Reviewed by Rob Fiehn, Society Trustee
By Carmel King and Mark Brearley, texts by Clare Dowdy. Published by Merrell Publishers
Made in London is an ode to the manufacturing that takes place within the confines of the city limits. Created by Mark Brearley – himself an owner of Kaymet, a company that is known for its aluminium trays – the book takes us on a journey across the length and breadth of the capital to explore different sites of production, whether it’s a large-scale factory or a micro workshop. From glass eyes to go-karts, it is a joy to be reminded that these types of businesses continue to thrive despite rumours to the contrary. He paints a picture of creativity and manufacture that warms the heart but it could easily change if we don’t value the impact that craft and making has on local areas and the communities within them.
The book begins with Brearley’s foreword on his research into at least 4,000 industrial spaces, with hopeful tales of new coffee roasters, beer brewers and bread bakers. He also points us to the heritage brands that have managed to survive over the years, such as Kashket & Partners (who make military dress uniforms) and the kings of sugar Tate & Lyle. However, many of these businesses are feeling the pressures of the continual march of development, as the urgent need for housing pushes up land values and threatens to displace the artisan.
The bulk of the book explores 50 examples of manufacturers, all beautifully represented with photographs by Carmel King and words by Clare Dowdy. They are divided up into chapters by the type of thing produced, such as Clothing & Shoes or Furniture & Woodwork, with little insights into the creation and running of these wonderful places. The success of the publication is founded on the fact that it traverses craft, making and industry. There is no sense of hierarchy or division when considering different scales, each have their own value.
This topic is important for those that love to explore London’s past via the things the city makes for itself, as well as those that care about protecting its future as a place for creativity and production.
To find out more and purchase 'Made in London', click through here