Been and Gone

This page is about companies that you might expect to manufacture in the UK but actually manufacture abroad and companies who used to manufacture in the UK but do not anymore and British manufacturing companies that have closed down.

Thermos flasks used to be made in the UK. Sadly, nowadays they are all foreign made.

A vintage made in England Thermos flask.

A vintage made in England Thermos flask.

A vintage made in England Thermos flask. Front view. Photograph by author 29 May 2017.

A vintage made in England Thermos flask. Underside “Made in England” label view. Photograph by author 29 May 2017.

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Standard Fireworks, once one of Yorkshire’s largest employers and, together with Scotland’s Brock Fireworks (an older but smaller company dating back to the early 1700s) who they purchased in 1988, the mainstay of British fireworks and a household name, were purchased by China’s Black Cat Fireworks in 1998 and the factory closed and production was moved to China.

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The bulldozers move in on Birmingham’s Dunlop motorsport factory  – An article by British Family.

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Avery and Salter scales –  I was at Rangoon Airport (pictured below) recently and they are still using old made in England Avery scales everyday and they are in perfect working order. Historically both the famous Avery scales and Salter household scales were all made in the UK. Sadly Avery and Salter now produce all their products in China (as confirmed in an email from Salter of 16 May 2015). I am pretty sure they will not get this kind of longevity from their Chinese made products.

Old made in England Avery weighing scales still in use at Rangoon Airport (in the domestic terminal) February 2015.

Old made in England Avery weighing scales still in use at Rangoon Airport (in the domestic terminal) February 2015. Photograph by author.

Old Avery made in England Scales still in use at LYP Faisalabad (Lyallpur) Airport in Pakistan on 25 Aug 2015

Old Avery made in England scales still in use at LYP Faisalabad (Lyallpur) Airport in Pakistan on 25 Aug 2015. Photograph by author.

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HP Sauce – not made in the UK anymore!  Others do make brown sauce in the UK – for alternatives please click this hyperlink.

The HP Sauce factory in Birmingham in 2006. The factory was demolished in the summer of 2007. HP Sauce (now owned by Heinz) is no longer made in Britain. HP still use an image of the House of Commons on their bottles, which of course they should not.

The HP Sauce factory in Birmingham in 2006. The factory was demolished in the summer of 2007. HP Sauce (now owned by Heinz) is no longer made in Britain. HP still use an image of the House of Commons on their bottles, which of course they should not.

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The last two cigarette factories in UK are to close. Production is to move to Germany and Poland or Romania. Imperial Tobacco is to close its Nottingham factory by 2016. Cigarette maker JTI Gallaher (now Japanese owned) is to shut its factory in County Antrim by around 2016. Cigarette companies have been quietly shutting down other factories in the UK, for example Gallaher shut its Oldham factory in around 2000, its Belfast plant in 1988 and its Port Talbot cigar factory in Wales in 1994. Imperial closed its cigar factory in Bristol in 2010. Despite the move to foreign production, products still bear the word “England” in an attempt to deceive customers.

Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco no longer to be made in England

Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco no longer to be made in England.

Old Holborn Original hand rolling tobacco. Made in the UK. Photograph by author. Front view. Old Holborn is a brand of hand rolling tobacco produced by Richard Lloyd & Sons (a subsidiary of Gallaher Group which itself is a subsidiary of Japan Tobacco).

Old Holborn Original hand rolling tobacco. Made in the UK. Photograph by author. Front view. Old Holborn is a brand of hand rolling tobacco produced by Richard Lloyd & Sons (a subsidiary of Gallaher Group which itself is a subsidiary of Japan Tobacco).

Old Holborn Original hand rolling tobacco. Photograph by author. Back view. The words "Made in the UK" are clearly visible but this won't be the case much longer if Japan Tobacco go ahead with closing the UK factory.

Old Holborn Original hand rolling tobacco. Photograph by author. Back view. The words “Made in the UK” are clearly visible but this won’t be the case much longer if Japan Tobacco go ahead with closing the UK factory.

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Sky-line “BOTTLE-BOY” – how can it be that a company producing great things in England like the waiters friend below is not longer going?

Sky-line "BOTTLE BOY" BOTTLE OPENER (cork puller, cap lifter, lid flipper) made in England Metal 12.5cm.

Sky-line “BOTTLE BOY” BOTTLE OPENER (cork puller, cap lifter, lid flipper) made in England Metal 12.5cm.

Or for that matter a company who produced great little tin openers like that below. This Morfed (South Wales) Limited British Army Tin Opener was made in Great Britain in 1974. Sadly Morfed (South Wales) Ltd ceased trading around 1980. The company made spectacle joints & metal buttons & buckles & industrial pressings. There are some great pictures of a ration pack issued to soldiers of the 1st Battalion, King’s Own Royal Regiment in the 1950s (which included a Morfed tin opener) here.

Morfed (South Wales) Limited British Army Genuine Tin Opener (made in 1974). Made in Great Britain.

Morfed (South Wales) Limited British Army Tin Opener (made in 1974). Made in Great Britain.

This is another unused "Morfed" compo tin opener, made in Caerphilly in 1976. These made in Great britain can openers work so well.

This is another unused “Morfed” compo tin opener, made in Caerphilly, in 1976. These made in Great Britain can openers work so well.  Such a shame they don’t make them anymore.

