Best Midlands Design

Acme Whistles

acmewhistleslider    Acme whistles have been made in Birmingham since 1870 and even in these difficult financial times the company is still going strong. They moved into their factory on Barr Street a century ago. They currently make around six million whistles, sirens and hooters every year. They still have the original bench at which the founder, Joseph Hudson, made the very first police whistle in the 1880s, replacing wooden rattles that the “peelers” had previously used to sound the alert. And they also have some of the original Acme Thunderers used for decades by football referees. “The very first soccer whistles were made in 1884,” says Simon Topman, Acme’s owner and a man with a clear passion for whistles and their history. “Joseph Hudson’s great invention was to pop the pea into the whistle and so the familiar trill of the Acme Thunderer was heard.” He tried to sell the invention to Aston Villa, his local team, who weren’t interested so he went across the Midlands to Nottingham Forest who were more enthusiastic. The novelty soon caught on and referees no longer had to signal foul play by waving handkerchiefs. To most England football fans their finest hour was signalled with the words “they think it’s all over…” but it was an Acme Thunderer used by Swiss referee Gottfried Dienst which brought the 1966 World Cup final to an end. The whistle now resides in a football museum in Switzerland. Acme whistles also played their part in the tragedy of World War I. More than a million were issued to infantrymen and the sound of the police-style whistles was the signal for the troops to leave the relative safety of the trenches and advance in the face of machine gun fire. At one point they ran out of brass and instead used recycled biscuit tins to make the whistle cylinders. Acme also supplied whistles to the White Star Line (makers of the Titanic) and it’s likely that the sound would have been used to assemble passengers at the lifeboats, or to call out for help across the water as the Titanic sank. Acme used the original tools to sell make and sell thousands of special Titanic whistles on the back of the film’s popularity. (Source BBC News Channel, Sunday, 24 May 2009)

AGA Cooker

AGA RangemasterThe AGA is the world’s best cooker using radiant heat from all around the food to lock in taste and goodness. It is the heart of the home and acts as a people magnet. The AGA provides the context in which generations remember growing up. First it ran on solid fuels and then with an oil or gas equivalent. AGA has always been ready to modernise changing fuel types.

Now to the electric generation and increasing programmability. In 2011 the AGA Total Control was launched – a factory-finished product which has great international potential as an AGA that is ‘on when you want it and off when you don’t’. Now it can also be turned on and off using a standard mobile phone, smartphone, PC, laptop, iPad or tablet. The AGA is a design classic and is like a little black dress – always classy, always appropriate. The AGA brand is not only a great British cooker but also a great Midlands brand icon.

1935---Aga-Standard-Cooker-AGA is a brand that has a great heritage and is also futuristic and energetic. The AGA is made in Coalbrookdale at the World Heritage site foundry of Abraham Darby who was given a patent by Queen Anne in 1707 to make cast iron cooking pots which AGA still does there today seen in our new Jubilee collection. The AGA itself was first made in the UK in 1929 in Smethwick and has been made in Coalbrookdale since 1946. It has become embedded in British life and culture – having a great marketing history inspired first by David Ogilvy and then through outstanding campaigns for the ‘AGAstocracy’ in the 1950s and the ‘Iron Age Man and Woman’ from 2001.


AGA Total Control

AGA Total Control

AGA Total Control – one of the world’s most loved kitchen classics combining iconic design features with electric generation programmability. The AGA Total Control was launched in 2011, ‘on when you want it and off when you don’t', this can be turned on and off using a standard mobile phone, smartphone, PC, laptop, iPad or tablet.

Amtico Flooring

Amtico brings together the most innovative flooring collections. As the driving force behind these leading collections, they ensure every product is expertly produced to combine stunning design with technical excellence, meeting the highest of expectations.

For almost 50 years, their dedicated designers have researched materials, techniques and trends from around the world to bring customers floors at the cutting-edge of design. A versatile and extensive range of products equips designers and end users alike with flooring to complement any space – commercial or residential – on any scale.

Amtico International was acquired by Mannington Mills in the Spring of 2012. One of the world’s leading manufacturers of fine flooring, Mannington Mills, Inc., based in Salem, New Jersey (USA), is engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of residential and commercial sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl, laminate, hardwood and porcelain tile floors, as well as commercial carpet and rubber.

Founded in 1915 by John B. Campbell, Mannington is still privately held, and after almost 100 years, continues its commitment to quality, customer satisfaction and the environment through innovative product design and marketing, state-of-the-art processes and industry-leading programs.

Aston Martin DB5

number6 (2)Often billed as the “most famous car in the world”, James Bond’s gadget-laden Silver Birch DB5 in “Goldfinger” became many a schoolboy’s dream. Regarded by many as one of the most beautiful

Aston Martins ever produced, the DB5 was launched to great acclaim in 1963 and perfectly embodied the company’s ongoing vision of  ’Power, Beauty and Soul’.

