The Tailor: Timothy Everest is holding a pair of shears made by Ernest Wright of Sheffield, held in front of a dummy made by Kennett & Lindsell of Essex. He is wearing a suit of Porter & Harding wool, cut by Annika Caswell, who you can see in the portrait below. Apprenticed to the legendary Tommy Nutter (tailor to The Beatles) Timothy prides himself on the quirky but traditional craft of his work that Tommy inspired. While the suit Timothy Everest’s customers leave with can only have come from his shop, the customer also leaves with the memory of a unique customer experience, for Everest is at the forefront of the be-spoke movement. The quality of a transaction is not something we give much thought to now. We seem resigned to elbow our way through crowds at large stores, accept indifferent service with an indifferent shrug, and we expect the sales person to know absolutely nothing about the product they are selling. Sometimes its only when we experience the opposite of this kind of transaction that we realise how negatively bad service actually affects us. www.timothyeverest.co.uk
The shoe last maker, recent photo text to follow.
The Shoe Maker: After seeing the film Hans Christian Andersen as a young boy, Sebastian Tarek fell in love with the idea of shoemaking. Years later after completing his formal training at Cordwainers Technical College, he went home to see his family and celebrate. On hearing Sebastian’s news his Polish grandmother told him: “Your great grandfather would have been so proud”. Why my great grandfather? he thought. To Sebastian’s complete astonishment, she told him that his great grandfather had made shoes for the Czar of Russia and was the last in line of eighteen generations of shoemakers. No one had ever mentioned it. Ten years on as a be-spoke shoemaker, he is seeing a decline in his craft. Be-spoke shoes are beyond most of our pockets now, though they are increasingly popular among the lucky few who can afford them. This demand, in combination with ready to wear handmade shoes in shops, which allows shoemakers to freelance their skills, means there’s just enough work for Sebastian to pursue his dream. www.sebastiantarek.com
The Violin Maker: John Dilworth has made violins for 34 years and is a Master Luthier, one of a handful in London. John was trained at Newark School of Violin Making and apprenticed at the Beare’s violin makers where he learnt the art of restoration. He considers the vocational education he experienced more useful than anything he could have learnt at University and in return, John is proud to say he has trained with great success a few of apprentices of his own. Restoration is a crucial part of John’s work, even when making a new instrument. “For most violinists, the instrument they would most covet would be an 18th century Italian, and most makers since then have been doing their best to rediscover the methods that made them”. John is a master maker of “new old” violins, and has even made his own unique varnish to emulate the look and the sound, yes the sound, of classic violins. “The important point is that the varnish should not mute the instrument in any way” he says. It really is down to millimeters. www.johndilworthviolins.co.uk
The Saw Doctor: Bill is checking the set of the teeth on a third generation steel logging saw, handed down father to son. To his customer this saw is more than just a saw. It is not just something bought on a frustrating, forgettable day from B&Q. It is a memory of a father and a grandfather. A memory of large, grease etched hands, the sound of a laugh, the tune of a whistle. A direct, tangible link to the past. And taking the saw to Bill and having a chat is another moment added to the provenance of this saw. This saw is also “green”. The teeth on a mass production saw are specially hardened so, ironically, they last longer, but once they are blunt they can not be sharpened and the saw has to be thrown away. So it can not last as long as this old saw, whilst someone is here to sharpen it. Bill was taught by his father Peter in his workshop in Earlsfield and has been a Saw Doctor there for 30 years. Nobody is set to take his place www.austinmowers.com
“Independent crafts and trades people are a great barometer for both the cultural and economic health of a place and an excellent measure of its spirit. This project intends to remind us of the importance of independent trades and craft people today and in the future “
Tim is still looking for more London based craft businesses to photograph so if you know any suitable folk that could use a little publicity let Tim know, either via his website or contact HCA and we’ll pass details on.