Friday, 26 February 2010


Smiths clocks were made in Cricklewood, London. Mr.Barrie Smith knows an awful lot about the company's history (and is rather fond of comic sans.)

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


'Dan Rudge built the first Rudge High bicycles in 1870. In 1894 it merged with the Whitworth Cycle Co to form Rudge-Whitworth. They made an excellent reputation for themselves over the next twenty years for producing a full range of beautifully made machines with many clever and unique features and ridden by King George V and family.

Their road racers were widely used and they diversified into motorcycles in the early 20th century. In 1935 they were bought by EMI (the record company) and under Jack Lauterwasser¹s direction produced some superb top end racers as well as more mundane machines. EMI however soon decided that cycles were not for them and Rudge was sold to Raleigh in 1943. Raleigh had acquired Humber in 1933 and were to acquire many others after WWII and soon used the Rudge name to badge engineer what were essentially Raleigh machines with Rudge pattern fork crown and chainwheel. Hence there were Rudge versions of the Lenton and of the Clubmen.

The name was finally killed sometime I think in the early 60s in Britain but may well have been used in export markets later. In Britain the name used on rebadged Montague folders in about 1989.'

Hilary Stone on Classic Rendezvous, 26th June 2000

Image from Jim Langley's treasure trove of a site

Monday, 22 February 2010


Plenty of doom-mongering doing the rounds regarding the situation on Teeside but some fascinating images courtesy of the BBC here: Corus steel plant

'Industrialists must inject "capital, brain power and passion" into manufacturing if they want the sector to regain dominance from financial services, according to Nestle's UK chief': Yorkshire Post

A noise row threatens 160 jobs at a factory in Derbyshire where they make parts for Rolls Royce as well as other aero-engine manufacturers: The Star

Sunday, 21 February 2010


We visited the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green today and thoroughly enjoyed the current exhibition, 'Sit Down: Seating for Kids', sponsored by Ercol. Designs by Charles and Ray Eames, Robin Day and Thomas Chippendale are amongst those featured. The main hall also plays host to the Ercol chair arch (pictured), commissioned by Wallpaper* magazine and previously exhibited at the V&A in South Kensington.

Curators Catherine Bornet and Noreen Marshall have created a show that brings a potentially dull subject to life, helped greatly by playful illustrations by Emma Houlston and 3D design from Wells Mackereth.

The show deserves extra praise for its efforts to engage children (and adults, of course) in the chair manufacturing process:

'The earliest of these seats (1680) look back to a tradition where designer and maker were the same craft worker. Even when individual furniture designers became fashionable and well known, like Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779), they usually began by learning practical techniques. More recently Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) was a jeweller and sculptor as well as a designer and Verner Panton (1926-1998) trained as an architectural engineer.'

Sit Down: Seating for Kids closes on 5th September 2010. Admission to the exhibition is FREE. V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA. Nearest tube: Bethnal Green. Open daily: 10.00 – 17.45, last admission 17.30. Switchboard: 020 8983 5200

Images from Emma Houlston's site

Friday, 19 February 2010


My ears pricked up when I heard about this whilst listening to BBC Radio 4 the other morning. According to the show's presenter Monty Don, many of the crafts featured take three years to master so he couldn't immerse himself in the process as much as he would have liked. He has gardens to tend you see.

Here's what the BBC website has to say on the series:

'Under Monty's watchful eye, three hopefuls who are passionate about learning these trades are put through their paces by the country's leading practitioners of wood craft, metalwork, thatching, stonemasonry, weaving and stained glass. After six weeks of apprenticeship and labour, their work and achievements are judged by experts in their chosen field to see who has best mastered the craft.'

Wednesday, 17 February 2010


Earlier this week Manufacture & Industry had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Jim Pickles, director of D.S DUNDEE at the inaugural Stitch menswear trade show at Old Billingsgate Market.

Pickles founded the traditional heritage label in the mid 90s in Scotland with Ollie Pilcher, a fashion photographer. After doing their own thing for a few years they relaunched the label in late 2007 and are now based in Dalston, London.

We were immediately drawn to the brand's 'Made in the UK' labels so asked them a few questions:

M&I: Where are you selling your wares?

JP: We've our own store on Spitalfields market, opposite the Ten Bells pub. It's been a pop-up situation but we're hoping to make it more permanent. We've been there since mid-December and it's gone brilliantly, we've virtually sold out.

M&I: Why Spitalfields for the store?

JP: A, it's a mile down the road from the studio and B, it's on the edge of the city so we get a good mix of the city boys, the tourist trade on Sundays and you also get the hip East London guys too. It's becoming a bit of a destination now with a few other mens brands having moved in, the new Covent Garden, I think.

M&I: Can you explain a little about how you source and produce your collections in the UK?

JP: Since we set out on the relaunch we've been all about sourcing traditional heritage fabrics and have been working closely with a lot of the tweed and woolen mills that still exist in Scotland, Yorkshire - the traditional roots of the industry. By visiting them we look through their stock collections and we've come across some really nice traditional fabrics like the Melton, the tweeds; we're now working with Harris Tweed on one of our styles. So we're getting hold of these traditional fabrics and putting them into a more contemporary fit and styling.

