Red List 2019 in the press

TelegraphFollowing the launch of the Red List of Endangered Crafts 2019 edition, the story was picked up across a range of print and broadcast media.

The Daily Mail ran with a double-page spread entitled  ‘Save our skills’, with the its online edition opting for ‘Holding on to Britain’s heritage’.

The Express featured ‘Ancient crafts under threat as vital skills not passed on’ and it was also reported on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme and BBC Alba.

Magazines including Country Life, Homes & Antiques and the Countryman also covered the story, with Reclaim magazine producing a special 16-page supplement on at-risk heritage crafts.

Here’s a selection of the coverage:

Save our SkillsThe New York Times
‘Just How Endangered Is Watchmaking?’
20 Feb 2019

Epoch Times
‘Holding On to Heritage Crafts’
20 Feb 2019

Reclaim magazine
‘British Heritage Crafts’ (16 page supplement)
March 2019 edition

The Countryman
‘Heritage Crafts Conservation’, pp. 40-44
March 2019 edition

Homes and Antiques magazine
‘The art of survival’, pp. 130-135
April 2019 edition

Mail Online
‘Holding on to Britain’s heritage’
8 March 2019

Daily Mail
‘Save our skills!’ pp. 36-37
9 March 2019

Daily Express
‘Ancient crafts under threat as vital skills not passed on’, pp. 20-21
9 March 2019

Daily Telegraph
‘Last in Line’, p.11
9 March 2019

BBC Radio 4 Today (from 1.49:24)
9 March 2019

Daily Mirror
’36 old crafts set to vanish’, p. 33
9 March 2019

The Herald
‘Dozens of ancient crafts are now listed as dying arts’, p. 10
9 March 2019

Daily Record
‘Extinction threat to UK crafts’, p. 34
9 March 2019

Country Life
‘On the danger list’
13 March 2019

BBC Alba
An Là (News) (from 24:18)
14 March 2019

South Downs trug making

The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts

 

South Downs trug making

 

The making of traditional handmade garden baskets known as South Down trugs from birch plywood for the body and coppiced sweet chestnut for the frame (see also Sussex trug making).

 

Status Endangered
Craft category Wood
Historic area of significance East Sussex
Area currently practised East Sussex
Origin in the UK 1960s
Current no. of professionals (main income) 5
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
7
Current no. of trainees 1
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required

 

History

The design of the South Down trug is based on the traditional Sussex trug (see separate entry), but is made of birch plywood instead of cleft willow. It was developed in the 1960s by Lawrence and Dudley Hide.

 

Techniques

 

 

Local forms

 

 

Sub-crafts

 

 

Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • Overseas competition: Chinese-made imitations of the South Down trug have flooded the world market, thus reducing the number of UK South Down trugs made and sold.

 

Support organisations

 

Craftspeople currently known

  • Robin Tuppen at the Cuckmere Trug Company (incorporating Thomas Smith’s Trug Shop) – based in Magham Down, Hailsham. As of February 2017 there are five trug makers, including three apprentices aged 21 and under. As well as making the South Down trug they also make the traditional Sussex trug (see separate entry).
    Kevin Skinner at Trug Makers – based in Hailsham.

 

Other information

Robin Tuppen of Cuckmere Trugs has formed a not-for-profit limited company to create a Sussex Trug Heritage Centre, as a centre of excellence for the making of both the Sussex trug and the South Down trug and to train young people to become craftsmen trug makers.

 

References

 

Clog making

The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts

 

Clog making

 

The hand making of clogs with leather uppers and wooden soles. Soles are either carved entirely by hand (see separate entry on hand-carved soles) or a combination of band saw and hand tools. This entry does not include the production of factory-made soles or the assembly of pre-made parts.

 

Status Endangered
Craft category Wood, leather
Historic area of significance At its height it was primarily an urban craft, especially industrial centres in the north of England, but present UK-wide.
Area currently practised Cardiff, Herefordshire, Sheffield, Stockport, North Wales, West Yorkshire and Lancashire.
Origin in the UK Roman
Current no. of professionals (main income) 4
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
1-5
Current no. of trainees 1
Current total no. serious amateur makers
Current total no. of leisure makers
1-5
Minimum no. of craftspeople required

 

History

Traditional clogs developed as a strong type of footwear that was better in water and heat than conventional leather-soled footwear. They were often worn in heavy labour, but today the variants are considered for everyday wear. The interest in clogs ranges from the fashion industry to the general public and they are often still worn by factory workers due to their durability and comfort. One of the largest markets for clogs nowadays is as leisure wear for clog step dancers and Morris dancers.

 

Techniques

 

Local forms

In the UK, clogs always have a leather upper and a wooden sole. Any local variations were rather homogenized in the Victorian era, although a lot of Welsh slippers in SW Wales and toe shapes still varied. It was said that you could ‘tell a man’s village by the cut of his clogs’.

 

Sub-crafts

  • Pattern making

Ancillary activities including clog iron manufacture and toe-tin manufacture were once carried on as separate commercial operations: this practice is now extinct and clog makers have to make their own such items, or rely on old stock.