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Christy Towels emphasise their long British heritage on their website and somehow give the impression of the towels being British made, whereas in fact this Indian owned company now makes all its towels in Gujarat, India having moved its operations there in 2010.

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Hammersley and Co (more information here) were founded in 1887 and made lovely fine bone china. In 1970 Hammersley was bought by Carborundum who had already purchased W. T. Copeland / Spode in 1966. In 1976 the companies merged with Royal Worcester to become Royal Worcester Spode. The Hammersley trade name was taken over by Palissy Pottery Ltd, part of the group, in 1982 and the Hammersley’s Works closed in that year. In December 1988 the use of the Hammersley and Palissy trade names ceased and in 1989 Palissy closed and the factory was demolished. The Palissy Company and the Hammersley trade name were sold to Aynsley China in 1989. As far as I know neither name is now used. Royal Worcester and Spode are now owned by Portmeirion.

A small Hammersley vase (about 5" tall) with a wild strawberries design/ Marked on the base "Bone China Hammersley Made in England" with an acorn and a crown marking and the numbers "20-3". photograph by author.

A small Hammersley vase (about 5″ tall) with a wild strawberries design.  Marked on the base “Bone China Hammersley Made in England” with an acorn and a crown marking and the numbers “20-3”. Photograph by author.

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Ballinger was a brand of Nater Workwear (AKA Khush Workwear) and until recently (2013) they had their own factory manufacturing quality country wear in the UK, but sadly they are no longer a manufacturer and are just a retailer. They had some old stock left on eBay and on their website at the end of 2013.

Ballinger CHECK LINED QUILTED BODYWARMER. Made in England.

Ballinger CHECK LINED QUILTED BODYWARMER. Made in England.

Ballinger DIAMOND QUILTED JACKET. Made in England

Ballinger DIAMOND QUILTED JACKET. Made in England.

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Hotpoint was a British manufacturer of domestic domestic appliances (white goods).  It is now owned by Italian company Indesit who have since closed down most Hotpoint UK factories. Hotpoint products are now generally imported, but I understand that some tumble dyers are still made in the UK. I asked Hotpoint / Indesit about this and they were less than forthcoming about where their products are made, but did confirm that some production still takes place in the UK and in Europe. They also stated that they are unable (read unwilling) to tell their customers where a particular product is made. There is a separate Hotpoint company in the USA making similar products but independent from Hotpoint in Europe and these products are not made in the UK.

Maggie's old Hotpoint made in Great Britain refrigerator, still in full working order in August 2013. Sadly Hotpoint do not manufacture in the UK anymore.

An old Hotpoint made in Great Britain refrigerator, still in full working order in August 2013. Sadly Hotpoint do not manufacture many of their products in the UK anymore. Photograph by author.

An old Hotpoint made in Great Britain cooker, in October 2015. Sadly Hotpoint do not manufacture in the UK anymore.

An old Hotpoint made in Great Britain cooker, in October 2015. Sadly Hotpoint do not manufacture in the UK anymore. Photograph by author.

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Hoover (vacuum cleaners) is another company who have closed all their UK factories.

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Dyson now make all their products abroad too.

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Anglepoise (formerly Herbert Terry) used to strike me as a very British brand and they used to manufacture everything in the UK, but sadly no more. Anglepoise now only make the Giant 1227 lamp in the UK. All their other lights are made in China under license. Interestingly new Anglepoise lamps are very expensive to buy, whereas you might expect otherwise now that Anglepoise are cheaply made in China.

An old Anglepoise desk lamp, still in full working order in August 2013. Made in England. Sadly Anglepoise desk lamps are now made in China.

An old Anglepoise desk lamp, still in full working order in August 2013. Made in England. Sadly Anglepoise desk lamps are now made in China. Photograph by author.

Beat the bogey of blackout lighting. Use a Terry Anglepoise Lamp. Advertisement from c. 1939

Beat the bogey of blackout lighting. Use a Terry Anglepoise Lamp. Advertisement from c. 1939

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Henry Heath’s 

The factory building remains, just behind Oxford Street and I don’t know when they closed. Once one of the world’s greatest hat makers and famous for their top hats. Henry Heath’s was acquired by Christys’ in the 1950s.

There’s an interesting article here entitled “Henry Heath’s Top Hats – an Extravagant Concoction” and another here about top hat etiquette.

Henry Heath Oxford Street Hat Factory, 20th August 2013. Photo by author.

Henry Heath Oxford Street Hat Factory, 20th August 2013. Photograph by author.

Top hat by Henry Heath Ltd. belonging to the National Trust and on display in the National Trust Carriage Museum. Undated. From internet 26.8.13

Top hat by Henry Heath Ltd. belonging to the National Trust and on display in the National Trust Carriage Museum. Undated. From internet 26.8.13

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Royal Sovereign Pencils

Closed. Today’s Royal Sovereign pencils are foreign made and are not the same company, just the same name.  Please see http://wp.me/p2KOue-Pu for more info.

I own this beautiful box of pencils in the below picture.  On the box it says – “Wolff’s Royal Sovereign British Made Pencils”. “Makers to H.M. Government and the Bank of England”. “By Special Appointment to His Majesty the King”. They don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Vintage-Wolff's Royal Sovereign British Made Pencils HB-Box with all 12 pencils

Vintage-Wolff’s Royal Sovereign British Made Pencils HB-Box with all 12 pencils.

Berol too are now foreign owned and only manufacture abroad.