Beautifully clothed in a handformed aluminium body, the DB5 boasted Aston Martin’s new 4.0 litre Straight Six engine which produced 282bhp and launched the car from 0-60mph in 7.1seconds with a top speed of

142mph. The quintessial 60′s British sportscar the DB5 has, over the last fifty years, become an icon in its own right and as such the mere 898 coupes that were built by Aston Martin continue to appreciate greatly in value.

Aston Martin DB9 Coupe

Building on one of the world’s most iconic luxury grand tourers, the new DB9 has been designed to promote elegance and balance using the ‘golden ratio’ at the heart of its sleek exterior proportions. Combining this with advanced engineering, the DB9 is the most aerodynamic and elegant ever produced.

Aston Martin Rapide S

Aston Martin Rapide SAston Martin’s world-leading design team created unique new styling. Two examples; a new rear deck profile enhances aerodynamics, a new full-face aluminium grille honed as a single piece by hand creates a striking front profile. Agile, balanced, controlled. A near perfect 48:52 front / rear weight distribution means Rapide S is unique, a true sports car with four-doors. Aston Martin took industry-leading VH architecture and made Rapide S even more agile than the previous model. Weighing just 1990kg the engine was lowered by nearly 20mm. Rapide S is a four-door car with world-class dynamics. A four-door car that’s every inch a sports car. (Source: Aston Martin website).

Aston Martin Vanquish

Aston Martin Vanquish  The new Vanquish is Aston Martin’s ultimate Grand Tourer and a masterful blend of art, technology, craftsmanship and pure adrenalin. Unveiled as Project AM310 Concept at the Concorso D’Eleganza at Villa D’Este on the shores of Lake Como, Italy in April 2012, Aston Martin announced that the concept would be put into production later that same year. Powered by a new V12 engine and clothed in an all carbon fibre body, Vanquish is the first of a new breed of Aston Martin – a seductive fusion of design, craftsmanship, technology and world beating performance capability, the Vanquish is simply the best Aston Martin ever built.

Birds Custard

Alfred Bird, the inventor of the renowned Bird’s Custard, registered as a pharmacist in Birmingham in 1842, having served an apprenticeship to Phillip Harris of Birmingham. He was a qualified chemist and druggist. Elizabeth, his wife, was allergic to eggs and couldn’t eat home-made custard, so in 1837, Bird invented an egg-free custard, supplied in powdered form which he started selling from a shop in Bell Street near the Bull Ring. Advertising started around 1875 and Bird’s Custard quickly became renowned as a wholesome and nutritious food. Bird’s Custard is a cornflour-based powder which thickens to form a custard-like sauce when mixed with milk and heated to a sufficient temperature. A food and drink survey carried out in 2000 found 99% of customers recognised the brand, accounting for 45% of the custard consumed in the UK.

After he discovered his custard was popular, Bird formed Alfred Bird and Sons Ltd in Birmingham and by 1844 the company was promoting custard powder nationally. By 1895 Bird’s Jelly Crystal Powder was introduced along with Blancmange powder and jelly powder.

In late 2004 Bird’s Custard was sold to Premier Foods, the current owners. The original Bird’s custard factory has long ceased to exist, but the larger factory Bird’s opened in Gibb Street, Digbeth, remains and has been adapted as the Custard Factory arts centre. It sits in 5 acres originally built by Sir Alfred Frederick, the son of Alfred Bird. At its peak over one thousand people worked there. Now an arts and media centre it houses a community of around 500 artists and creative groups who have access to affordable work space and facilities.

