Wherever I travel in the world, I make the effort to buy locally made souvenirs and support local people. At the very least I make sure I buy a gift that is actually made in the country I am visiting.
Chances are until just a few years ago that your small electrical items like kettles and toasters and your kitchen equipment would have been made in the UK and lasted for years and years. Chances are if you buy a kettle or whatever today it will be made in China and break within a short time. Listed here are some British made kettles, toasters, kitchen items, vacuum cleaners (Hoovers), etc + kitchen tools and kitchenware and workwear that’s British made.
British made kettles
Philips used to make electric kettles in the UK (I have a couple of old made In England Philips kettles and they are very well made and they are still working), but I checked with Philips who have confirmed that all Philips products are now made in the Far East. For example, there was a Philips household domestic appliances factory in Hastings on the south coast that made kettles and electric heaters and it closed in 2008. Phillips used to make many other products in the UK such as razors, televisions, television components, military equipment, light bulbs, and CDs too but has now closed all its UK factories. They also own Mullards and Pye. Philips is a Dutch multinational technology company. Philips were once a big manufacturing presence in the UK. At the start of 2018 Phlips did actually have one factory still operating in the UK in Glemsford in Suffolk making Avent baby bottles but sadly in January 2018 Philips have announced even that is to close by 2020 and production moved to Philips home country, the Netherlands, because of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the UK’s proposal to leave the European Union.
In response to this question I saw on trip advisor – where is the “Best place for affordable souvenirs made in England”?
Wherever you travel in the world, please make the effort to buy locally made souvenirs and support local people. At the very least make sure you buy a gift that is actually made in the country you are visiting.
I am trying to find a flannel (facecloth, wash cloth) that is made in England and it is proving much harder than I expected. Are there any flannels or towels still made in England or elsewhere in the UK that you know of please? Is anyone actually weaving, dyeing and finishing towels in the UK now? Sadly it seems to me that there are no longer any towel weaving mills left in the UK.
UK made tea towels are readily available and I would strongly encourage that you buy these British made tea towels in preference to foreign made ones. I list some British tea towels sellers and makers here.
Towels wise though, I can find nothing really.
Chortex make no mention of a UK factory on their website and they confirmed to me (on 31st March 2014) that their towels are no longer manufactured in the UK.
Christy towels are now made in India.
Ashtons were another well known towel maker, with 2 cotton mills in England. Taken over by Courtaulds in 1968 the company now appear to have closed.
Marks and Spencer used to sell very good quality English made towels. A very few made in the UK items are for sale in Marks and Spencer these days, although that said Marks and Spencer food halls still have lots of great British made foods to choose from. Sadly, since Marks and Spencer decided in 1999 to move all their manufacturing to suppliers abroad, resulting in near devastation amongst British manufacturers particularly in the clothing industry, there are no UK made towels in M&S and few other UK made goods.
Tonder and Tonder have a English made soap bar that comes with a facecloth. At the top of their website it says “Made in England”. I was told at one point that the towels Tonder and Tonder sell were made in Turkey not England but they currently (20/11/18) have no towels available and I am told the facecloth that comes with this soap was made in Lancashire by a company no longer in business. Tonder and Tonder have an excellent range of bedlinen, ceramics, tablelinen and accessories that are made in England – http://www.tonderandtonder.co.uk
With Nature Skincare make these muslin face cloths in the UK – http://www.withnatureskincare.co.uk/epages/f5rjwmzwkkar.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/f5rjwmzwkkar/Categories/Facecare/Muslin_Face_Cloths These are also available on Amazon – http://www.amazon.co.uk/WithNature-Skincare-Gentle-Muslin-Cloths/dp/B007JKY2XK
Bamboo Textiles Ltd make bath towels, bath sheets, baby towels, flannels (facecloths), baby robes, wash mits, gym towels, and make-up removal towels in the UK; as well as bed linen and baby bed linen. Many of their products are made in the UK (made in the UK products are labelled as such on their website; other foreign made products do not state county of origin) – http://www.bamboo-textiles.co.uk
Bareskin Beauty say their Bamboo Bath Sheet is made in England. I do not know about the country of origin of their other products but I could not see any indication they were British made from their website – https://www.bareskin-beauty.co.uk/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=54
Mine! London sell a nice range of off-the-shelf or bespoke small fleece blankets, cotton towels, cotton face clothes (flannels), cotton baby bibs, and fleece scarves. All the items they sell are labelled on their website as being British made. No information about the method or place of production is given. Items are described as hand-made. Their website features the Made in Britain logo – http://www.minelondon.com
Lancashire Textiles in Burnley seem to suggest on their website that all their Pillows, Mattress Protectors, Mattress Toppers, Towels, Home Accessories, Cushions, Pet Bedding, Bed Linens & Baby Bedding are UK made. I have emailed them to check this is the case (I’ve had no response though!) but I suspect it is only their bedding that is made in the UK and not their towels. Items made in Great Britain are clearly flagged with the Made in Britain logo; other products are foreign made. UK made products from Lancashire Textiles include some of their duvets, pillows, shaped pillows (such as v-shaped pillows), anti-allergy pillows, pillow protectors, some mattress protectors, a limited amount of their bedding, the Cavenagh of London ties they sell, some cushions, some cushion inners, some support cushions, their seat pads, some pet bedding, and their bean bags. Look for the Made in Britain logo on the Lancashire Textiles website; they have a good range of Britain made products and they have their own mill in Lancashire. Products are available directly from their website. During the COVID-19 pandemic they have diverted some production to face masks and wipe-clean pillows – http://www.lancashire-textiles.co.uk
Stamford Cuemakers Cue Towels are made in England from 100% cotton according to their website. Available on their website and also on eBay. Cue towels are for snooker / pool and are ideal for wiping down your cue when it gets a bit sticky and might be good for the gym too. Their cues and cue cases are also made in England – http://www.stamfordcuemakers.com
Lancashire Towel Co Ltd (aka the East Lancashire Towel Company) clearly label some of their products on their website as British made and it says on their website that they have (it should say had actually) their own mill. The mill is shown on their website as being in Barrowford Lancashire, whereas their address is given as Nelson, Lancashire. According to wikipedia the mill in Barrowford Lancashire is now closed and production has been moved abroad. Stocks are limited and this is because these are old stock being sold off after the factory closure in 2009, as the company has told me. They made towels including bathroom towels, kitchen hand towels, in linen / cotton, and cotton, plus roller towel holders but these days production is sadly in Turkey – http://www.towelcompany.co.uk
Bags of love sell towels that you can have printed with photo but I doubt if the towels themselves are made in the UK. Just printed in the UK.