Pecils. Modern England Derwent Graphic HB; Vintage Utility Blue SO Code No.48-11 Made in England; Vintage Made in England B Venus Drawing B By Appointment to H.M. The Queen Manufactuers of Venus Pencils Berol Ltd. King's Lynn & London.

Pencils. Modern England Derwent Graphic HB; Vintage Utility Blue SO Code No.48-11 Made in England; Vintage Made in England B Venus Drawing B By Appointment to H.M. The Queen Manufactuers of Venus Pencils Berol Ltd. King’s Lynn & London. Photograph by author.

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Mole Grips

I don’t think M.K. Mole and Son exists as a company any more, but I stand to be corrected on this.  Fabulous quality useful tools.

VINTAGE ORIGINAL 9" MOLE GRIP SELF LOCKING PLIER,MADE IN ENGLAND

VINTAGE ORIGINAL 9″ MOLE GRIP SELF LOCKING PLIER,MADE IN ENGLAND

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Witney Blankets

For over 300 years the small Oxfordshire town of Witney was famous for its blankets, which were exported all over the World. Sadly, the last blanket mill in Witney has now closed. Witney Blankets were not made by a single company or business but by lots of separate individuals and firms over the years. They came in very many different sizes, patterns, qualities, colours, materials and different methods were used to make them.

The nemesis of Witney Blankets was probably the introduction of widespread central heating, the rise in popularity of the duvet and cheap imports. Blankets are still made in the UK (for example by Hainsworth) but Early’s, the last blanket making company in Witney, closed down in 2002 (Witney Mill).

According to the Witney Blanket Story after the Early’s closed in Witney, the weaving machinery and the Early name was acquired by Quiltex, an American company, and transferred to their Derbyshire factory. BBC news states that Quiltex had already taken over Early’s of Witney by the time the Witney factory closed. After 2002 when Quiltex bought Earlys of Witney the blankets were produced at their factory in Derbyshire, and the company traded as Quiltex Earlys. The Quiltex website selling baby blankets and so on no longer works and it transpires that the sorry tale of Early’s solvency gets worse though as in 2012 Quiltex Earlys went into administration also and it seems a buyer for the company has not been found.

You can find out more about the history of Witney Blankets on this website:

http://web.archive.org/web/20070701034147/http://www.witneyblanketstory.org.uk/WBP.asp?navigationPage=Introduction

Label from a 'Witnedown' blanket made by Smith and Philips'.

Label from a ‘Witnedown’ blanket made by Smith and Philips’.

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Kernewek of Goonhavern, Cornwall

Again there is not such about this firm on the internet (or about Fosters of Redruth which was apparently set up by the Foster brothers, Michael and Reg, possibly in the 1960’s, with Reg Foster then going his own way and setting up Kernewek pottery). Nice stuff – they did things like soap dishes, gurgle jugs and brown (and blue) jugs and so on. I understand both companies have now closed down.

Vintage Kernewek soap dish. Made in England. 2

Vintage Kernewek soap dish. Made in England. 1

Vintage Kernewek soap dish. Made in England. 2

Vintage Kernewek soap dish. Made in England. 2

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AWS Made in England

AWS Made in England teapots were nice. Again, I assume they have gone? I can’t find much about this company on the internet.  Someone on the internet suggested it is a brand of Hornsea? Possibly Arthur Wood Stoke? Or Arthur Wood and Sons? Arthur Wood was purchased by Price and Kensington and now part of the Rayware Group and made abroad? Does anyone know anything about AWS?

A vintage AWS teapot

A vintage AWS teapot

A vintage AWS teapot. Back stamp view.

A vintage AWS teapot. Back stamp view.

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EIT England

EIT England made nice mugs. Does anyone know anything about them? I assume they have gone? I can’t find much about this company on the internet.  English Ironstone Tableware?

An EIT England mug

An EIT England mug. Photograph by author.

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Royal Kendal

Royal Kendal made beautiful things. Does anyone know anything about them? I assume they have gone? I can’t find much about this company on the internet.

Royal Kendal small dish

Royal Kendal small dish

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The Welsh Beaker Company made very nice mugs – Does anyone know what happened to them? Closed down I assume?  There’s not much about them on the net.

WELSH RUGBY UNION CENTENARY MUG 1981 ~ BY THE WELSH BEAKER COMPANY

WELSH RUGBY UNION CENTENARY MUG 1981 ~ BY THE WELSH BEAKER COMPANY

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Brixham Pottery – Sadly this company has closed.

Brixham Pottery interlocking circles tea-pot. Made in England.

Brixham Pottery interlocking circles tea-pot. Made in England.

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Stadium Inspection Light – Made in England – Nice bit of kit – Stuff like this or of this quality at least no longer made?

Stadium Inspection Light. Made in England.

Stadium Inspection Light. Made in England. Photograph by author.

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1980s British made Classic RALEIGH RECORD SPRINT racing bike – Sadly Raleigh now make all their bikes abroad.

1980s British made Classic RALEIGH RECORD SPRINT racing bike

1980s British made Classic RALEIGH RECORD SPRINT racing bike

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Morris Oxford – In 1952, Morris merged with rival Austin, under the umbrella of The British Motor Corporation, creating the fourth largest carmaker in the world, selling a wide range of models – including the third generation Morris Oxford, which lives on in India to this day under the Hindustan Ambassador badge.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21953578.  See below for a list of lost marques.