Brintons Fine Carpets

BrintonsBrintons likes to remind its customers that their carpet business is only 6 years younger than the USA. Clearly, quite a lot can happen in 227 years. Founded by William Brinton in 1783 to manufacture spun yarns it was based at Hill Pool in Chaddesley, Kidderminster . Its first factory in Kidderminster was established in 1820 and the company still has a major manufacturing presence on the Stourport edge of the town. Over the years Brintons Carpets has built up a global business employing 1700 people, turning over c£80m with an 80 person strong design team around the world. When asked recently about their design archives their Managing Director was clear about the unique asset this represents. “Our design archive collections represent a resource which is about authenticity and tradition – something that cannot be replicated and whilst designs can be ‘knocked off’ no one has the provenance that our collections represent.”The company has a great design heritage and it’s still as vibrant and cherished as it’s ever been. We rely on design, referring back to our archives for design inspiration, re-interpreting this in light of today’s trends and our clients’ aims and aspirations, as well as encompassing other design elements such as detailed project management, planning and estimating which, if done properly, can save thousands of pounds on a project. It’s this approach, coupled with constant innovations to processes and technologies in our production, that’s helping to keep us ahead in such a fiercely competitive global market.” Brintons own the world’s largest design archive and historical pattern library in the industry, restored and preserved by their own dedicated archivists. These Design Archive Collections from around the world have been brought together over the past 15 years and the company is still discovering works that they never knew they possessed. The company archivist, Yvonne Smith, spoke recently about how she had discovered an extensive collection of 800 Japanese stencils dating to 1890 that they never knew they had, which turned out to be one of the largest collections outside the V&A. “However”, she says, “a lot of work has never been archived as it was designed with the thought that it would never be used again and discarded.”The company has 3 rooms full of their archives. Whilst they’ve managed to digitise about half of their archives, this is very much an ongoing project and one which occupies Yvonne’s mind as she juggles the archive management with the day-to-day demands for design inspiration coming from their global design team. Brintons has a dozen offices in the USA, a London Design Centre in Clerkenwell, offices in Singapore and Australia with an international team of Field Designers based around these offices and elsewhere worldwide. Their Field Designers send in ideas discussed with their clients representing the types of look, feel and specifications that they want to achieve in their carpeting approach. Yvonne searches the archive materials for designs matching these approaches, sending out design materials amounting to a collection to inspire further designs, discussion and ultimately a contract for a carpet design. She sends out about 500-600 designs a week from their archive materials and no other carpet manufacturer has such an extensive design resource. Alongside this approach Brintons produces brochures with new commercial and residential collections and have enjoyed very successful design collaborations with designers including Timorous Beasties, “two wonderfully colourful and eccentric (and brilliant) Glaswegian designers, Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons”, says Harry, together with Laura Ashley and the flamboyant, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen. The company has also enjoyed high profile creative collaborations with designers, Vivienne Westwood and Manolo Blahnik, resulting in some stunning advertising campaigns. Earlier design relationships include with Edouard Benedictus and E A Seguy producing work for the company from 1890′s-1910. Other notable designers for the firm include – Christopher Dresser and even Henri Matisse. Anna Maria Garthwaite was a silk designer at Spitalfields who died c1760 but who was considered such a craftswoman that her name was used on the finest designs for sometime after this period and can still be seen on original designs in their collection. They hold a selection of original artwork from Morris & Co as Brintons supplied the esteemed William Morris business with carpets over an extended period. They have 3-4 works by architect and designer, Charles Francis Annesley Voysey; “We had more,” sighs Yvonne, “but these have since disappeared.” During the restoration of Kew Palace carpet designs were inspired by those woven for Osborne House on the Isle of Wight drawing on the original hand-painted artworks in the Brintons archive, where Prince Albert’s signature can be still be seen, clearly written – an elaborate hand executed with some flourish, able to impress over 100 years later. Their earliest dated pattern is from 1798. Paper was very expensive as it was taxed with all the patterns represented in the smallest feasible scale. Carpets at this time were handwoven and Seymour Reginald Brinton subsidised little factories all over England and Ireland, including Kildare carpets, later responsible for the carpets on the ill-fated Titanic. When ‘Titanic’ was being filmed the production company came to Brintons who were able to supply them with designs from the Kildare carpet company archive. More recently Brintons collaborated with Milwaukee Museum on Biedermeier designs. Yvonne doesn’t know off the top of her head how many hand-painted papers are in their archive, but reckons a conservative estimate must put it at over 30,000 – all needing to be filed, referenced, digitised and ready to draw on as the company re-invents itself to satisfy our insatiable appetite for design.

Brooks England Saddles

Brooks England     JB Brooks & Co. became known and respected for its beautiful leather handcrafted saddles, and soon started to make cycle and motorcycle bags and other accessories.

Traditional techniques in manufacturing leather saddles were passed down from generation to generation of craftsmen as the company grew under the guidance of the Brooks family until 1958.

In 1962 Brooks became part of Raleigh and moved to the current works in Smethwick in the West Midlands, just a few miles away from the original premises.

In the last decade, we have struck out on our own again as Brooks England, following a new course that honours the company’s heritage. Inspired by the timeless products designed by our predecessors, we have revived the original slogan ‘Saddles, Bags, Etc’ and introduced a range of cycle bags and other cycling accessories.

Brooks England is steeped in history, a prestige brand that boasts almost 150 years of tradition and expertise. But quality and style never age.

Cadbury’s Chocolate

Cadbury's    In 1824, John Cadbury began selling tea, coffee, and drinking chocolate, which he produced himself, at Bull Street in Birmingham, England. He later moved into the production of a variety of cocoa and drinking chocolates, made in a factory in Bridge Street and sold mainly to the wealthy because of the high cost of production. John Cadbury became a partner with his brother Benjamin and the company they formed was called ‘Cadbury Brothers of Birmingham’
In the 1850s the industry received a much needed boost, with the reduction in the high import taxes on cocoa, allowing chocolate to be more affordable to everybody.

