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A Nation of Shopkeepers, celebrating Britain’s Buildings

Queen Elizabeth II – Our longest reigning Monarch!

Today in the United Kingdom we are lucky to be commemorating a truly remarkable achievement when Queen Elizabeth II becomes our longest reigning monarch. At approximately 5.30 p.m. she will surpass Queen Victoria’s record and will have reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and 30 minutes. A long time for anyone to have held the same job—we are sure you will agree!

Queen Elizabeth II came to reign on the death of her father, George VI on the 6th February 1952 and her coronation was held in Westminster Abbey on the 2nd June 1953. Queen Victoria reigned from 1837-1901. Both of these Queen’s ruled over a country which has seen great change both socially and economically during their reigns.

We just had to celebrate this important occasion in ceramic, with a choice of two Limited Paintings.  We will be painting a total of 63 of each, and you are welcome to request any ‘lucky’ number you have been collecting.  If you wish to paurchase both, the pair are on offer at £180.00 for the pair, and you will pay only one postage charge,.

To purchase the pair click here.

corgi groomers & queen vic websize‘Long May She Reign’

Painted by Carol on our Windsor building – most usually seen as the Dairy/ Barber.

corgi groomers & queen vic detail 2
We choose this building firstly  as it is a building Her Majesty will know, and secondly to continue our tradition of using this building for Royal celebrations.
To the left a grooming parlour for her beloved Corgis.  To the right, the Queen Victoria Pub is being re-furbished, and will soon open as the ‘Queen Lizzie II’
Above the pub we reflect our beloved Queen’s love of racing, and on the side of the building there is a doorway to the ‘Turf Accountants’ – maybe a sneaky way in for someone special?
‘Long May She Reign’ is priced at £105.95.  To order yours Click Here



The best of the bunch websize‘The Best of the Bunch’The best of the bunch detail

Painted by Hazle herself on our Stratford Upon Avon ‘Garrick Inn’ Building, slightly remodelled.  This seems such a perfect building to celebrate that we just had to bring it out of retirement – we last produced this model in 2000!
Built in the time of Queen Elizabeth I,  this building has stood since  the last  Tudor Monarch, through our longest reigning King – George III – known as ‘Farmer George’ for his great interest in agriculture, and Queen Victoria, who until today held the position of Britain’s Longest reigning monarch.

Now the pub is named ‘The Best of the Bunch’ – our own Queen! – a play on words but also Hazle’s personal opinion.   Long may she reign!
‘The Best of the Bunch’ is priced at £105.95
To order yours click here


P Charlotte right spelling websizeOur Post Office announces the birth of Princess Charlotte

Our Post Office, located close to Great Malvern proudly announces the name and date of birth of our new Royal Arrival, Princess Charlotte.

In the window we see Princess Charlottes’ full name, and the A board shows the date and time of her birth.

The Princess Charlotte Post Office will be available until the end of 2015, and is priced at £52.00 + carriage/insurance

To order your Post Office – Princess Charlotte, click below


Presenting our new collection of limited paintings –

The London Livery Companies

Here is our NEW collection of Limited Paintings, created for Grand Designs Live, but also now available to our collectors!  Very few of each of these ceramics will be produced.  The Skinners Company and the Company of Security Professionals for example are limited to 5 of each.  Whichever ceramic you choose, they are all priced at £100 each + carriage/insurance.
If you would like a Livery Company not featured here. Please contact us for availability – we can do most of the companies we’ve seen, and also at £100 per ceramic.  These Ceramics will be available until sold out or until January 2016,  So If you would like to ‘book’ one to buy later in the year for a gift or for Christmas, please email or call us to reserve by paying a £20 deposit, and the balance can be paid when you want it  delivered, or up to the end of October 2015 for Christmas gifts.

grocers companygrocers companydetail The Grocers Company, painted on our Alf Roberts building, with a wealth of ‘fruit & veg’ filling the windows.

The Grocers are the 2nd of the Great City Livery Companies, after the Mercers Company.

Originally known as the Ancient Guild of Pepperers, the name changed in 1376 to the Company of Grocers.  The Royal Charter was granted in 1428 by Henry V.

The original Pepperers were responsible for ‘Garbling’ which was the prevention of impairment of spices and drugs.  The term ‘Grocer’ comes from the latin ‘Grossarius’ which means ‘a person who works with large amounts of trades goods’

To order a Grocer’s Company Click here.


fishmongers websizeThe Fishmongers Company, painted on our Maunder’s Building.fishmongers detail

One of the earliest of the London Livery Companies. The first Royal Charter was issued in 1272.

Fish was a staple part of the diet and this increased the influence of the company significantly.

With a complete monopoly on the sale of fish – one of the chief necessities of life in the Middle Ages – the Company’s wealth and influence grew enormously. The Company even had its own Court of Law (Leyhalmode), where all disputes relating to fish were settled.

To order a Fishmongers    Click here.


Haberdashers and Merchant TaylorsThe Haberdashers and Merchant Drapers, Haberdashers and Merchant Taylorsdetailpainted on our Dairy Barber Building.