Ambassador

Ambassador

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Timex watches – These used to be made in Great Britain (Scotland) but they closed the factory and nowadays Timex watches are made abroad.

$T2eC16FHJH8E9qSEUctDBRRiu)4Dng~~60_12

Vintage manual wind Timex watch. Made in Great Britain.

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Hornsea Pottery – Sadly now closed down 😦

Hornsea Pottery Egg Cup 2

Hornsea Pottery Egg Cup 2. Photograph by author.

Hornsea Pottery Egg Cup 1

Hornsea Pottery Egg Cup 1. Photograph by author.

A vintage Hornsea Canister (biscuit barrel).

A vintage Hornsea Canister (biscuit barrel).

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Richardson Sheffield

Richardson Knives - made in China

Richardson Knives – now made in China

Richardson Sheffield is a major supplier of kitchen knives and scissors to the UK market. It is owned by the Dutch Amefa group.  Their knives used to be made in England (I have a set of Richardson kitchen knives that were made in England) but production is now in the Far East.  The company retains ‘Sheffield’ in its name which is an outright deception of British consumers and should not be allowed.

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Whitley Willows Ltd – Went into administration August 2010.  What a shame – this scarf they made is lovely.

MENS 100% MERINO LAMBSWOOL TARTAN SCARF ROYAL SCOT MADE IN GREAT BRITAIN by WHITLEY WILLOWS LTD, 9.11.12

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Matches

Household Matches – not made in the UK anymore :-(

Pretty much one of life’s essentials, but there does not seem to be a single ordinary match made in the UK nowadays.  S.J.Moreland and Sons and many other well known names were taken over by Bryant and May who were themselves taken over by Swedish Match who have now moved all their production to Sweden.

Octavius Hunt Ltd, founded in 1870 and the only match manufacturer left in the UK, make specialist matches such as Windproof/Waterproof Matches and smoke matches (which are primarily used in the plumbing industry in the UK to test boilers and ventilation shafts for leaks). All their matches are produced in their factory in Bristol. Aside from specialist matches, Octavius Hunt also make smoke products (pesticide smokes and natural smokes) and pyrotechnic products (sparklers, party poppers, smoke pellets, smoke grenades and so on).

Byant and May’s matches – Ordinary matches are no longer produced anywhere in the UK by Bryant and May or any other company.

Vintage Quaker Safety Matches. Made in England

Vintage Quaker Safety Matches. Made in England. Photograph by author.

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D.C. Thomson and Co annuals

D.C. Thomson and Co have discontinued great comics like the Topper and the Sparky and the only comic books they now sell, the Beano and the Dandy, are now printed in Italy. I am told that whilst the beano annuals are printed in Italy, the weeklies are still printed in Dundee along with the papers, but I have not verified this.

The Sparky Book 1974

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Walker and Hall

Walker and Hall of Sheffield made silverwear and cutlery, primarily in Sheffield but also at other UK locations.  I think it later became a retail jewellers, possibly part of Mappin and Webb / Goldsmiths although it is difficult to find much information on this company on the internet.  I think the retail jewellers have gone now too.  The company was established in 1845 but I do not know when it closed.  The factory was on Howard Street, Sheffield and at one point they apparently had showrooms all over the world.  At one point it might also have been part of British Silverwear Limited.

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Fairy Kitchen Soap

This household soap from Proctor & Gamble is no longer sold (or made presumably) in the UK 😦

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Radnor bone china England

I can’t find any information about this company, but they made beautiful small bone china flower arrangements, like the one below, in Staffordshire, England.

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Mason Cash

These were top quality bowls made in England; sadly now they are made abroad 😦 – I asked the company and they responded as follows “Many thanks for your enquiry; please be advise that none of the Mason Cash range are made in the UK.”

A Mason Cash made in England mixing bowl. Photograph by author.

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Moira Pottery – I don’t know much about this company, except I gather from the internet that they have closed down.  They made good quality cookware, like this dish.

A Moira dish (1). Photograph by author.

A Moira dish (2). Photograph by author.

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Van Heusen shirts

No longer manufactured or sold in the UK.

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Double Two shirts

No longer manufactured in the UK.  To quote from the companies website:

“In more recent years, production in the UK has become extremely expensive and the Group has gradually moved its production offshore and now manufactures throughout the Far East, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe. Only repairs and alterations are now done at Wakefield, although some garments also have embroidered logos added there.” At least Double Two are honest about this on their website and all credit to them for that. Their shirts are still of a good quality.

A vintage Double two Man's Shirt - Stripes - Size 17 1:2. Made in England. Front view

A vintage Double two Man’s Shirt – Stripes – Size 17 1:2. Made in England. Front view Photograph by author.

A vintage Double two Man's Shirt - Stripes - Size 17 1/2. Made in England. Label view

A vintage Double two Man’s Shirt – Stripes – Size 17 1/2. Made in England. Label view. Photograph by author.