Due to the popularity of a new expanded product line, including the “Cadbury’s Cocoa Essence”, the company decided to cease trading in tea in 1873. Master confectioner Frederic Kinchelman was appointed to share his recipe and production secrets with Cadbury, which led to an assortment of chocolate covered products.

Taking over the business in 1861, John Cadbury’s sons Richard and George decided in 1878 that they needed new premises. Better transport access for milk that was inward shipped by canal, and cocoa that was brought in by rail from London, Southampton and Liverpool docks was taken into consideration. They acquired the Bournbrook estate, on the outskirts of Birmingham renaming it the Bournville estate and opened the Bournville factory the following year.

In 1893, George Cadbury bought 120 acres close to the works and planned a model village to ‘alleviate the evils of modern more cramped living conditions’. By 1900 the estate included 313 cottages and houses set on 330 acres of land. As the Cadbury family were Quakers there were no pubs in the estate. In 1905, Cadbury launched its Dairy Milk bar, with a higher proportion of milk than previous chocolate bars, and it became the company’s best selling product by 1913. Fruit and Nut was introduced as part of the Dairy Milk line in 1928, soon followed by Whole Nut in 1933. By this point, Cadbury was the brand leader in the United Kingdom.

These were accompanied by several other products: Flake (1920), Cream-filled eggs (1923), Crunchie (1929) and Roses (1938). Cadbury’s Milk Tray was first produced in 1915 and continued in production throughout the remainder of the First World War. In 1919 Cadbury merged with J. S. Fry & Sons, another chocolate manufacturer, resulting in the integration of well-known brands such as Fry’s Chocolate Cream and Fry’s Turkish Delight.

During World War II, parts of the Bournville factory were turned over to war work, producing milling machines and seats for fighter aircraft. As chocolate was regarded as an essential food, it was placed under government supervision for the entire war. The wartime rationing of chocolate ended in 1949, and normal production resumed. Cadbury subsequently built new factories and had an increasing demand for their products.
Cadbury merged with drinks company Schweppes to form Cadbury Schweppes in 1969. In 2007 Cadbury Schweppes split its business into two separate entities: one focusing on its main chocolate and confectionery market; the other on its US drinks business.

On 7 September 2009 Kraft Foods made a £10.2 billion (US$16.2 billion) indicative takeover bid for Cadbury. The offer was rejected, with Cadbury stating that it undervalued the company. Kraft launched a formal, hostile bid for Cadbury valuing the firm at £9.8 billion on 9 November 2009. On 19 January 2010, it was announced that Cadbury and Kraft Foods had reached a deal and that Kraft would purchase Cadbury for £8.40 per share, valuing Cadbury at £11.5bn (US$18.9bn).
On 2 February 2010, Kraft finalised the deal and Cadbury was delisted from the stock market and fully integrated as part of Kraft in early 2010.

Chase Distillery

Chase DistilleryWilliam Chase, founder of Tyrrells has recently embarked on a new venture based out of his farm in Herefordshire, the Chase Distillery producing their first bottle of Chase Vodka in 2008 which has been voted the voted the Best Vodka by San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2010. He tells his story in his own words on his website ” I grew up here in Herefordshire and feel very lucky to have been brought up in this beautiful part of the world. I had been farming potatoes for 20 years, mostly supplying supermarkets as a commodity, which after, left me feeling detached – without any feedback from the end customer. With the continual price pressure from the supermarkets as well, I realised I had to change direction. I wanted to remain in farming and produce a great tasting product we could make from potatoes. I was hit one day with the eureka moment to turn my potatoes into chips. I then spent 2002 travelling the world to source the equipment and recipe to make potato chips. By the summer, “Tyrrells” was born. My Tyrrells homemade chips sold really well and were a big success as customers bought into the ‘pedigree’ of the product: that we were actually growing the potatoes and making a genuine product on our farm. As Tyrrells grew I was searching for the next step. In 2004 whilst travelling in the USA, looking for packaging equipment for the chips, I stumbled on a small distillery making potato vodka and thought this would be a great new chapter to life. So I returned home, thought about it and decided it would definitely be more fun making vodka. I researched the market and found it to be full of a lot of ‘twee’ marketing stories or large corporate companies. So I thought there would be a market if we could make a quality produce and sell it with the provenance and pedigree. So I sourced a traditional type of still to make the vodka base but my research told me that to get the best quality, without filtering all of the character out, we needed a bespoke rectifying column. It was hard work but eventually we found a great family firm with over 100 years of experience to supply us with one. From the idea in 2004, it took us until April fool’s day 2008 to make the first of our potatoes and then make the first batch of vodka in June 2008. Upon tasting the very first drop from the column before filtering I was so enamoured and proud of it I decided to call it Chase Vodka. So the Williams Chase distillery was born. The next shock was how little volume we produced: 16 tonnes of potatoes produced only 1000 litres of alcohol! Which after 40 hours was very disheartening but it is testament to the quality of our vodka. So with this supreme quality over all of the other mass produced vodka I was sure it would work.”