Fergusons Irish Linen have a factory in Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland. Since 1988 they have been part of Franklin’s who also own Brownlow Textiles Ltd (now just a brand name of Thomas Ferguson & Co. Ltd. ) and John England. Thomas Ferguson & Co. Ltd don’t make country of origin clear on their website but according to Sir Gordon Bennett their tea towels they sell are made in Northern Ireland. As well as tea towels Fergusons also make table linen, bed linen, towels, handkerchiefs, throws and suchlike but it is not clear from their website whether these are British made or made abroad. Franklins is a weaver of badges and labels, supplying the sports, industrial, fashion, career wear and promotional markets, sharing the Fergusons factory in Northern Ireland. No clear information about country of origin is given on the Franklins website. I assume their other factories in Banbridge, Coventry, and Nuneaton have been closed, especially as much production appears to have moved to what Franklins refer to as ‘off-shore manufacturers’ although they do say on their website that “Franklins embroider in our factory in Banbridge” they also talk about outsourcing and overseas suppliers. John England supply fabrics by the metre for the fashion and apparel, curtain, upholstery, theatrical linens, and film productions markets, but again no information is given about country of origin on their website – https://www.fergusonsirishlinen.com – https://www.franklins.co.uk – https://johnengland.com
The Gaddum Group (Gaddum & Gaddum) produce at least some beauty uniforms (their Tempus range) in-house in England and otherwise they add logos to imported clothing and import silks from China. Their towels and robes are foreign made as far as I can gather from their website. Gaddum and Gaddum have a factory in Leek, Staffordshire and manufacture clothing there for others, for example Hugget ladies jackets are made by Gaddum and Gaddum in England – http://www.thegaddumgroup.co.uk
Rutland Radiators heated towel rails are British made – http://www.rutland-radiators.co.uk/bespoke_heated_towel_rails.html
‘The Beach Towel Clip‘ by JDM Designs Ltd is a polypropylene beach accessory that simply pushes into the sand to stop your beach towel blowing away and is British made. The beach towel clips are manufactured at Form mould & tooling in Haverhill Suffolk UK. The beach towel clips are manufactured 100% in the Suffolk, UK. The cartons are manufactured in Glossop, UK, The assembly and distribution of the beach towel clips is done in the North West of England. On their twitter its says “The official account for http://www.thebeachtowelclip.com the multi award winning 100% UK designed & manufactured beach accessory that stops your towel blowing away.” – http://www.thebeachtowelclip.com
The modern traveller, hiker or person about town can still carry or ship the right bag or luggage; a British-made bag, rucksack, suitcase or trunk. In no particular order, here are some great British made bags, handbags, rucksacks, backpacks, suitcases, wallets, pouches and trunks.
Greetings cards, birthday Cards, Christmas cards, blank cards, thank you cards, Valentines cards, wedding cards, anniversary cards, etc. Are the cards and gift wrap you buy made in the UK?
Buy British made birthday cards – support Britain. Fortunately many shops still sell greetings cards that are made in the UK, but there is a recent trend of cards in places like Paperchase being made in China. Please look at the back of the cards you are buying and make sure they say that they are made in the UK.
If you shop carefully you should have no difficulty in getting British made greetings cards, envelopes, gift wrap and postcards.
The Tube seat fabric is known as moquette, a mix of wool with a small percentage of polyester, and well known for its hard wearing, durable, fire resistant and not-showing-the-dirt qualities, is still woven in Yorkshire. You can buy dog collars and coats using the fabric at the London Transport Museum, as well as furniture, cushions, technology cases, bags, handbags, key rings, wash bags, etc made using moquette. These are made in England by Matt Fothergill using moquette fabric. Whilst a lot of stuff in the London Transport Museum Shop is made in China, they do stock a very good range of UK made products too – http://www.ltmuseumshop.co.uk/moquette.html