Morris

The closure of the British Motoring Corporation (BMC) and its successors (including British Leyland) in 2005 meant the end of mass car production by British-owned manufacturers and the loss or move to foreign ownership of many well known marques (as well as the best-selling mini which is now owned by BMW) including amongst others: WolseleyLanchesterLeyland Motors (commercial vehicles, buses and trolley buses) – Leyland Trucks now belongs to American truck manufacturer PACCAR and still make trucks in the UK (which are sold under the DAF name) – Leyland Bus has now gone. The Leyland logo continues to be used by Ashok Leyland (commercial and military vehicle maker) in the sub-continent. Ashok Leyland are now owned by London based Indian company Hinduja and they also own bus maker Optare who make buses in the UK; DaimlerRileyStandard Motor CompanyRoverAustinMorrisVanden PlasAlvis (which as a military equipment maker was eventually acquired by BAE – car production stopped in 1965); MG (created by Morris and now owned by the Chinese SIAC – Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation); Triumph (Triumph Motor Cycles is now a separate company and still going); Jaguar (Indian owned); Land Rover (Indian owned); Austin-Healey (created by Austin); ScammellBristol Commercial VehiclesCoventry ClimaxEastern Coach WorksLeyland TractorsLDV (formerly Leyland DAF Vans); Marshall TractorsUnipart continue on a smaller scale. The Pressed Steel name is no longer usedGerman company BMW now own the Mini name. Engines for the BMW Mini are now produced in Birmingham, whilst body pressings are made in Swindon and the Mini Hatch/Hardtop, Clubman, Convertible, Coupe and Roadster are assembled at BMW’s Plant Oxford in Cowley, England, and the Countryman and Paceman are assembled by Magna Steyr in Austria. The Countryman is also assembled in India specifically of the Indian market and in Malaysia and Thailand.


Marlsbro

I know nothing about this company, expect that they were around in the 50’s and 60’s and possibly later, but I have one of their overcoats (a Marlsbro Tweedsman) and it is a beautiful quality hand tailored garment, made in England.  This is an advert for Marlsbro from 23rd April 1955.

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David Brown Tractors

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Camelot fine bone china bell – as far as I know these are no longer made.

Camelot fine bone china bell – Made in England. Photograph by author.

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Eveready

Eveready no longer manufacture in the UK, which is a shame.  My made in Britain Eveready rear bike light is very well designed and top quality.

EVEREADY 1960’s BICYCLE LAMP.  Made in Britain.

Vintage Eveready batteries. Made in Britain

Vintage Eveready batteries. Made in Britain. The last Eveready factory closed in 1996 after the company went back to American ownership.

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Falcon Cycles

This is a Falcon Sprint bicycle.  I have one of these.  It’s made in England, it is superb quality and rides like a dream despite its age.  Like Raleigh Cycles, Falcon and Dawes bikes are foreign made nowadays.

Falcon Sprint 14.8.11 – from internet 16.10.12

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Closed department stores

I was sad to see that Allders department store in Croydon closed down yesterday (23.9.12) after 150 years.

I’ve thought of a few more big name losses in recent or not so recent years – Selfridges Oxford (which later traded as Lewis’s, then Allders), Lewis’s Liverpool (the last remaining Lewis’s, which I understand has now closed), Dunn & Co, Caleys Windsor (although John Lewis continues trading), Simpsons of Piccadilly, Co-op department stores (many of these have closed, for example in Oxford, Reading and Colchester; the Co-operative Group no longer has any, but some of the independent co-operative societies, which trade under the same banner, still have them, e.g. the Heart of England Co-op has department stores on Corporation Street in Coventry and Abbey Street in Nuneaton), Arberys Wantage, Morton’s Faringdon, Westsports (Faringdon and until recently Swindon), Oddbins (?), Habitat (?), Focus DIY, British Bookshops / Sussex Stationers (?), Barretts Shoes (?), Witney Blankets, Lewis’s, Hornsea Pottery, Clinton Cards (nearly; they went bankrupt but have been bought out and remain trading), Allders, Allders Croydon, TJ Hughes, McIlroys Swindon, McIlroys elsewhere (e.g. Reading), JT Morgan of Swansea, David Morgan of Cardiff, Peacocks, Aquascutum (? – they have been purchased by a Chinese company but will they keep making clothes in the UK?  Their factory has been purchased by Swaine Adeney Brigg), Woolworths, Game (?), Blacks (?), Millets (nearly; they are still truing at some locations), Jacksons of Reading (closed 24.12.13). Are there more?

Like Debenhams (Debehams Oxford was Elliston & Cavell for example; and more recently Arding & Hobbs which was acquired from Allders is now trading as Debehams), John Lewis and House of Fraser have in recent years started re-naming stores they have taken over to their generic brand names (for example Heelas in Reading is now marketed as John Lewis, Robert Sayle Cambridge is now marketed as John Lewis, and Howells Cardiff as House of Fraser). I also read that 7 TJ Hughes stores continue to trade. I think Blacks and Millets are still going too.

There is a fairly comprehensive list of current and defunct British department stores on Wikipedia.

The lack of independent department stores worries me and the lack of variety on the high streets of the UK.  Even though I shop a lot of the internet these days, I find it sad to lose good stores and especially department stores.

Allders in Croydon 4th May 2012 before the store closed down.

Selfridges (Oxford) Ltd opened its doors in around 1972. Selfridges (Oxford) Ltd was a large and very prestigious department store located at 27 Westgate, Oxford, OX1 1LP. Sears (who by then owned Lewis's, who were also the owners of the Selfridges London store) re-branded the store as Lewis's in around 1989 and it traded under the Lewis's name until around 1996 (from around 1991 Lewis's had come under the ownership of Owen Owen). It then traded as Allders until around 2005 (Allders having purchased a number of the Owen Owen stores in 1996), when the store closed.