Dunlop Tyres

dunlop-motorsport-230x131    It was back in 1888 that John Boyd Dunlop, a Scottish vet living in Belfast, replaced the solid tyres on his son’s tricycle with thin rubber strips, glued together and inflated with air. It was the first step along the road of a brand that was to provide some of the world’s best known products.
Little did J.B. Dunlop realise at the time that in fashioning those makeshift tyres, he would revolutionise transport across the planet. How many of us still realise today, for instance, that we owe much of our driving pleasure and safety on the road to a little child on his trike?

Today, the pneumatic tyre is more than 120 years old. Dunlop celebrates its enduring success and the unique role that the brand has played in pioneering and enhancing the performance of tyres through the years.

The history of Dunlop tyres is inextricably linked with the innovations introduced by the company. This history goes hand in hand with Dunlop’s commitment to motor-racing competition in all its forms, because the transfer of racing technology to tyres for everyday driving on the road is a genuine tradition that goes right back to the earliest days of the Dunlop tyre company. And over the course of more than 120 years, Dunlop has achieved exceptional results on the race track, including 34 victories in the famous Le Mans 24-Hour car endurance race.

At the present time, Dunlop continues to be involved right across the world in a whole range of sports on two and four wheels. For more than 120 years, the innovations pioneered by Dunlop and the company’s success in motorsport have enabled the brand to build up an unparalleled reputation among car and motorcycle enthusiasts everywhere. The company and its history is meshed into the Midlands Motorsports DNA with the Head Office located in Birmingham

Helmets for the Blockbuster film

Helmets for the Blockbuster film, Prometheus, produced by CMA Moldform Ltd – the largest processers of ‘water clear’ resins  worldwide, this company’s globally recognised material knowledge and applied design capabilities have enabled it to develop and produce this resilient and lightweight polyurethane resin. Optically clear “breakaway” versions were also used and worn during filming at close quarters – as close as 6 inches from the surface of this inspirational design.

Hille Educational Chairs

Hille Educational Chairs – Birmingham Institute of Art & Design based Prf Richard Snell and David Rowe took a considered and holistic approach to both seating posture and sustainable materials by choosing to work with a recyclable polypropylene combining it with a tube frame to provide flexibility in seat sizing building in great strength and lower production costs.  Produced using injection moulding, its natural integrity meant no fillers were required for additional support, making it even simpler and more cost effective to recycle.

Hozelock AutoReel

Hozelock AutoReel   Hozelock’s innovative new AutoReel is the ultimate easy to use hose reel which can be smoothly and easily rewound with no kinks, tangles or effort. Andrew Mitchell MP for Sutton Coldfield where the Hozelock company is based has said the following about the AutoReel, “It is an excellent example of British engineering and innovation – designed and made by my constituents – that has achieved success not only domestically but particularly in the export market: Hozelock products are sold in more than 60 countries. This year the company were the proud recipients of several awards for their export achievements. In the current economic climate British products that succeed abroad are absolutely essential to the British economy. Exports are a key part of the Government’s plan for growth and it is companies like Hozelock through products like AutoReel that will deliver this.” Hozelock is one of Britain’s favourite gardening suppliers. They continually invest into keeping their product range up to date and they have a comprehensive range that covers garden watering, garden pressure sprayers, pond equipment and high pressure cleaners. They were founded on an airfield in 1959, in the village of Haddenham and, from their early days, their drive has always been to develop technically perfect, visibly striking products that are part of a system. Their first product was the world’s first plastic hose connector, the Hoze-Lock. Today, their head office is in Birmingham (UK), and although they are a global garden equipment manufacturer, over 75% of their products are made in Britain. With over half a century of horticultural expertise, Hozelock understands the rewards of gardening focussing on helping its customers to get the most from gardening. They combine a knowledge and passion for gardening with a pride in craftsmanship to deliver solutions to help your garden flourish and come to life.

Jaguar C-X75

800px-Silver_jaguar_c-x75     Jaguar has announced its intention to put the C-X75 into production in 2013. Voted Most Significant Concept Vehicle 2011 as well as Concept Car of the Year in Detroit 2011, the limited run of 250 cars will feature a hybrid drivetrain, although the company has not ruled out using the gas turbines seen in the original concept, which debuted last year at the Paris Motor Show.