M&I: What is the importance of having a connection with the UK for the brand?

JP: It's really important to have a link to the UK in terms of either the cloth or the manufacturing. It's very difficult from a business perspective to have both because then it becomes a very expensive product and a lot of the time it is very difficult to find the manufacturers who will help you out, especially when you're dealing with smaller numbers as you're starting out. Sometimes you just can't find manufacturers full-stop. In terms of the knitwear, we're working with a factory up in the Scottish borders that produce for us. The tailoring, all the manufacturing we get done in Portugal but using the UK cloths. The footwear, we're working with Cheaney of Northampton, that's been fantastic for us this season, we've had some very good orders placed on those. The Fair-Isles are hand-knitted up in the Shetland Isles, by a company called Jamieson's. They've been going down particularly well with the Japanese market.

M&I: What are the benefits of D.S DUNDEE being made in the UK?

JP: You've got the menswear consumer who works against the high-street, mass-produced, sweatshop thing. They want to buy into a brand like us, where they can buy a piece that will last them season after season. They'll maybe spend the same amount on one piece as they would on several high-street items, but they will only last a couple of years before being out of shape and ruined in the wash.

M&I: Do you work to a seasonal cycle?

JP: We do the two main collections, Spring/Summer (S/S) and Autumn/Winter (A/W). With the fabrics that we use, because it's British stuff, it is heavier cloth as the sheep are more hardy. Therefore the A/W season is stronger for us but we're going to try and make the S/S season just as good by focussing on accessories and a Scottish nautical theme. We'll be doing luggage, we're doing a collaboration with a UK trainer manufacturer, Mors. We're keen on the dual UK brand thing.

D.S DUNDEE's store can be found at 105A Commercial Street, Spitalfields Market, London E1 6BG

For a full list of stockists click here.

Also worth a look is the D.S DUNDEE blog, we particularly enjoyed the field trip to Marling & Evans.

Picture from D.S DUNDEE's flickr resource.

Monday, 15 February 2010


Interesting work from our favourite yeast extract here. According to The Dieline, the 'Marmarati' were given responsibility to refine the flavour of the viscous spread. Quite how this could be achieved is beyond us but we are impressed with the regal packaging by Core Design nonetheless.

Friday, 12 February 2010


Last year we had the good fortune to visit Arber & Co. on Roman Road, Bow. Whilst there, Mr. Gary Arber showed us the Heidelberg press in action. He also told us about how the suffragettes printed their propaganda at no. 459 and of his time flying bombers in the Air Force. A similar experience is documented here.

We highly recommend Mr. Arber's telephone message notepads and welcoming nature.

Thursday, 11 February 2010


New branded awnings, the development of a brewery/pub/restaurant to open in March (coinciding with the 10 year anniversary of the company) - 2010 looks set to be a memorable one for Greenwich's Meantime Brewery.

Click on the title to go to Meantime's blog.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010


Originally named The Kingston Brewery, founded in about 1610. The brewery was sold to William Hodgson in 1854. It was acquired by Courage in 1943 and ceased to brew in 1965.

(According to Richmond, L and Turton, A in The Brewing Industry, Manchester University Press, 1990)

It appears that there is very little other information regarding Hodgson's available on the internet. These photos were purchased from this gentleman (who has been a member of the delightfully titled 'Ephemera Society' since 1987) on eBay.

Monday, 8 February 2010


An excerpt from Nigel Slater's 'Eating for England' (Fourth Estate Ltd, 2007):

'There used to be an unwritten law that a Tunnock's Caramel Wafer be included in every packed lunch, although the less law-abiding among us might have been known to sneak any old bar into the long, narrow margin between the sandwich and the side of the box. Rectangular bars of sesame, dates, apricot, almonds, spirolina, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed and carageen moss have replaced the layers of crisp wafer, toffee and thin, milky chocolate that make up a Tunnock's.'

Thursday, 4 February 2010


South Londoner James Bowthorpe cycled around the world last year. He completed the 18,000 mile ride across 20 countries in less than six months, beating the world record by 20 days. He also raised a sizeable amount of money for What’s Driving Parkinson’s, a research clinic at King’s College Hospital in London in the process.

Obviously, cycling over 100 miles a day for half a year requires a quality saddle so it was no surprise to read this in The Financial Times (Weekend of 19/20th September 2009):

'I'm sitting on a Brooks saddle that I have had for about 10 years. If you have time to wear one in and are prepared to do a minimum of upkeep (rubbing in a spot of dubbin every now and then) they're unbeatable.'

Image from the fantastic website of Mr. Jim Langley (although we do advise readers to turn the volume down when visiting).

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


In 1886 Birmingham photographer John Collier documented the Exhibition of Local Manufactures and Natural History.

The selection of exhibits was limited 'to the leading manufacturers in their respective branches, or to any firm producing a speciality, with the view of showing the great variety of trades, and the excellence of work produced.'

We were very disappointed to learn that we missed a mini-retrospective of the original exhibition last year. However, the accompanying booklet, created by Brighton-based Studio Makgill, is enough to whet the appetite.

Monday, 1 February 2010


Title: Manufacturing Processes For Design Professionals
Author: Rob Thompson
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Year of Publication: 2007

Image from design blog