HRH The Princess Royal
We were delighted and honoured to receive a visit from HRH The Princess Royal in her capacity as President of the UKFT yesterday. Staying with us for a full hour, we were able to present to HRH an overview of button-making, past, present and future. Starting with our in-house heritage centre dedicated to James Grove & Sons we discussed the sad demise of the company and our efforts to revive button-making in the UK outlining the challenges and opportunities faced. We also showed her the raw materials we use, the processes of making and polishing buttons and told her of our efforts to discover new ecological materials which complement our existing range and which help to reduce waste, environmental pollution and the use of petro-chemical materials in future. A brief foray into our newly finished dye-shop was followed by the signing of our visitor book and the presentation of a gift book containing a set of Corozo buttons based upon a 1920’s James Grove button sample book. HRH was incredibly well informed and demonstrated a quite impressive knowledge of button-making and the materials used – even making suggestions as to potential new products. We are immensely grateful to HRH for taking the time to visit us.
Yes, even button-makers need a break and our annual summer leave is nearly upon us. So, please note that our office and factory will be closed between 11th and the 22nd August 2019 - last shipping day before we close will be Friday, 9th August. All orders received while we are away will be processed as soon as possible upon our return. No doubt we’ll be back full of energy ready for autumn.
Photo shows members of James Grove & Sons staff in front of the Bloomfield Works in Halesowen, c.1925. Courtesy of The James Grove Heritage Centre.
It has been bothering us for some time that our Eco buttons are being sent to our customers in conventional plastic bags. Well, that is about to change we hope as we are about to start trialling both compostable and biodegradable bags. The former are made from potato starch mixed with other biodegradable polymers which are designed to disintegrate in ordinary industrial compost in under 90 days. The second smaller bags are manufactured using oil-based polymers - with an additive that acts as a catalyst to accelerate the degradation process so that they biodegrade into environmentally-benign products in a matter of months. Made in the UK, we are hopeful that these bags will help us reduce our reliance on plastic and strengthen our commitment to a plastic-free world.