For the production model, Jaguar will work with Williams F1, which will provide engineering expertise in areas such as aerodynamics, carbon composite manufacture and hybrid technologies.

Jaguar has announced that it intends to put the C-X75 into production in 2013. While full details of the drivetrain have not been released, the car will have small-capacity, highly boosted internal combustion engine with one powerful electric motor at each axle and will therefore have four-wheel drive. It will be capable of an electric-only range of 50km and achieve target emissions of less 99g/km C02.

Performance estimates for the production car include a sub-three second 0–60mph acceleration time and a top speed in excess of 200mph.

‘The engine’s compact size allows it to be mounted low in the car for optimum weight distribution and to retain the concept’s stunning silhouette. This will make the Jaguar C-X75 a bona fide hybrid supercar capable of silent electric running,’ said Bob Joyce, group engineering director of Jaguar Land Rover.

Jaguar said it will continue to develop the use of the micro-turbine technology that was showcased in the original concept C-X75. Jaguar’s parent company Tata has taken a significant stake in Bladon Jets, which made the turbines.

(source The Engineer)

Jaguar E-Type

untitled    The Jaguar E-Type is a British sports car, designed by Malcolm Sayer and manufactured by Jaguar Cars Ltd between 1961 and 1974 and described by Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear as one of two iconic British designs of the 20th century – the other being Concorde. Its combination of good looks, high performance, and competitive pricing established the marque as an icon of 1960s motoring. More than 70,000 E-Types were sold. It was replaced by the XJ-S.

In March 2008, the Jaguar E-Type ranked first in a Daily Telegraph online list of the world’s “100 most beautiful cars” of all time.

In 2004, Sports Car International magazine placed the E-Type at number one on their list of Top Sports Cars of the 1960s.


James Newman

James NewmanAs a graduate from the Birmingham School of Jewellery who has established his highly successful shop in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, James Newman represents the pinacle of a Birmingham “born and bred” Brand.

His trademark style marries innovation with traditional skills in the creation of his unique and distinctive designs.

He won 1st prize for design from the British Jewellers Association, has been exhibiting at the prestigious Goldsmiths Fair since 2003 and between 2004-10, served on the British Jewellers Association National Committee.

He has a place in the “Who’s Who” directory of leading jewellery designers and has worked in partnership with top fashion designer, Neil Barrett, since 2007.

He operates at the very top of his profession, but keeps his ties to Birmingham at the core of what he does.


JCBThe JCB mission is “to grow JCB by providing innovative, strong and high performance products and solutions to meet the company’s global customers’ needs.” JCB is one of the world’s top three manufacturers of construction equipment employing more than 10,000 people on four continents and selling their products in 150 countries through 2,000 dealer depots. Throughout their 66 year history, they have invested heavily in research and development, keeping JCB at the cutting edge of innovation. Today, JCB has some of the finest engineering facilities across the globe, producing a range of over 300 machines and maintaining a reputation for unrivalled customer service. JCB use their experience and understanding to develop more productive, more powerful and more profitable machines with the company now boasting one of the largest ranges of equipment in the world, with solutions for industries as diverse as construction, agriculture, waste handling, landscaping, military, timber and many other specialist areas.

London Taxis

London TaxiLondon Taxis, designed and made in Coventry, have always been built with sustainability in mind. Their robust construction means they last far longer than conventional cars, which is good for the environment. It is not uncommon for taxis to last 500,000 miles and one million miles is not unheard of. Their method of construction also helps prolong their lives: bolt on body panels mean they are easier to repair after an accident.

The latest TX4 meets Euro 5 emissions standards. Looking to the future, we have a prototype fuel cell-powered taxi which has zero tailpipe emissions – the only by-product of the fuel cell is water vapour. It will be several years before fuel cell vehicles are ready for production, but we are proud to be at the forefront of this crucial new technology.
The TX4 also comfortably meets the EU targets for the reduction of hazardous substances during manufacture and recyclability. To facilitate disposal in an environmentally friendly manner The London Taxi Company has partnered with Autogreen Ltd. Autogreen, in its role as the service provider for The London Taxi Company end of life (ELV) taxis, will provide a contracted network of “take back” and “Authorised Treatment Facilities” (ATFs) throughout the United Kingdom. This process ensures that re-use, recovery and recycling targets are met. Autogreen will take back, free of charge, any qualifying ELVs that are presented by the last owner or keeper.

The term “Hackney cab” comes from two sources: “Hackney” is an anglicised version of “Haquenee”, a French horse breed, known for its stamina and ability to trot at moderate pace for long periods.

Naturally, this made them the ideal horse for pulling carriages. More generally hackney became a term for a working horse (as opposed to a thoroughbred for racing) and is the origin of the riding term, to go for a hack.

