MIA member Cavendish Pianos have been mentioned by Prince Charles as a heritage craft in decline.
The Telegraph have published the story where Prince Charles stresses the importance to ensure the survival of traditional craft for future generations.
Here’s a copy of the article written by Patrick Sawer; a senior reporter at The Telegraph:
The Prince of Wales has lamented the decline in traditional craft skills in Britain and called for more to be done to ensure their survival for future generations.
He spoke out as a landmark report warned that dozens of crafts – including piano, fan, broom and parchment making – are dying out.
Others, such as cricket ball making, saw and spade making, gold beating and sieve making, have already disappeared in the face of cheap imports or falling demand.
The threat to Britain’s craft skills has been highlighted in a report warning that many could disappear altogether, unless more is done to highlight their importance to the country’s heritage.
Now Prince Charles has called for a greater “appreciation” of traditional craftsmanship and for more effort to preserve their continued existence.
He said: “Traditional crafts are as much a part of our shared heritage as our wonderful historic landscapes, beautiful buildings, rare breeds of native farm animals and varied museum collections.
“I urgently believe that we must gather more information on the crafts identified so far to ensure that no more treasured skills are lost forever.”
In a foreword to the Heritage Craft Association’s first Red List of Endangered Crafts report, the Prince added: “I very much hope that the Red List will encourage more interest and further research into this prized aspect of our heritage, expanding our shared appreciation of traditional craftsmanship and, of course, placing these crafts on a sustainable footing so that they can continue to bring genuine economic and cultural benefits to our communities for generations to come.”
The report states that the traditional manufacture of cricket balls, sieves or riddles, and lacrosse sticks, along with gold beating, has already died out.
According to the HCA much of the blame lies with the growth of mass manufacturing, along with imports from countries where materials and labour are considerably cheaper than in Britain.
Chinese imports of cheap gold leaf all but killed off the British gold beating industry, and the last existing manufacturer, Birmingham’s W. Habberley Meadows, ceased production after being unable to find anyone willing to take on the long and painstaking process of learning the craft.
Similarly, hand stitched cork and leather cricket ball are now imported from south Asian and finished off in the UK.
London-based Dukes Cricket Balls stopped making them in this country after changes to migration rules made it harder to recruit foreign workers and no British youngsters showed an interest in taking up an apprenticeship.
There is a danger traditional cricket bat making will go the same way, warns the HCA, with craftsmen who work with English willow wood undercut by mass manufacturers, both at home and abroad.
Traditional piano making has suffered a collapse, with only one commercial craft maker in existence compared to 360 at the start of the 20th Century.
Cavendish Pianos, in North Yorkshire, aims to make 50 pianos a year in the face of cheap imports from China and Indonesia.
Ian Keys, Chair of the HCA, said “Craft skills today are in the same position that historic buildings were a hundred years ago – but we now recognise the importance of old buildings as part of our heritage, and it’s time for us to join the rest of the world and recognise that these living cultural traditions are just as important and need safeguarding too.”
Check out the amazing stuff that Cavendish Piano’s do here: http://www.cavendishpianos.com/about.html