Selfridges (Oxford) Ltd opened its doors in around 1972. Selfridges (Oxford) Ltd was a large and very prestigious department store located at 27 Westgate, Oxford, OX1 1LP. Sears (who by then owned Lewis’s, who were also the owners of the Selfridges London store) re-branded the store as Lewis’s in around 1989 and it traded under the Lewis’s name until around 1996 (from around 1991 Lewis’s had come under the ownership of Owen Owen). It then traded as Allders until around 2005 (Allders having purchased a number of the Owen Owen stores in 1996), when the store closed.

Selfridges (Oxford) Ltd from inside the Westgate Christmas time 1988

Selfridges (Oxford) Ltd from inside the Westgate Christmas time 1988.

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Dunn & Co

Dunn & Co was a well known British chain of menswear retailers.  They ceased trading in 1996. They made great suits, like this one which is 100% wool and made in England.

A Dunn & Co suit

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Wilkinson Sword and Gillette

Wilkinson Sword are a British company, but they no longer make swords and their razors are now made abroad.  Gillette are part of Procter and Gamble – they used to make razors in the UK (like the one in the picture) but now they manufacture abroad.

A vintage Gillette TTO (twist to open) double edge razor – Made in England

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This page is about companies that you might expect to manufacture in the UK but actually manufacture abroad and companies who used to manufacture in the UK but do not anymore and companies that have closed down.

60 thoughts on “Been and Gone

  1. Neal Madden

    incredible!!!! good article !!!! no wonder there are no jobs now a days in earlier days when we manufactured in UK we had good products and jobs !!! now we buy cheap products and lack of jobs for our countrymen, Neal Madden

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      It’s a myth that things are not made in the UK anymore, but sadly these manufacturers have gone (and with them the jobs they used to provide).

      Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Hi Karl. Thank you for your comment. They were up until fairly recently, but sadly not anymore. I asked Wisdom the other day and they responded “All Wisdom toothbrushes are now manufactured outside of the UK”. Wisdom still emphasise their British heritage on their website, but Wisdom no longer make toothbrushes in the UK. I used to always buy Wisdom toothbrushes because they were made in the UK but there is no point in doing that anymore. The only UK made toothbrushes I can find are the Kent Brushes ones I mention above, so I guess I will buy these in the future although at £4 or more each they are not cheap and there are only 4 to choose from.

      Reply
      1. Abi

        You haven’t actually mentioned Kent toothbrushes above – it just says there are no UK made toothbrushes (so I was about to make a comment about them here!)

      2. ukmade Post author

        I had forgotten I had mentioned toothbrushes here! I have removed the mention here. Please see my article on toothbrushes on my home page. Thank for pointing it out – I was wondering why I could see these replies!

      1. ukmade Post author

        Allen

        I have corrected what I said about Hudson and Middleton. They are very much still in business, specialising in making beautiful fine bone china mugs. Thank you again for pointing this out. They now feature “British Pottery – Pottery, China and Glass Ware made in the UK” section.

  2. Alan Skinner

    I recently had to buy a new electric kettle & its impossible to buy a UK made one – it is possible to buy a stove top kettle which a few companies still make here but not electric. Shame when you consider how we are supposed to be famous for dear old cup of tea & yet we have to make it using foreign made kettles. Dualitt were i think the last manufacturer but they now make theirs abroad too & its only their toasters they still make at the Crawley factory. Amazingly my mate’s mum was still using her UK made Russell Hobbs kettle until recently until it gave up – after over 20 years of use – nowadays they seem to only last a year or two.

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Thanks for your comment. Well put. Couldn’t agree more. The world’s biggest drinkers of tea but you can’t buy a kettle made in the UK anymore! Incidentally do you know where I can get an English made stove top kettle then?

      Reply
      1. Alan

        A few companies make stove top kettles ; Aga of the stoves fame (i think they also do UK made saucepans) and Simplex do some nice old fashioned ones.

      2. Peter Hickman

        I’ve spent quite some time this weekend researching kettles and also found no electric kettles made in the UK at all, which I found astonishing considering the price of the top-end models. I’m going to buy Dualit’s latest model (the Classic Kettle) which costs £130 and is sadly made in China, but seems to be the best bet in terms of getting a good one that will last for years. However, there are a number of stove-top kettles made in the UK and if I had an Aga or something similar then I’d plump for one of those instead. There’s a good-looking cast iron one available from made-to-last.co.uk which also stocks all sorts of other quality British-made products.

      3. ukmade Post author

        Thank you for your comment. Yes, sadly it seems impossible to find a British made electric kettle these days. My old ones are still going and I have a stove top kettle too (it works on any cooker, not just an Aga).

        I have started writing an article on kettles, which I will publish in due course.

        You could consider combining a kettle from Netherton Foundry with a heater base from the same company (but you would want to check whether their heater bases are made in the UK first, as I am not sure they are). http://www.netherton-foundry.co.uk/shop/kitchen_companion_fondues/nfs-115hb or just go for a stove top.

        An update on this – The Netherton Foundry Kitchen Companion Heater Base is foreign made. It is made in China but the oak fittings are hand turned in the UK, from oak sourced in the Wyre Forest and it is assembled in the UK and the literature is produced in the UK – Thanks to Peter for providing this update.

  3. RUSSELL BARNES

    Its a pity you cant mention Clarks shoes in your UK made section, there shoes are made in Vietnam, China, Cambodia. All my grown up son (now 30y) Clarks shoes were made in England.

