Farewell, Ernest Wright & Son

ernest wright scissors studio

‘That’s modern technology for you,’ I overheard a man say, as I walked past the confetti in the gutter.

I was on my way to the closing down sale of Ernest Wright & Son.

I suspect the owners of this handcrafted scissor factory wouldn’t have known an online marketing campaign if it had slapped them round the face like a fish in batter. Yet they’d managed to go viral, exploding into people’s consciousness thanks to Youtube video, The Putter. It’s no small irony that the filmmaker died two years ago.

As a crowd of us gathered at the locked door, early morning sun was already burning through a cloudless sky. Conversation was muted.

sheffield

This is old school Sheffield. A city centre that has weathered the Industrial Revolution.

sheffield alley

Then the doors opened and I felt as though I was stepping through a portal. I was. It’s not often you get to witness a piece of history dissolving before your eyes.

handmade scissors

ernest wright boy and scissors

fetlock scissors

These are fetlock scissors, for trimming around a horse’s hooves. I wonder how many of those were sold a year. I wonder who else makes them.

ernest wright and sons studio sheffield

The studio equipment is being sold off, along with every last pair of scissors made.

ernest wright and sons studio

I bought some scissors, unmarked, still lacking their final polish. I liked them that way. Then I took a last look around and retreated through the portal, blinking in the glare of the sun.

I walked back up the hill, past the wedding confetti. A little metallic star winking for each last blade sharpened in a Victorian warehouse in a Northern town where the bricks are still stained with soot.

confetti

Farewell, Ernest Wright & Son. You did Sheffield proud.

This entry was posted in sewing, sewing and knitting, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Farewell, Ernest Wright & Son

  1. Your photos are amazing. What a loss, and what a history. Thanks for sharing.

  2. jackallcraft says:

    How very sad to lose such a longstanding maker.

  3. Beth (SunnyGal Studio) says:

    sad to see this close. But can you let us know why? if you did find out. Not enough sales? or perhaps no one wanted to continue the business?

  4. Mem says:

    I have a pair of tailors shears which I haven’t used yet . I bought them from a little shop here in Fitzroy Melbourne . I shall treasure them even more

  5. Phnip says:

    I purchased cutting out scissors as well as a pair of duck bill scissors from them at the last knitting and stitching show I was at. I seemed to remember chat about a guarantee but I suppose that can no longer be the case. They are terrific scissors and I am so glad I got them. It is so sad to see those old skills coming to an end.

  6. Jess says:

    Beautiful words. Such a well-crafted tribute at the end of an institution.

  7. CurlsnSkirls says:

    Sensitively photographed and written.
    Thank you.

  8. Lynne says:

    Goodness me, I didn’t know they were closing! That’s such a shame. I have three pairs of their scissors, which are fantasic – my embroidery scissors are beside me as I type. I’m very sorry for everybody who will be losing their jobs.

  9. Caroline Joynson says:

    Such a tragic and sad tale. Thank you for sharing your experience with such sensitivity.

  10. Robin says:

    Lovingly rendered Karen, thank you.

  11. Sarah says:

    This is so sad. I have two pairs of scissors from them and treasure my duck billed pair. What a loss.

  12. mensew says:

    What a beautiful and sad tribute 🙏🙏🙏

  13. Barbara Barrett says:

    Beautiful writing and a touching story. Thanks for posting!

  14. Such a sad loss. Your post captures the sadness of it perfectly.

  15. Els says:

    Thank you, beautifully written. A very sad story.

  16. Thank you for sharing that. It’s amazing to see the things that happen in parts of the world so far from your own.

  17. Very well written Karen. Such a sad story and too bad that they ran into troubles with filling those orders. Sad that he killed himself as well. You handled this very sensitively.

  18. Wow! I had no idea.
    How very sad. I met Nick the owner at one of the big shows – possibly Ally Pally. I complained that the scissors I had bought from him were faulty and kept jamming. He told me to try the ones he had on display, then Take a pair home.

    I asked him what I should do with the faulty ones and he said, he said he would be very grateful if I would send them back but not to worry if I didn’t. then took some cash out of his pocket for the postage!! I declined the postage but did make sure that I sent them back!

    Such a lovely man and an amazing company!

  19. Bunny says:

    Beautiful photography. It really tells the story.

  20. Doug says:

    When I received the email explaining what had happened and the company was closing I was absolutely stunned. Only two hours before I had received two pairs of the Stainless Kutrite kitchen scissors the Kickstarter Program was run for. For those two hours I was so pleased at the firms success and then such saddened followed. We tried we failed.

  21. craftycreeky says:

    Very sad, I’m so glad I bought two pairs last year, I shall treasure them

  22. Neil Abraham-Dowsing says:

    Earnest Wright is not dead. I was the person who persuaded Nick Wright to put the Kutrite back into production. Then came the Kickstarter campaign. A fellow kickstarter backer whom I am in touch with has bought all the assets. The original employees are now back making scissors again. The new website will be up soon.

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