Thursday, January 13, 2011

Made in England...Really?!

Really! Made in England! Oh how that takes us back, back to a time where a very small little island just north of the European landmass practically ran the world.

Indeed England has been described as a lump of coal surrounded by fish and with that natural resource, the Brits started and starred in the Industrial Revolution. The steam engine was invented because England's coal mines needed to be pumped of water and good old horse power wasn't enough.

The Brits made textiles, ships and sailed the world, colonizing more or less every single part of it. In fact, they conquered so many lands that they were forced to come up with such insipid names as the Sandwich Islands.

They gave birth to the USA and played an integral part in winning the war and then, well, nothing happened...

Okay, so nothing is a little bit unfair but manufacturing in England has seen such a big decline in recent decades that the once bustling ports are even more barren than they were when the Beatles had to flee to Hamburg to get a gig!

But even though more or less every gainfully employed Brit is now in the service industry, there are pockets of manufacturing - making things...some of them even by hand - and we have stumbled on one such pocket. Who would have thought it would be in South London?

Barbara Wiggins Designs create amazing leather products and stationery and they have been a huge hit already. Unique, hand crafted and using only incredibly high quality, natural materials, the Barbara Wiggins range is created (in London) using old world techniques of leather-working, with hammer, chisel, stitching et cetera.

From the contemporary Vintage Crackle range, the classic Italian range and the innovative Fresco range, Barbara Wiggins notebooks, albums and diaries restore British manufacturing to its heyday - even if only on a small, hand made scale.

The leather quality is amazing but its the littler things - the font used inside the diaries, the cream paper being crisp and substantial - that make me proud to be a subject of Her Majesty!

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