B.O.B. – Best of Britannia, with lashings of ginger-beer…


When you’ve shouted `Rule Britannia’, when you’ve sung `God save the Queen’, / When you’ve finished killing Kruger with your mouth. (Rudyard Kipling)

Only companies that support UK manufacturing are selected to show at the B.O.B. (Best of Britannia) event and all products on show have been made in Britain. Exhibitors range from the long-established heritage brands to more recent start-ups; all of them have one thing in common – they believe in supporting the manufacturing skills that still exist in the UK.

We were lucky enough to be in London while the 2012 B.O.B. was held, so we popped along to see what the fuss was about…

The exhibition was held in the seriously cool Farmiloe Building, a Clerkenwell landmark that was once home to George Farmiloe & Sons merchants, and central to London’s heritage of trade and commerce. Of the finest Victorian architecture, completed in 1868 by Browne & Robinson, the Farmiloe building features an Italianate palazzo-style frontage, executed in Portland stone and polished Aberdeen granite inside. Victorian warehouse floors – built as the strongest in London – extend from a spectacular glazed atrium revealing distinctive interiors, typified by exposed wrought-iron beams, aged paintwork, panelled offices, hoists and safes. It is gorgeous.

The Farmiloe Building
(Image from here)

This was one of my highlights of our time in London. Meeting the artisans at their stalls and talking to them about their products is just about one of my favourite things to do. Here are some of the stand outs for me…

Animal Farm Tent by Field Candy
Animal Farm Tent by Field Candy
Limited Edition of 295
(Image from here)

Field Candy exists to inject colour, creativity and fun into the camping space by offering a range of totally unexpected designs. They aim to delight their customers and excite anyone who sees our products. I reckon they succeeded with me!


Mackintosh the Bear from Sadlers Keepsakes
Mackintosh the Bear from Sadlers Keepsakes
(Image from here)

Sadlers Keepsakes was established in 2011 by mother and daughter team Sue and Niki. Together they have combined their creative skills, along with an eye for detail and a love of vintage fabrics to design and make a range of unique teddy bears, collectables and brooches.  Their main focus is on producing fantastic quality, hand-made, bespoke  items, all which can be kept as personal keepsakes for many years to come.

Mackintosh was a cushion cover and the stuffing from the cushion itself. He is a cheeky little character.


Pretty Fluffy Scarves by Age of Reason
God Save the Queen Pocket Square Scarves by Age of Reason
(Image from here)

The team at Age of Reason believe that scarves should never be boring. Every fine silk scarf they make combines a playful design with ultimate luxury, beauty and elegance. Striking colour combinations bring to life irreverent prints and make their slightly warped and twisted imagery refreshingly wearable.

And, the Age of Reason website is very cool…


Harrold Wymington Briefcase in Deep Green Polished Calf Leather by Tusting
(Image from here)

Tusting is a family firm based in the heart of the English countryside, with its roots deep in the English leather and shoe trade. The fifth generation of the family is now at the helm, following a long line of Tustings who have been tanning, grading and trading the world’s finest leathers for over 130 years. Their current workshop lies close to the original tannery founded in 1875 by their great, great, grandfather and is home to the latest new generation of highly skilled craftsmen.


Double Pylon by Moulton
(Image from here)

Dr Alex Moulton pioneered the small wheeled bicycle revolution nearly 50 years ago. All of today’s small wheeled cycles owe a debt of gratitude to the original Moulton ‘F’ frame design which not only introduced and proved the concept of full-size bicycles with small wheels, but also, right from launch in 1962, have utilised front and rear suspension systems for improved comfort and performance. The Moulton bicycle has been developed and refined constantly ever since and is held in high regard throughout the world.

So much so, that LM came extremely close to buying one…


Scarves by Wallace Sewell
Scarves by Wallace Sewell
(Image from here)

Wallace Sewell is a highly individual woven textile design studio, established by Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell, after graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1990. The studio’s motivation is to design innovative woven fabrics exploiting industrial techniques, the collaboration thriving on a vibrant exchange of ideas from the dual perspectives of creating textiles for fashion and furnishings.

The studio works closely with a mill in Lancashire which weaves the larger pieces and batch production. The studio also works closely with a finishers in Huddersfield – W.T. Johnson & Sons – who draw their water from their own bore hole in pursuit of the softest and purest water, perfect for textile finishing.


The Farmiloe building is located in London, EC1M at the Smithfield end of St John Street, next to the famous St John restaurant and a two-minute walk from Farringdon station.

New Dates are yet to be announced for Best of Britannia 2013.

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Comments (12)

Ha, love that tent, although it brings back some memories ( you seem to be evoking a lot of memories for me lately) of doing my Duke of Edinburgh award and the field we pitched our tent in was later filled with sheep, needless to say my tent was the real version of above, plus we had the added extra of some steaming poop outside to keep us warm in the Welsh mountains!! 🙂 Have a great weekend

As a Kiwi, the sheep tent was my favourite (and reminded me of home, too!)

You have a fab’ weekend, too, BCD 🙂

A great tour J, thanks! Those scarves look lovely…and that bike! Very interesting… 😉 I bet that was fun to visit in London!

Shira – after calling London home twice, I surprised myself with how much fun I had. It was so great to be back (for a visit, anyway!)

Love that tent! Want to find a rolling hill to pitch it.

I loved it, too, Sue. Aren’t they so much fun?

You really had a fabulous trip, didn’t you? I love those Wallace Sewell scarves. Gorgeous! And that tent really appeals to my sense of humor, even though I’ve never been camping in my life.

SSFAM – I like a hot shower and a flush loo when I holiday, so camping ain’t my bag, either (especially with all the creepy-crawlies Australia is famous for!) but I did love that tent.:-)

Thanks for coming along to the first ever BOB – we’re back at the Farmiloe next October 3rd, 4th and 5th and if you come back and email me (joe@bestofbritannia.com) you can have a ginger beer on me!

Hey Joe – Thanks for stopping by!

Awfully long way to come for a ginger beer, despite the fact that we had such a fab’ time at B.O.B. You never know… 🙂

So much good stuff here. There are so many beautiful hand-made crafts and quality manufacturers to be found around the English countryside. But you do need to hunt for them so thanks for sharing this.

Note: The best shoes I ever purchased are my English walking boots – made by Alt-berg. Sadly, this is the last leather walking boot manufacturer in the UK — in a country of walkers.

Good tip about the boots, Jeannee. Cheers! 🙂 (Off to google them now…)

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