Maggie Throup MP shares her thoughts on the importance and legacy of Long Eaton in the run up to Long Point happening from 17th - 19th September. We are also looking forward to welcoming Ms Throup to The Exchange on 17th September to offiially open our new home. Register your attendance here: https://bit.ly/2NxTbmM
With just a few days before the opening of the biannual Autumn Long Point exhibition, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on Long Eaton’s rich history of furniture manufacturing and how this industry has put Erewash on the map for producing some of the finest upholstery that, to this day, remains in high demand and is exported worldwide.
As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Industry Group, I am immensely proud to say to fellow colleagues of mine that the beating heart of the UK upholstery industry lies within Erewash. We have a worldwide reputation which means that, later this month people from far and wide will travel to Long Eaton to view and purchase some of the finest sofas and easy chairs the UK has to offer.
Long Eaton’s reputation for producing household furniture of the highest quality is unprecedented and the town has deservedly earned the title of the “UK Centre of Excellence for Upholstery Manufacturing”, with craftsmen such as F & M Steed Ltd., Artistic Upholstery Ltd., David Gundry Upholstery Ltd. and Whitehead Design all manufacturing furniture for more than 30 years. But to name just a fraction of furniture manufacturers in Long Eaton would be doing our community a disservice, as all traders and manufacturers equally contribute to the growth of our local economy and produce fine handcrafted furniture.
The name Long Eaton is so significant and important that many furniture manufacturers elsewhere in the country have permanent offices and showrooms located in the town, with many more finding somewhere to display their products during the Long Point exhibitions. Furthermore, much of the upholstery manufactured in Long Eaton can be found in the best retailers, house furnishers, design studios and hotels in the UK, and exported throughout the world.
I have seen for myself the fantastic furniture made in Erewash and how much of a significant contributor to the British economy this industry is. Locally, there are over 50 companies involved in furniture manufacturing and its supply chain in Long Eaton. It employs 2,700 people and the turnover of these Long Eaton companies is in excess of £250 million each year. This clearly shows that the furniture industry continues to thrive in Erewash and that the appreciation of and desire for handmade British craftsmanship remains in high demand both nationally and globally.
Over 8,000 furniture companies across the UK have a combined annual turnover of £11 billion and employ more than 118,000 people. This demonstrates that the furniture industry is thriving, creating jobs for our local communities and bringing interest and buyers from abroad.
Many of the manufacturers here in Long Eaton already export products far and wide. However, the emphasis the Government has put on Britain becoming a global exporter post-Brexit also presents further fantastic opportunities to access new markets outside of the UK and Europe.
I am sure you will also be aware that the restoration works of the Palace of Westminster have already begun and this refurbishment will undoubtedly include the restoration of thousands of pieces of upholstered furniture across the estate, including the famous green benches.
If craftsmen and women from Long Eaton were able to contribute to the restoration, I believe this would elevate the Long Eaton furniture brand a step higher, as the tradition and skills that are unique to our town would be showcased for all to see in the oldest Parliament in the world.
Like the art of upholstery itself, where much of the detailed work goes unseen, covered neatly by colourful fabric, Long Eaton’s brand is so much more than just a logo or a title.
I am sure that this September’s Long Point exhibition in Long Eaton will be no exception and will once again bring traders from far and wide to view and purchase some of our nation’s finest handmade furniture.