceramics over further education, Richard and Cathy followed their father into the business. Combining talent and years of paternal encouragement, Richard joined forces with John to keep the Grogg Hall of Fame growing ever faster, taking over making the faces in 1978. As Welsh rugby entered the Golden Era, the World of Groggs followed, celebrating the Welsh team with figures of Wales ’ sporting heroes, including Gareth, Barry, Gerald, Phil, JPR, Mervyn and the legendary Pontypool Front Row. This won the Groggs global recognition, not to mention a few famous fans! The list of supporters has become even bigger since, with a legion of avid collectors and an array of household names who love being a part of the World of Groggs’ heritage.
Richard works on Dai Morris ~ Cathy paints a large action JPR in 1983.
Over time, the range at the Groggshop has grown to encompass many different subjects. These include sporting heroes, stars of the film and music world, humorous animals and professional characters. Also, a nod towards Welsh history; representations of the famous dragon and a reminder of our industrial past in the Land of My Fathers Collection . These figures, depicting traditional colliers from a bygone era, are true to life and were modelled on the coal-mining ancestors of the Hughes family. The Grogg family is steadily increasing every year to include more old favourites and the stars of tomorrow, but the World of Groggs keeps its focus firmly on creating highly collectible pieces of outstanding quality and workmanship. Customers can be assured that every figure has been individually designed, created and made in Wales and the low production increases the product’s desirability and value.
The Grogg Team 2011 & 2015.
Despite boasting an excellent website and worldwide mail order service, the Hughes family love collectors, new customers and tourists to visit the Groggshop itself. Here one can view the full collection of figures along with the museum, a monument to Grogg history spanning the shop’s 45 year establishment. A vast range of treasured memorabilia can be found here, including shirts, socks and boots of rugby and soccer stars alongside the famous autograph wall where many famous visitors have left their mark. Photographs of personalities with their prized figures can be seen at every turn, making the World of Groggs a must-see for any Grogg fan. There is always a warm welcome waiting for visitors, along with the opportunity to chat about your favourite Groggs!
Some Famous quotes from the past.
"....The most famous pieces of rugby pottery on Earth!" - First XV Rugby Magazine
"In Welsh Rugby, to win an International Cap is to achieve a lifetime's ambition; to get 19 caps, is to prove yourself as an International among internationals; but to have a Grogg made of yourself is the rarest of honours and the surest sign that you have entered the myth." -Nick Pitt, The Sunday Times 1995
"To be selected for immortality in the pantheon of Groggs in this way, (Neil) Jenkins says, is perceived by many sportsmen as an honour somewhere between a knighthood and an appearance on Desert Island Discs. 'A Welsh Cap comes first,' he grins. 'Then becoming a Grogg, and third comes selection for the Lions.'" - Alan Road, The Times 1999
".....The Madam Tussauds of the Valleys...." -South Wales Echo
"Many nations have their rugby cartoonists but none boasts a potter caracaturist like this son of a miner who took up his unique craft after becoming tired of local government. John Hughes' products are treasured by the player themselves, they sell to rugby folk all over the world, and some fanatics have even asked to be buried with 'Gareth' or 'Barry' beside them in the coffin."-David Parry Jones, The Rugby Clubs of Wales
"Forget all the accolades heaped on Will Carling by the critics, the true test of fame is the popularity of his Grogg Shop figure." -Rugby News 1991
"One of the places I always like to take them (visiting friends) is to the Groggshop - although it's not a large shop you can spend ages browsing as there is so much to see and the Hughes family are not only clever in they do, they are also extremely friendly - and rugby mad!" - Raewyn Henry, South Wales Echo 1999