HRH The Prince of Wales makes a historic visit to Crockett & Jones Factory in Northampton during his nationwide tour to highlight the importance of encouraging young people into manufacturing.
Crockett & Jones proudly welcomed a member of the Royal family through its doors for the first time since 1924.
HRH The Prince of Wales embarked on a two day tour around the United Kingdom to celebrate and champion British manufacturing and engineering. During the tour, His Royal Highness saw the “Best of British” engineering and manufacturing still thriving in the UK today.
The aim of these visits was to highlight the importance of encouraging young people to consider manufacturing as a career option, to ensure that British industry does not lose its strong international reputation in years to come. Prince Charles also launched the Industrial Cadets programme, backed by the department for communities and Local Government.
On the second day of the Royal tour, His Royal Highness stopped in at specialist shoemaker Crockett & Jones in Northampton, the home of shoemaking. Prince Charles toured the factory where they have been manufacturing high-quality footwear since 1879.
When HRH Prince Charles arrived at the Northampton based factory he was introduced, by the Lord Lieutenant of Northampton, to Jonathan Jones and Nick Jones, Managing Director and Production Director respectively.
After meeting senior management and office staff, Prince Charles was given a factory tour.
Starting up in the Clicking Room, Prince Charles met with Ray Fletcher (Supervisor), David Mains (Co-Ordinator), Richard Atterbury (Co-Ordinator) and Ben Hillyard (Trainee Clicker). Richard spoke about quality control and leather issues, David and Ben showcased the skills involved in Clicking and Ray discussed the ins and outs of running a Clicking Room. Prince Charles was extremely impressed by Ray’s 40+ years of service for the company.
Moving downstairs, Prince Charles braved the Closing Room, that currently has 104 members of staff (98% women) all of whom were very excited. Prince Charles took his time speaking to a number of operatives, in particular, Jayne Straughan (Royal Perforator), Joy Burdett (Machinist and Trainer), Lucy Roberts (Machinist and Trainee) and Linda Owen (Supervisor)..
Following on from the Closing Room, we gave Prince Charles a breather down in the Lasting and Making Room where he spoke with Barry Quinn (Supervisor) David and Paul (Sole Stitchers) and at length, with Fred Hamp (Toe Laster) and Andrew Love (Trainee Toe Laster). He was pleased to see, the soon to retire, Fred passing on his years of experience to Andrew, one of our newest and brightest recruits. Toe Lasting is an extremely important operation in the manufacturing of Goodyear Welted shoes and take years of practical experience to master.
Once the factory tour had reached its end, Prince Charles, Jonathan and Nick made their way back to the showroom where Jonathan showed HRH the archive photographs of the 1924 Royal visit of HRH The Duke of York, who later became King George VI (Prince Charles’ Grand Father).
During this time in the show room, Jonathan Jones and Michael Ellis, MP for Northampton North presented Prince Charles with some Black Calf TETBURY boots as a gift for HRH Prince William and his brother HRH Prince Harry. These are the boots that recently featured in the latest James Bond Film, SKYFALL starring Daniel Craig.
Not to disappoint, at this stage the press and all photographers were asked to leave the showroom for the private fitting of HRH Prince Charles himself. He chose the design of a classic punch cap Oxford, BELGRAVE in Dark Brown Burnished Calf but decided to change the last to better suit his tastes. General Manager of Retail, Steve Murdoch dealt with the fitting on the day.
At the departure of the Prince, the entire work force at Crockett & Jones stood outside the factory, spilling out onto the street to wave him off. Prince Charles left behind a feeling of wellbeing, pride and motivation for what Crockett & Jones has achieved throughout the years, and we are sure this will not be forgotten.
Crockett & Jones would like to publicly thank everyone involved in the organisation of the Royal visit. It was a great honour to welcome a genuine ambassador for manufacturing in Britain to our factory and it was wonderful for HRH to take the time to speak with so many of our employees. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it!
Crockett & Jones.