The Haberdashers Company received its Royal Charter in 1448 and were joined by the Hatmakers in 1502.

The company, which was originally responsible for the regulation of cloth merchants began losing its control over that trade as the population of London increased and spread outwards from the City after the Industrial Revolution.

Merchant Taylor’s Company were given their First Royal Charter by Edward III in 1327

Initially an association of citizens who worked with Tailors and Linen Armourers the company grew to such an extent it controlled the tailoring trade.

To order a Merchant Taylors and Haberdashers Company    Click here.


gunmakers for webThe Gunmakers Company, one of the few Limited Paintings on our Sally Lunn Building.

The Gunmakers’ Company received a Royal Charter of incorporation in 1637.

The Company was, and still is, responsible for proof-testing guns for safety. So, unlike many Livery Companies, the Gunmakers have retained a link to their trade. The barrel testing involves firing a gun whilst loaded with an extra-powerful charge of ammunition held in a special carriage. The gun is then inspected and, if they have maintained structural integrity, they will be stamped with proof marks including a date stamp or code and the mark of the maker.

To  order    Click here.


Hackney Carriage Drivers websizeThe Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage DriversHackney Carriage Drivers detail, painted on our Tea Shop building – without the Telephone box.  Painted by Carol, whose family included a member of the company!

In 1654, the first of Cromwell’s Parliaments passed an Act setting up The Fellowship of Master Hackney Coachmen. Though the Act only remained in force for three years, it was the forerunner of every future Act of Parliament concerning hackney carriages, including horse drawn cabs and taxis until the present day.

At that time, the number of coachmen were restricted to two hundred and the Act named the first thirteen overseers, who were entrusted the task of choosing the remainder.

To order your Hackney Carriage Drivers  Ceramic

Click here.


ironmongers websizeThe Ironmongers Company,

Originally known as Ferroners,ironmongers detail were a recognised body as early as 1300.  Painted on our Melton Mowbray building, with a wealth of researched detail.

The Ironmongers, then known as Ferroners, were an effective body in 1300.By 1328 they were regarded as a firmly established brotherhood, joining in the elections of the City officials and choosing four of their members to treat with the Mayor and Sheriffs.The Ironmongers’ received a grant of arms in 1455, describing them as the “Honourable Crafte and Fellasship of Fraunchised Men of Ironmongers”, and a charter of incorporation from Edward IV in 1463, which was reconfirmed in 1558, 1560, 1604 and 1687.

To order    Click here.


International Bankers websizeThe Company of International BankersInternational Bankers detail

A friendly joke at the bankers comes next!  Piles of cash, gold and cash surround a ‘Fat Cat’ on the first floor, while on the ground floor we see the yacht those million pound bonuses paid for!

The Company of international Bankers was founded in 2001. Before that time it was not possible to have a London Livery company with members from outside the UK, European Union, & commonwealth.

The company is the 106th of the London Livery Companies.

 To order the Comapny of International Bankers    Click here.


The Mercers Company

Mercers company websizeThe oldest and first of all the Livery Companies of London.Mercers company detail Painted by Carol, and heavily highlighed with pure gold.

The Mercers Company was the first of the ‘Great 12 City Livery Companies’   It’s Royal Charter was granted in 1394 although the company’s origins are far older.

The Mercers Motto is‘Honor Deo’ latin for “Honour to God”

According to the Worshipful Company of Mercers themselves a Mercer “might have run a shop or market selling fabric and accessories”  Famous Mercers have included Dick Whittington, John Dee and Robert Baden-Powell.  WE can see these painted in the window

To order    Click here.


The skinners company websizeThe Skinners CompanyThe skinners company detail

With Windows painted by Christine!  This is on our Nutshell building, and there will only be 5 available, so order or reserve one without delay.

The Skinners’ Company developed from a medieval trade guild, a body that regulated and controlled the manufacture and sale of goods and also cared for its sick members and those in financial trouble.

Skinners dressed and traded furs, which were both a luxury item and a necessity. Strict controls reserved ermine, sable and marten for royalty and aristocracy, the middle classes could use squirrel and fox, the common people had to get by with lambskin, rabbit or cat.

To  order    Click here


stationers Hall websizeThe Stationers Companystationers Hall detaill

Painted on our Canterbury Building, with the beginnings of the guild shown above as a monk working on a manuscript, and the downstairs showing the period from the early 16th century, when printers joined The Company.

First formed in 1403, by the early 16th century printers had joined The Stationers’ Company and by the mid century the printers had more or less ousted the manuscript trade. In 1557 the Guild received a Royal Charter of Incorporation and in 1559, they became a livery company – the 47th.

The Stationers’ Charter secured them from outside competition, but they had to settle their own internal disputes, which mostly concerned infringements of ownership of ‘copies’ or what we would now call copyright

To order    Click here.


security professionals websizeThe Worshipful Company of Security Professionals.

A fun ceramic which we couldn’t resist creating!  security professionals detail

The window is filled with doormen and bouncers, beauifully painted as only Christine can! plus we have two guard dogs to keep the building safe!