“Cab” is a shortened form of “cabriolet” – as in the continental term for convertible car. Originally a cabriolet meant a light two wheeled carriage pulled by a single horse.

“Taxi” is an abbreviation of taximeter. The taximeter was invented in Germany and comes from the German word “Taxe” meaning charge or levy.

There is an apocryphal story that the taximeter was invented by the Baron of Thurn and Taxis, one of the richest German aristocrats, but it seems unlikely he would have been interested in calculating how many pfennigs cab drivers should charge.
The famous Conditions of Fitness that decree the 25ft turning circle of a Hackney cab were laid down by the Public Carriage Office in 1906. In the early years, the biggest taxi manufacturer was William Beardmore of Glasgow.

In 1929 Mann and Overton, the biggest taxi dealership, sponsored Austin to create a new and much more cost-effective cab which immediately dominated the market. Since that agreement, more than 70 years ago, there is a direct line of succession to today’s TX4 taxi.

McCains, Smiles

McCain Smiles   Smiles is a long established family favourite enjoyed in homes and canteens across the country as a popular accompaniment to a wide range of meals. It is simply made from mashed potato, which is formed into smiles, cooked in sunflower oil and lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. McCain works with selected farmers, some of whom we have worked with for three generations. This means they know where their potatoes come from and what potato is right for making the perfect chip, or wedge, or any other of their McCain products.

Through ongoing reformulation over recent years to reduce fat and salt content, a typical portion of Smiles contains only 4% of a child’s Guideline Daily Amount for saturated fat, and 6% GDA for salt.

Gavin Williamson MP, South Staffordshire said, “They may not be the most sophisticated of foodstuffs, but Smiley faces are a wonderfully simple idea, beloved of children the world over, and much healthier than they are often given credit for. In terms of manufacturing, the process behind such a simple outcome is highly refined. Manufacturing thousands of identical faces on a daily basis is no simple task, but it is one that McCain’s have mastered.” (Associated Parliamentary Manufacturing Group,Made By Britain Project,

Morgan Aero Coupe

Morgan Aero Couple     The Aero Coupe is an advanced supercar designed for practical long distance touring. The strong and rigid vehicle is inspired by the GT3 Aero that has enjoyed a number of racing victories. The enclosed cockpit of the Coupe body style takes the Aero experience onto the next level in terms of comfort and practicality with a large and secure boot in the rear for luggage.

Constructed entirely from aluminium which is a third of the weight of steel, the Morgan Aero Coupe combines performance with environmental responsibility and a high level of safety. The fixed roof and enclosed cabin give a sense of security and silence which is only interrupted by the intoxicating purr of the BMW V8. A stiff aluminium chassis cradles the 4.8 litre BMW V8 engine and the 6 speed manual or automatic transmission. The individual alloy parts are formed from tooling and hand assembled by skilled craftsmen at the foot of the Malvern hills. The pioneering Aero platform continues to demonstrate British engineering at its very best and over 1000 examples of this technology are in regular use by drivers around the world.

A Morgan Aero Coupe is a car that is designed to be durable with proven chemical coating and treatments of the rigid bonded chassis and body. Following research by the company on the road, the race track and in automotive laboratories the design of this versatile platform has been consistently improved and re-engineered. Now the Morgan Motor Company is a class leader in this chassis and car body technology.


Morgan Three Wheeler

Morgan Three Wheeler – a quirky quintessentially English design classic fusing high-end technology within its bullet body and aircraft-inspired leather cockpit.  As a driver experience there’s an intimacy with the environment, bringing to mind the joy of driving cars from the 20′s and 30′s, but without the temperament. As Jay Leno said, “This car’s fantastic; it’s everything my Morgan should be…There’s nothing like driving a three wheeler, it just makes you smile!”

Moulton Bicycle

Moulton CycleThe Moulton Bicycle is the original full-suspension, separable, small- wheeled, high performance bicycle, world renowned for speed, efficiency, durability and comfort.
Expertly engineered for over 50 years and handcrafted in England, these bicycles are the world’s most efficient form of transport – designed for universal use, real performance and comfort.
Dr Alex Moulton pioneered the small wheeled bicycle revolution nearly 50 years ago. All of today’s small wheeled cycles owe a debt of gratitude to the original Moulton ‘F’ frame design which not only introduced and proved the concept of full-size bicycles with small wheels, but also, right from launch in 1962, have utilised front and rear suspension systems for improved comfort and performance. The Moulton bicycle has been developed and refined constantly ever since and is held in high regard throughout the world.

Original Mini

Morris_Mini-Minor_1959   The Mini is one of the West Midlands most endearing icons designed, of course, by Sir Alec Issigonis with his colleague Dr Alex Moulton, responsible for the rubber suspension system which made it possible for the car to be one of the smallest ever built whilst maximising interior space usage.

