Future Heirlooms

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At House of Hackney, we don’t make “products”. We make future Heirlooms. Unique, authentic pieces that are inspired by the past and designed to be passed down to the next generation.

Upon founding our House, Frieda Gormley and Javvy M Royle climbed into a van and spent six months travelling the length and breadth of the UK in search of the country’s finest craftsmen.

We are proud to still work closely with these small-scale, family-run businesses today – preserving specialist, age-old trades (not to mention local jobs) while delivering unparalleled quality.

And now, we are pleased to introduce collections by three of the very best British manufacturers: Axminster Carpets, Peter Reed and Titchmarsh & Goodwin. Each design is a celebration of traditional craftsmanship and sublime artistry, made to stand the test of time. No wonder, then, that we call them ‘future heirlooms’…

The last few pieces of the puzzle are the myriad layers and textures that make a space so inviting. Think a coffee table stacked with books and tactile cushions in an intriguing mix of shapes, sizes and patterns – all things which are easy to move around until you find a combination that appeals to you. A mantelpiece, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is even more swoon-worthy with the addition of eye-catching candelabras, hand-painted porcelain candle pots and treasured keepsakes you’ll have picked up on your travels.

Peter Reed

If you were to walk the cobbled streets of Lancashire in the mid-1880s, you would hear the incessant clang and clamour of Britain’s most skilled weavers, hard at work on the warping and wefting of cotton. For back then, Lancashire was the heart of the world’s thriving and newly mechanised clothmaking industry, with almost half a million people employed by the county’s 2650 mills. Among them was Peter Reed: founded by its namesake in 1861, the factory started out life on the slopes of Pendle Hill, where it produced the finest linens using water-powered looms.

By the turn of the century (when Peter Reed moved to Nelson in Lancashire), the cotton industry was the pride of Britain – and Peter Reed owned the second largest weaving shed in the world, with no fewer than 748 shuttles. But by the 1960s and 70s, the industry had suffered a dramatic decline, with foreign competition causing Lancashire mills to close at a rate of almost one a week. Come the 1980s, textile production in the North West had all but ground to a halt… yet Peter Reed prevailed. Although its cloth is now woven in Italy, it is all still cut, assembled and finished by hand in Nelson.

hemming, embroidering, pressing and folding with awe-inspiring speed and dexterity. Working with only the most lustrous cotton, every single hem is stitched by hand, every detail checked and re-checked. It’s no exaggeration to say that the resulting linens are fit for a queen, given that Her Majesty has bestowed the business with a Royal Warrant.

Whilst increased mechanisation has made bedding easier to manufacture and thus all to easy to dispose of, you’d find it hard to part with ones crafted by Peter Reed. Slipping between soft, smooth, freshly laundered sheets is one of life’s true luxuries – all the more so when those sheets are woven with 150 years of expert artisanship. 

Titchmarsh & Goodwin

Whilst Titchmarsh & Goodwin may be celebrating its centenary, the company’s roots actually go further back to the 1770s, when carpenter Samuel Goodwin sent his son George to join a cabinetmaker’s workshop in the capital. Upon his return home to Suffolk, with the prestige of a London apprenticeship under his belt, George set himself up to design and craft fine furniture. In doing so, he not only kick-started a tradition of cabinet and clock-case making in Ipswich, but he unknowingly founded a dynasty: though it took over 130 years for his passion for craftsmanship to build into something more, in 1920 it did – when George’s descendant, Gordon Goodwin, founded the eponymous business with friend Frederick Titchmarsh.

Specialising in bespoke handmade wooden furniture, the workshop is still family-run and thriving in Ipswich’s Back Hamlet. The workforce now is a formidable mix between experience and youthful dynamism, with fresh-faced apprentices working alongside craftsmen whose skills have been honed at the bench for more than 30 years. The team takes great pride in keeping time-honoured handcrafting skills alive in an age of mass production and uniformity – and in helping to pass those skills down to the next generation.

The furniture is made in the same way that it has been for hundreds of years; there’s no production line or digital machinery. And yet, it’s all made to suit the modern environment, with the wood (mostly oak and sourced from managed East Anglian woodlands) seasoned for years to withstand the dual demands of heating and air conditioning.