Founded in 1999 as the 108th Livery company of London membership includes leading security professionals from the industrial and retail sectors, serving and retired members of the police and armed services, security consultants, heads of security for corporate businesses, investigators and electronic surveillance practitioners.

To order    Click here


Vintners & Brewers websizeThe Brewers Company and the Vintners Company.

Painted on our Sun Inn Building, by Michele.  Vintners & Brewers detail

The Brewers Company was incorporated by royal charter in 1437/8, although it existed in some form from the 13th century. They received a grant of arms in 1469 and had a hall in the City of London from at least 1403.

The Vintners Company probably existed as early as the twelfth century, and received a Royal Charter in 1364.

Due to the Royal Charter, the Company gained a monopoly  over wine imports from Gascony. Also, it acquired the right to sell wine without a licence, and it became the most powerful company in the wine trade. However, in 1553, it lost its right to sell wine anywhere in the country.

To order    Click here.


goldsmiths new lettering websizeThe Goldsmiths Company

Began in the twelfth century, received a Royal Charter in 1327 and is the 5th of the City of London Livery Companies.

Its motto  is Justitia Virtutum Regina, Latin for Justice is Queen of Virtues.

Responsible for the testing and quality of gold and silver and regulating the trade of the goldsmith.

The word hallmarking derives from the fact that precious metals were officially inspected and marked at Goldsmith’s Hall, the Comapny’s HQ. ( giving us the term Hallmarking!)  . Today, the Company is one of the few Livery Companies still to play a formal role in its ancient trade.

To order a Goldsmith’s Company Click here


Pewterers Hall websizeThe Pewterers CompanyPewterers detail

The Pewterers Company is the 16th in the order of precedence of London City Livery Companies and has existed since at least 1348.

The first charter was granted in 1473/4, and for the following two centuries pewter was an important part of the economy.  Pewter was essential for the production of Plates, Dishes and drinking vessels, and by the late 17th century, the Company of Pewterers had reached it’s high point.

From then onwards the changes in the country’s drinking habits and the introduction of new materials and production methods meant that the importance of the Pewterers Company declined.

To order a Pewterer’s Company click here



  Featured Ceramics

Famous London CheesmakersPaxton & Whitfield

Located at 93, Jermyn Street, Paxton & Whitfield has been established in St James’s for over 200 years and in their present premises for over 100 years.

This quintessentially English cheesemonger, established in 1797 lays claim to supply the best Stilton in the kingdom. As Winston Churchill onceCheese detail in window famously said: “A gentleman only buys his cheese from Paxton & Whitfield”

Paxton and Whitfield were granted their first Royal Warrant by Queen Victoria, several more warrants followed, and today Paxton & Whitfield still supply cheese to our Royal Family.

Take a closer look at the beautifully hand painted window on this ceramic, the cheeses stand on their platters, just ready to be tasted, and the name and details on the fascia and windows are painted in pure gold.

Paxton and Whitefield is a limited edition of just 500 pieces. It measures 23.2cm (9 & 1/8″) tall to the top of the chimney x 10cm (4″) wide.  To buy Paxton & Whitfield click here



Mrs Hudson downstairs, Sherlock upstairsSherlock Holmes House

221b’ Baker Street ‘home’ of the celebratedFirst Floor Drawing Room (fictitious -honestly!) criminal investigator, Sherlock Holmes and trusty colleague Dr. Watson. The ceramic is painted with Holmes playing the violin in the left hand upstairs window and his ‘hubble-bubble’ pipe in the right window. Mrs. Hudson’s (housekeeper) drawing room is on the ground floor. There are railings of cast metal and a metal lamp post. This is the first ceramic we have added metalwork to.

The building itself does exist – in Baker St. London and would probably have been a boarding house at the time Conan Doyle was creating Holmes – but it was not Number 221b. At present it is 221b and houses a ‘Museum’ dedicated to Sherlock Holmes ‘memorabilia’- in fact you would swear he lived there…

The Sherlock Holmes House measures 23.4cm (9 & 1/4″) tall to the top of the chimney x 9cm ( 3 & 1/2″) wide.

To order, please click here


The Chantry

Located in the High Street, Billiericay, Essex. The Chantry House was built around 1510 on the site of an earlier building erected to house the priest who served the Chantry Chapel (now St Mary Magdelen) in the 1340′s

Ship’s governor Christopher Martin, a vitualler of ships, owned the Chantry building and lived there until he sailed on the Mayflower with the Pilgrim Fathers to New England. As victualler, he also supplied the food for the voyage. Sadly, he perished along with his wife Marie, Solomon Prower, and John Langemore shortly after their arrival at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

The building has had many uses and changes of ownership over the years, and is currently a restaurant. On the front of our ceramic version, you will see the date of building, 1510. Drive past the real Chantry in Billericay, and you will see a different date… Local historians advise the date we use is the correct one.

The Chantry measures 16.9cm(6 & 3/4″) tall to the top of the chimney x 12.4cm (4 & 7/8″) wide.

To order, please click here