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Burleigh is a combination of the names of William Leigh and Frederick Rathbone Burgess. The company was started by two different potters by the name of Hulme and Booth in Burslem in 1851. Burgess and Leigh took over this business in 1862.

The business moved to the Middleport pottery, where it still resides now, in 1889. In 1912 the Leigh family took total control over the company after buying the part still owned by the descendants of Mr. Rathbone Burgess.

The pottery, so far known as Burgess and Leigh gradually became known as Burleigh in the 20th century.

The 1990s were very difficult for the company. In the end of this decade the Dorling family bought the brand. Due to an enormous effort to restore the Middleport pottery in 2011 the home of the company was saved for future generations.

Burleigh is now a thriving company producing wares in the way they have always been done, by underglaze transfer printing. Today this is a rare art. The company is now owned by Denby pottery.

Through strategic acquisitions of competing companies, for example the Davenport pottery in 1887, the company managed to build an uniquely large archive of moulds. Almost all items produced are made using these historic examples.