 

Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • Supply of raw material (wood in the round) may be a little erratic if makers can’t find a reliable source – makers cannot afford to buy timber of appropriate thickness from timber merchants at marked-up prices, nor would this be at an appropriate moisture content for hand-carving.
  • Supply of components.
  • Skill shortages.

 

Support organisations

  • Association of Polelathe Turners and Greenwood Workers

 

Craftspeople currently known

  • Jeremy Atkinson, Herefordshire (fully hand-carved soles) – was taught by Hywell Davies and has travelled in Spain and France researching European clog-making traditions.
  • Simon Brock, Sheffield (band saw cut soles) – uses a bandsaw to rough the shape, with stock knives for some shaping and all hollowing and a router to create the grip.
  • Mike Cahill (band saw cut soles)
  • John Fox (band saw cut soles)
  • Phil Howard, Stockport (band saw cut soles)
  • Trefor Owen, Cricieth, Gwynedd (band saw cut soles) – semi retired
  • Geraint Parfitt, St Fagans National History Museum, Cardiff (fully hand-carved soles)
  • Robin Shepherd (band saw cut soles)

JoJo Wood, based in Birmingham, is learning the craft of clog making with hand-cut soles. Scotland’s last clogmaker Godfrey Wimpenny Smith died in 2015.

 

Other information

 

 

References

  • Clogs and clogmaking (Shire Album) – and associated bibliography
  • Dobson, Bob, Concerning Clogs
  • Vigeon, Evelyn, Clog or Wooden Soled Shoes

Wooden pipe making

The HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts

 

Wooden pipe making

 

The making of smoking pipes from wood, typically briar (see also clay pipe making).

 

Status Endangered
Craft category
Historic area of significance UK, with a focus on London, where many of the factories were based and the Dunhill factory still operates.
Area currently practised UK
Origin in the UK 19th century
Current no. of professionals (main income) 7 plus unknown number of workers at Dunhill factory
Current no. of professionals (sideline to main income)
Current no. of trainees 1 – Paul Hubert is currently training his son
Current total no. serious amateur makers
2-3
Current total no. of leisure makers
Minimum no. of craftspeople required

 

History

While clay pipes have been made since the 16th century, wooden pipes are a relatively new introduction, with factories set up around London in the 19th century importing briar from the Mediterranean. Many classical pipe shapes such as the billiard, bulldog and Dublin were developed which are still followed today, either in strict accordance or as inspiration for more individualistic forms.

It has only been since WW2 that pipes have been commercially made by individual artisan makers. Some of these makers use components they buy in and combine with their own handmade parts to assemble what are known as hand finished pipes, while others make all of their components by hand from raw materials.

 

Techniques

The most common wood for pipe bowls is briar, but others such as bog oak, strawberry wood are also used. Pipe stems are commonly made from ebonite/vulcanite or acrylic, but alternative materials include polyester, horn, antler or amber.

Pipe bowls are turned on a lathe and then reoriented and turned again to form the neck. They are then hand worked using abrasion to form the finished shape, then married with the drilled stem and the transition is worked smooth. The pipe is then finished with either a high sheen or a texture created by sandblasting or similar method. Pipes can also include metal bands or inserts.

Today pipes are also being made by CNC machine, based on designs by master pipemakers. From the standard shapes, pipes can deviate to more uneven organic forms and highly individualistic shapes.

Despite the low number of makers, some of the pipes being made today are probably the best that have ever been made, thanks to developments in materials, tools and the heightening expectations of aficionados and collectors.

 

Local forms

 

 

Sub-crafts

  • Meerschaum pipes – these pipes are made from the mineral sepiolite rather than wood, though they are rarely made in the UK due in part to the difficulty of obtaining the material

 

Issues affecting the viability of the craft

  • The number of smokers is declining due to health concerns.
  • There are many poor quality pipes being sold at high prices – some customers aren’t educated enough to distinguish between high and low quality.
  • Social media is becoming increasingly influential, but not all makers have the ability to take advantage of it, hence the undue prominence of poor quality pipes from those who know how to exploit social media.
  • The US, one of the main markets for UK pipes, is currently becoming more protectionist. Tariffs have not yet been imposed but there is a feeling that Americans are less inclined to buy from overseas.
  • There are no apprenticeships as such – current makers are either ex-factory workers or individuals who have learnt through a combination of trial and error and seeking out help and advice from other makers.
  • Skilled factory workers focus exclusively on specific elements of the production process, so if that factory closed down it is unlikely that many of them would be able to set up as artisan makers making pipes in their entirety.
  • Pipe makers need to be able to talk to and see the work of other makers in order to keep quality at its utmost, and that becomes harder the fewer makers there are.
    Sometimes pipe makers are excluded from events and networking opportunities with craftspeople of other disciplines because of attitudes around tobacco use.

 

Support organisations

 

Craftspeople currently known

Businesses employing two or more people:

  • Dunhill Pipes, Walthamstow

 

Other information

 

 

References