Traditional metalworkers get TV cameo role
24 August 2011
A South Yorkshire company which is keeping alive traditional metal-working skills has got a cameo role in a TV soap.
Wall lights made by Nigel Tyas Ironwork have been installed in the refurbished Woolpack pub in the ITV soap Emmerdale and fireside irons have also made it onto the set.
The hand-crafted Swaine wall lights, which can be seen next to the till in the Emmerdale pub, and the set of Shepherds Crook fireside irons were made at the firm’s workshop at Bullhouse Mill, Millhouse Green, near Penistone. The company, which is run by husband and wife team Nigel Tyas and Elizabeth Stocker, still makes ironwork in the traditional way.
Selling through the web means clients are from all over the world, with many clients in Europe, and as far away as Japan and the Falkland Islands. Closer to home the firm has supplied chandeliers to Hotter Shoes shops, including the store at Meadowhall, and to a castle in Copenhagen and Leeds Castle in Kent. Pieces produced by Nigel also grace the homes of TV personalities and filmstars.
Nigel Tyas ironwork was set up in 2000 after Nigel lost his job as an engineering blacksmith. It started off in a tiny garage in Penistone and has grown gradually over the years and now employs ten people. Despite the recession the company has just had its best year ever.
Lighting makes up about two-thirds of the orders, but it also makes curtain poles and fireside sets.
Nigel said the business was not just about making money. He said: “We want to keep alive a traditional way of making ironwork and keep an old craft going in this country.
“Manufacturing in China would probably be cheaper, but doing it this way maintains the tradition and means we keep control of the quality.
“It’s about ethics and things like helping the local economy. Where possible we use the local post office to send out our orders and buy as much as we can locally.”
But buying locally is not always easy, especially when it comes to components.
“The downturn in manufacturing means a lot of suppliers have given up as there is no-one to supply to. We really need to see a re-birth of manufacturing in this country,” said Nigel.
The company is being backed by Enterprising Barnsley, with specialist support from business coach John Heckingbottom and marketing specialist Judith Hutchinson.
Enterprising Barnsley is a business support programme which helps businesses with high growth potential and has helped create more than 500 jobs in the borough. The programme has attracted £2.89m investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.
Elizabeth, who carries out the marketing and administration, said Enterprising Barnsley’s help had been invaluable.
“We are so busy just getting on with the job and keeping up with orders that we don’t have time to do a lot of the things they can help us with,” she said.
“For example, thanks to Judith, we are now using social media for promotion. So the business is a great mix of old and new. We use the traditional skills to make the products, but the new skills to promote it.”
Enterprising Barnsley is a partnership between University Campus Barnsley, Barnsley Development Agency and Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre.
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