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Thanks for your comment. Sadly Clarks shoes are not made in the UK anymore, as you say. I do mention them in my shoes article at https://ukmade.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/english-shoes-ten-brands-still-made-in-britain/. But thanks to you I have also added both Clarks and Start-rite to my section “Companies that unfairly trade on their so called Britishness”. When I was growing up, like your son, my shoes were all made in the UK. People assume Clarks and Start-rite are still made in the UK and the companies are happy not to correct this misconception. Happy New Year to you and thanks again for your feedback.

      Reply
  4. Glen Stewart

    I was lead to believe that my BURCO kettle is manufactured in the UK it is considered a catering kettle however we use half full and have no problems. It is well and very simple so nothing to go wrong, ie: hinges etc

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Hi. Thanks for your comment. Let’s hope you are right about that. Burco is now part of Glen Dimplex. I had a quick look at their site and it appears Glen Dimplex do still have some UK production. I’ll have to look into this more at some point. Thanks

      Reply
  5. Peter S

    Hi there, I there, I’d like to add a UK manufacturer to UKMade – how can I get in touch with you?

    Thanks in advance,

    Peter S

    Reply
  6. Will Hall

    Both Wisdom Toothbrushes and Burco heating products are still made in this country, Glen Dimplex do indeed have several productions sites in mainland Britain and in Northern Ireland. Sadly its often so difficult to get straight answers from some British companies as to just where their products are being made.

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Hi. Thanks for your comment. As you say companies are often reluctant to tell us where their products are made. Wisdom tooth brushes have now closed their UK factory and Wisdom toothbrushes are now made abroad. It is good to see that Glen Dimplex / Burco still maintain some manufacturing in the UK. Thanks.

      Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Thanks for your comment. Philips used to make electric kettles in the UK (I have one too), but I checked with Philips who have confirmed that all Philips products are now made in the Far East. I am not sure when their plant closed down though.

      Reply
  7. Al

    The Philips household domestic appliances factory was in Hastings on the south coast and made kettles and electric heaters and I think closed in 2008.

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Thank you for the info. It’s a shame the Philips have moved all their production abroad. My Philips kettle that I mentioned before is a great kettle. Had it for years.

      Reply
  8. Will Hall

    Recently purchased an item from a company listed here, Small Castle of Nottingham, who provided excellent service and enquired how we found them, our reply made direct mention of your website, hopefully some feedback is forthcoming to you from them.
    A total disgrace its not possible to buy a British made kettle, really would like to purchase one.
    Fed up of British companies who constantly bang on about their British heritage and even they are still family run and committed to designing wonderful British products, only to find their wonderfully designed British products are NOT made in Britain.

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Thanks for your comments. I am pleased my site was of use. Appreciate the feedback and agree wholeheartedly with what you say about these companies who tell us about their Britishness but fail to mention their products are foreign made. Thanks again.

      Reply
  9. Alan

    A good place to find ‘ new’ British made products that are no longer manufactured here is on EBay. I recently bought an unused still in its box Swan electric kettle with ‘Made in England’ proudly stamped on its base. They & other British made brands do come up surprisingly frequently (unused wedding presents from 70/80s).

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Hi Alan. That’s a good tip. Thank you. e-Bay can be a great place to find things. I’ll have a look and see if I can find a British made kettle I think. Thanks again.

      Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Hi. Coincidentally I have an article on household appliances started. With luck it won’t be too long before it is published. Thanks for your request.

      Reply
  10. Nelson Spring

    Thanks for an excellent website exposing the hypoBrits cashing in on the increasing awareness that we need to manufacture more and not sell jobs and manufacturing skills abroad. Compulsory labelling of where products are made would help those who want to buy ecologically (nearest is dearest, transport-pollution-wise) as well as help the UK’s balance of payments, so woefully imbalanced in the manufacturing sector. Unfortunately, ‘Made in Britain’ has a poor-quality connotation now, so your highlighting of good quality British products elsewhere on your site is most useful. Your endearing comments on your British made items that are still in use also belie this myth. Almost all that I possess is British made, some of them working fine after 30 or more years. Also, like another commentator, I buy things on eBay and eBid (British) that UK made, such as Johnson Bros pottery. More power to your elbow!

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Hi. Thank you for your kind comment. I’m pleased you like the site. As you say, many many fine products were made in Britain and indeed many fine products still are. It’s good to hear from someone else who sees the merits of buying British. I’ll have to have a look at eBid too – I’ve not used that site. Thanks again.

      Reply
  11. Gatsby

    I have a 2:1 BEng manufacturing orientated engineering degree but I have never worked in engineering. Got it 16 years ago.

    I like to buy British things, or even things made in other countries that used to make things other than the now ubiquitous Made in China, India, Turkey, etc. My UK made Arcam amplifier is still a wonder at 18 years old. My Hope hubs etc are fairly new and loved. Globalisation? More like de-industrialisation (for us) and Chinaisation. Various lobbyists and some dodgy statesman have conspired to make this the way things are. It’s all fun and games until those that matter are not paying taxes and not spending anymore.

    This opinion was designed in the UK and made in China.

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Love your last sentence…

      Whether Arcam (A&R Cambridge Ltd Hi-Fi and home cinema equipment; now owned by JAM industries of Canada) still manufacture in the UK I am not sure – I have written to ask them – let’s see if they reply.

