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Gadsby, our willow coffin manufacturer

At Gadsby we are proud of our history, and proud of our quality. The company, established in Stratford, London in 1864, was originally a store making and selling various wicker products. At the time, before the advent of materials like plastic, wicker was a much more widespread material, used in a wide variety of items around the home.

The original shop survived through three generations until 1940, when due to The Blitz the company was forced to relocate to Somerset. The choice of the West Country was not a random one, as the Somerset Levels are the heartland of willow production in the United Kingdom. During the War years the company’s resources were used to produce Airborne Panniers for the RAF, large wicker baskets that were filled with supplies and weapons and dropped by parachute to troops in battle. After the War we made Somerset our permanent home, opening shop in the middle of the Levels, and continuing to weave and sell our natural products.

The company has thrived and grown over the decades, and in recent years we have relocated to more modern premises due to problems with regular flooding at our old location in the wetlands. Now in our sixth generation, we still value and appreciate the experience and knowledge that our unique history unlocks. We are still at our heart a family business, with all the benefits that this brings with it.

With a handcrafted product made from willow this experience is not to be underestimated. Traditionally, wicker products were woven by the blind, as it was felt this was a craft that they could learn and excel at. We have always valued and cared for the long ties we have had with our employees, our family business extends not just to those with our name, but to them as well, and Gadsby has been an integral part of the local community on the Somerset Levels for generations. Experience brings quality, and with the knowledge and skills we possess we pride ourselves on the high standards of our products. We still weave some products on site, and it is this expertise that sets us apart. We will always strive to maintain the highest levels of quality and care, as we have for 149 years.

While our product ranges extend through a number of areas we are particularly proud of our wicker coffins. There is something very special about a handmade product that takes such a poignant and important role in a person’s life, and the lives of their family and friends. Wicker is an innately environmentally friendly resource. It grows in wet soil, with around thirty sticks sprouting from each plant. Every year these sticks are cut, but the plant does not die, and each willow plant can last for as long as thirty years without the need for replanting. Our wicker coffins are completely biodegradable, and we are proud of their environmental benefits and the peace of mind that comes with them.

At our heart we are still a traditional British company, supplying products with a level of care and excellence that we have prided ourselves on for generations. We hope that the long-standing values and traditions that we uphold as a company make a tough time in many people’s lives a little easier.

 

Article posted on Friday, March, 1st, 2013 at 2:04 pm