The sturdy materials and honest craftsmanship that distinguished the work of George Goodwin remain the company’s calling card today. Only now, it is truly unique for everything to still be made under one roof in the way it is at Titchmarsh & Goodwin, with the country’s most talented wood turners, carvers and French polishers managing every stage of the process in-house, each skill vital to the end result. And that finish is where Titchmarsh & Goodwin really comes into its own: for all those hours of patient work result in an exclusive patina, rendering each piece of furniture as beautiful as it is useful.

Axminster carpets

Born in the town of Axminster in 1716, cloth-weaver Thomas Whitty had travelled to London in search of a new trade when he came across a warehouse of imported Turkish carpets. Dazzled by their elaborate detail and vibrant colour, Whitty set his heart on creating his own – which he finally did in 1755, the same year he would go on to establish his factory. Aided by the vertical Georgian loom, Whitty’s method of creating hand-knotted carpets allowed for unique variations of colour and pattern – a pioneering technique now known as the Axminster weave.

Fast forward more than 250 years and Axminster Carpets have become renowned as the makers of the world’s finest floor coverings. At the company’s Devonshire factory, the same looms and techniques of old are still harnessed – only now with modern technology added in to create magnificent patterns that would have been previously unimaginable. But the craftsman’s art reigns ever supreme, with Axminster’s famous 8-pitch weave creating carpets of greater detail, definition and colour saturation than anyone else.

Every stage of Axminster's production process - from wool- dyeing to spinning to weaving- takes place in the UK.

Every stage of Axminster’s production process – from wool-dyeing to spinning to weaving – takes place in the UK. A meticulous level of care and attention is paid along the way: only the finest wool is sourced from British sheep and then, as a finishing touch once the carpet is made, the top of the pile is given a little trim to produce a luxurious, velvety-soft feel that marks out an Axminster from the rest. 

Read more in the history of Axminster

Shop the Axminster collection

INTERIOR & PHOTOGRAPHY: SARAH DEAN
INTERIOR & PHOTOGRAPHY: SARAH DEAN

A mantelpiece, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is even more worthy.

The last few pieces of the puzzle are the myriad layers and textures that make a space so inviting. Think a coffee table stacked with books and tactile cushions in an intriguing mix of shapes, sizes and patterns – all things which are easy to move around until you find a combination that appeals to you. A mantelpiece, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is even more swoon-worthy with the addition of eye-catching candelabras, hand-painted porcelain candle pots and treasured keepsakes you’ll have picked up on your travels.

The last few pieces of the puzzle are the myriad layers and textures that make a space so inviting. Think a coffee table stacked with books and tactile cushions in an intriguing mix of shapes, sizes and patterns – all things which are easy to move around until you find a combination that appeals to you. A mantelpiece, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is even more swoon-worthy with the addition of eye-catching candelabras.

A mantelpiece, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is even more worthy.

The last few pieces of the puzzle are the myriad layers and textures that make a space so inviting. Think a coffee table stacked with books and tactile cushions in an intriguing mix of shapes, sizes and patterns – all things which are easy to move around until you find a combination that appeals to you. A mantelpiece, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is even more swoon-worthy with the addition of eye-catching candelabras.

Is living in a white-painted box driving you up the wall?

Made from wood pulp sourced from FSC-certified trees, complete with added textile fabrics for strength and stability, our wallpaper is PVC-free and produced using the eco-friendliest methods available.

 

If your existing seats are well-loved, but perhaps a little too well-worn, be it a sumptuous printed velvet or a smooth cotton-linen – can be enough to make you want to snuggle up on them all over again.

When it comes to furniture (which can also be a scene stealer in its own right), your choice will likely be dictated by the number of family members and friends who will regularly be hanging out here: will a cosy two-seater sofa be enough, or will you also need a chaise longue and a few ‘bottomans’ for your visitors to park their, um, bottoms on? If your existing seats are well-loved, but perhaps a little too well-worn, recovering them in a new fabric – be it a sumptuous printed velvet or a smooth cotton-linen – can be enough to make you want to snuggle up on them all over again.

A mantelpiece, if you’re lucky enough to have one, is even more worthy.

When it comes to furniture (which can also be a scene stealer in its own right), your choice will likely be dictated by the number of family members and friends who will regularly be hanging out here: will a cosy two-seater sofa be enough, or will you also need a chaise longue and a few ‘bottomans’ for your visitors to park their, um, bottoms on? If your existing seats are well-loved, but perhaps a little too well-worn, recovering them in a new fabric – be it a sumptuous printed velvet or a smooth cotton-linen – can be enough to make you want to snuggle up on them all over again.