      Keep buying British where you can. Thank you for your comment.

      Reply
    2. ukmade Post author

      Sadly, Arcam (A&R Cambridge Ltd; now owned by JAM industries of Canada) no longer manufacture in the UK (assembly is done in China and the USA) as they confirmed to me by email on 1/9/14.

      Reply
      1. Steve Jones

        Arcam was a mid-to-upper priced UK manufacturer of audiophile products. My little Arcam alpha 3 amplifier is still going strong after 24 years of use. It’s sad to see they are no longer UK made – but their retail prices have not been reduced – in fact they seem to be targetting even bigger wallets. I also own a Pioneer ( Japanese built) amp from 1977 – also well built and still driving the speakers well. Japanese built electronics from the mid 70’s to early 90’s was good – it would be interesting to see if Japan too has seen a decline in their manufacturing industry as I see some of their well known brands have ‘Made in China’ written on the back.

      2. ukmade Post author

        Yes, it’s sad to see Arcam no longer manufacture in the UK. I understand Japan is experiencing a decline in their industry similar to that in Great Britain, although not on such a scale. The Japanese do still make things and they make them well and Japanese people would prefer to buy Japanese made.

  12. Mike

    I have noticed that products once made in the UK that are now made abroad, far cheaper, are have not been reduced in price to reflect manufacturing costs. That is company greed for you.
    I needed a new vacuum, thought of buying a Dyson until I found out they are not made in UK any more. Bought a Henry instead.

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      You’re right there. You’ll love your Henry BTW. I have one. They are tough, long lasting and effective at what they are meant to do, pick up dirt.

      Reply
  13. paulie4x

    Dear Sir or Madam,
    I bought a very nice looking and well made Inox made in Sheffield, England Slipjoint Pocket Knife it has Wilkinson Sword Logo on the handle, it’s a Canoe Pattern 3blade Slipjoint Pocket Knife, I have looked and looked but I can’t find any information, I’m not concerned the worth as much I would like to know the type of stainless steel it was made of, any info would be appriciafed, Thank You in advance, , ,
    Kindest Regards,
    Paul’ie

    Reply
      1. Dave Shegedin

        Having lived in the UK for five years and ridden past the HP in Aston, Birmingham frequently it saddens me to know it has gone. I wont buy “the original” ( outright deceit ) so called HP on principle . They have also messed seriously with the ingredients so it’s not the same. On a more positive note I am fairly certain the Stadium inspection light (got one) was made by a company that made motorcycle mirrors etc . Look up Halcyon… they are British manufacturers and list “Stadium ” mirrors in their range ..presumably they took over from Stadium . The Halcyon range appears to be good stuff. Buy British and leave Asian tat in Asia where it belongs I say ! Dave in New Zealand.

      2. ukmade Post author

        Hi. Thank you for your comment. For great British made brown sauces please see http://wp.me/p2KOue-2aA. I am familiar with Halcyon. If the own the Stadium brand I wonder why they don’t make the lights – perhaps because they last too well and never need replacing. Cheers

  14. chris howarth

    Excellent website. Fascinating, but extremely sad to read. Too many well known companies have left these shores, and in most cases, all for a quick return for shareholders.Has made some areas of a the country a wasteland. Lived down in the midlands for over 15 years, and too many vast expanses of land around Birmingham and the Black Country , where busy manufacturing industries used to produce, no building sites for more housing. Steelworks/lock makers/ leather goods manufacturers. Very sad. 1 telling note is , razors. mass produced in the far east, inferior product, and yet the prices seemed to have quadrupled in price in a short period in time.Thank you for creating it.

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Thank your for your comment. I appreciate it. I try to do my little bit to support what is left of British manufacturing and although much has gone there are still a lot of great things made in Great Britain. Cheers.

      Reply
  15. scalphunter

    What happened to the range of electric jugs made by D. M. Haden PLC – the name Haden is still available on similar products but can find no trace of the original manufacturer so assume taken over by someone else – but by whom? Any ideas?

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      I imagine you are referring to D. H. Haden. Haden Bros. was a well known cycle and motorcycle parts manufacturer (and at one point motorcycle maker), until 2002 when the company closed down. One of the brothers, Denis Howard Haden, founded his own separate company D.H. Haden Ltd. to manufacture electric kettles. D. H. Haden of Mount Road, Burntwood, Walsall was founded in 1958 and last made kettles in the UK in 2001. The modern company, Haden Appliances (part of a company called Sabichi Homewares), does not manufacture in the UK. I have added a picture and short history of D. H. Haden to my site. Thanks for the question.

      Reply
  16. Christian Valenzuela Prosser

    Hello dear Sir: I like colect fountain pens, …. Parker( british made) are not possible to found in my country,Chile…. All Parker I see , are China made, ( I guess) …. because, as you said, factorys hidden this information.
    Can you comment this matter please?
    I begg excuse my poor english

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      Hi. Unfortunately Parker closed their UK factory down some years ago and Parker pens are no longer made in the UK. If you want a British made Parker pen (and they are far better quality then the modern ones) you’ll need to search out a vintage one.

      Reply
  17. Neil

    Imperial Tobacco are not an American company but are fully British and are now known as Imperial Brands Plc.

    Reply
    1. ukmade Post author

      My bad. Thank you for pointing this out. I have corrected it now. Nonetheless, whether they are a British company or not, they are still busy closing down their British factories.

      Reply

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