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Not so much a blank canvas: more a palimpsest

Some companies move into brand spanking new units. Others have their premises built for them. Still others rent or buy efficient but somewhat soulless units on industrial estates. We've chosen a different route. The building we've leased down on Whapload Road  in Lowestoft (in the area that was once home to the beach fishing village, known as The Grit), is no blank canvas. It's a palimpsest, with layers of history barely hidden under the paint, the plaster and the dirt of years.  Most recently it was home to Sunrise Books, a labour-intensive mail-order book retailer occupying all three floors and sending books all over the world. When we first viewed the build the book retailer's (somewhat organically created) shelving was...

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Braiding trawler nets in Lowestoft, before the great flood.

We found this old photo, dated August 1951, in a Suffolk bric a brac sale. It shows women braiding trawler nets in a Lowestoft net works down on Whapload Road. It prompted me to think about many aspects of business, and life. We can’t be 100% certain (there are a few of these old works along the road) but we think it might be the very same building that we are moving into to create the Blackshore atelier.  This picture was taken fewer than 18 months before the devastating floods of January 1953 virtually wiped the old beach fishing village off the map. After the floods demolition began in earnest and the last of the old fishing community was lost.  Only...

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It's so much more than a button!

A button, surely, is a button, is a button? Well, it turns out, not quite. Most buttons on most clothes are plastic. And pretty much everybody agrees now that plastic is not such a good thing after all!  At Blackshore we've decided right from the off to not use plastic in any of our products, or in our packaging. So that means no plastic buttons. Potentially a problem. Well it would be, were it not for the revival of the British button making industry, driven pretty much singlehanded by an amazing little company called Courtney & Co (www.courtneyandco.uk). Button-making in the UK goes back as far the 16th Century, when British-made buttons were traded by the merchant explorers of India, Cathay, the...

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