Shropshire manufacturer's sign restored ahead of 150th year

One of Shropshire's oldest manufacturers is looking ahead to next year when it will celebrate 150 years in business.

Craven Dunnill in Jackfield has had its famous signage restored and repainted as the bosses look ahead to next year when they will celebrate 150 years of trading.

In a turn of appreciation for the oldest purpose-built tile factory in the world, Jackfield Tile Museum’s iconic ‘ghost sign’ has been repainted to honour the original signage. Jackfield is one of the oldest known ceramic production centres in Shropshire, a tradition dating back to the 16th Century.

The building is a true gem of Shropshire, and the paintwork is said to date back to 1872.

Managing director Simon Howells said: "The sign hadn't been restored for 75 years. We have a very good relationship with Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and we approached them about restoring the sign.

"The tile factory was actually founded in 1872, and so we celebrate 150 year anniversary next year. We wanted to celebrate the anniversary with something tangible.

"We still talk about the fact that the factory is still based here, it is the beating heart and our birthplace, and we are still very proud to be manufacturing in Shropshire."

The work was completed last Friday by a Ludlow-based restoration company called Treasure and Son. For Simon and the rest of the team at Craven Dunnill, looking back is as important as looking forward.

Mr Howells added: "We have been making tiles for a long time, and we can celebrate the quality of product and output and now the newly repainted sign is symbolic of what we want to do in the future.

"Tile-making is an endangered craft. We have supplied tiles for iconic projects around the world - we handmade tiles for Harrods food halls, law courts in the United States, the Houses of Parliament and hotels in Uruguay.

"For us it is merging a historic pride and innovation for the future. We are really glad that people can actually see the original branding back to its perfect condition, and we are very proud and one of the most eminent names in history of tiles. It is the start of the 150 years' celebration next year."

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