Ashdown Workshop was formed early 2012 and was officially launched in May 2012. We're a small family run business, father and son to be exact, and are located in Sussex, England. We focus on 100% handmade and handcrafted items, mainly those formed from leather. The business was set up through our desire to design, produce and own items of the highest standard and quality. Our main leatherworker started out working in saddlery in the 1970's, having the pleasure of making saddles of the highest standard and quality for the royal family amongst other things. After honing his skills for many years, we've been lucky enough to utilise his skills. We work with original antique leather tools, no plastic parts or stanley knives here. These superior quality tools and our extensive knowledge in the leather trade allow us to produce products with no use of any kind of machines whatsoever. All of our products are hand-cut and hand-stitched, a technique now rarely used due to the affordable access and speed of modern sewing machines. We pride ourselves on the ability to make products in this way, something on which the whole business is built upon.
We use only the best materials which are all sourced locally in the UK. We mainly use a premium veg-tanned leather, something that not only looks the part but will stand the test of time and only get better with age. The leathers will patina nicely and darken in colour, with all pieces uniquely ageing throughout their life depending on their type and amount of use, gaining character. Where we have created non-leather products, we still adhere to the same stringent rules of using only basic tools and our bare hands. We believe in products that are all about the quality and not so much about the quantity. Know that you are buying a product that is hand crafted with care, looks the part, takes care of the job functionally, a product that will last for years.
Our main leatherworker, John Hammett, started off training at a leather college (The Cordwainer's College, which has now merged with London College of Fashion) in Mare Street, Hackney, London in 1967. He then went on to work for W&H Gidden which holds the Royal Warrant as saddlers to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. There John was involved with making a saddle for Princess Anne, presented to her for wining the European Championship three-day event in 1971. John was also involved with making saddles for outriders on the queens ceremonial carriages (postilion saddles). John also made saddles for Shah of Iran (1941 - 1980) for his birthday celebrations and Saddles were made and maintained for a number of top show-jumpers throughout the 1970's.