It was this approach to size and space utilisation which makes this a contender as one of the Midlands best ever designs.

The Mini was made by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors from 1959 until 2000. Its space-saving front-wheel-drive layout (which allowed 80% of the area of the car’s floorpan to be used for passengers and luggage) influenced a generation of car-makers.

In 1999 the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century, behind the Ford Model T. Millions of Minis were built at Longbridge, Birmingham.


co-designer, Dr Moulton, explained that Sir Alec Issigonis’ brilliance was in working as both an engineer and a designer enabling him to take the Mini footprint and maximise space inside to accommodate 4 people.

“Design today,” Dr Moulton has said, “has the connotation of shape – however design is an essential part of engineering. Design should be ‘holistic’ – taking into account the whole process of product concept, development and production – whereas styling is the concern of shape and fashion.”

“Issigonis was pre-occupied with how the vehicle would be used, for example getting in and out and how you do this without hitting your head on a windscreen pillar.

“Suspension was extremely compact on the original model – the main reason the car won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally outright against all comers on the basis of agility and good road handling.”

Dr Moulton believed that there has been a changing attitude to design away from the superficial constructs of styling and revolving around how we adapt to a ‘sustainable future’, one that will demand all our capabilities in harnessing technological developments within ‘holistic design’ and bring great opportunities.

Pashley Cycles





Founded in 1926 and based in Stratford-upon-Avon, Pashley Cycles dedicated team design and hand-build a unique range of specialist bicycles and tricycles. From their flagship traditional Princess and Roadster models to the exclusive Guv’nor Path Racer, every one of their bicycles is built to exacting standards.

Their range includes classic and commuter bikes as well as retro beach cruisers . Adult and children’s tricycles provide stability and pleasure on three wheels, with a range of trikes for those with special needs. Pashley also supplies high-quality work bikes, cargo bikes and load carrier tricycles for industrial and commercial use, offering companies an economical and environmentally friendly alternative for transporting food and equipment, vending, or delivering post.

Speaking about this iconic business located in his constituency, MP Nadhim Zahawi, Stratford on Avon, said, “Pashley Cycles has been manufacturing bicycles since 1926 making it the longest established bicycle manufacturer in England and I am extremely proud that they are based in my constituency in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Their team design and hand-build a unique range of specialist bicycles and tricycles showing off the best in British design, engineering and hand manufacturing. The Guv’nor itself is based on the company’s 1930s design, bringing it up to date with modern components and design.” Associated Parliamentary Manufacturing Group, Made By Britain Project

Paul Smith

Paul SmithSir Paul Smith, CBE RDI,dubbed ‘the indisputable don of British fashion’, was born in Beeston, Nottinghamshire in 1946, is a menswear designer and icon. His clothing has been much loved over the years by men all over the world. His womenswear collections, although a later addition to his repertoire, have inspired a feverish loyalty and devotion. Renowned as a ‘decent bloke’, for his common sense and great style and taste, not to mention his immaculate tailoring, he is known internationally for his clothing collections and accessories, all famously identified by his multi-stripe signature. On leaving school at 15 Paul Smith wanted to become a racing cyclist, but a terrible accident put paid to those early ambitions. A six month stint in hospital led to the acquisition of a new circle of friends leading to his acquaintance with a group of arts students inspiring him to join their ‘colourful world of ideas and excitement’. Paul took evening classes in tailoring with Gordon Valentine Tipton in Nottinghamshire where he learnt to cut cloth and the basics. His next move was to Lincroft in Savile Row, having been spotted by the firm’s Chairman, Harold Tilman. In 1969, with the help of his girlfriend, Pauline Denyer, he was able to open his first shop in Nottingham in 1970. By 1976 he had shown his first collection in Paris under the Paul Smith label. He later became the first fashion brand to open on Floral Street in London’s Covent Garden in 1979, from there expanding into the three adjacent stores. A converted townhouse, now his flagship store, was launched in Notting Hill in 1998. That same year he showed his first women’s collection which was to rapidly escalate into an international phenomenon. Since 2007, Smith has opened stores in Dubai, Bangalore, Leeds, Antwerp, Los Angeles. In September 2010 Smith opened his second standalone womenswear store, in Mayfair, London, in addition to a brand new warehouse in Nottingham. Paul Smith remains fully involved in the business, designing clothes, choosing fabrics, approving the shop locations and overseeing every development within the company. He has showrooms in London, Paris, Milan, New York and Tokyo.


PortmeirionPortmeirion Group PLC is a British company based in Stoke-on-Trent and is listed on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange.

It is the third year running the Stoke-on-Trent pottery and tableware business has increased its sales to record levels.
Earning per share and dividends are also at an all-time high for the manufacturer.
“Portmeirion is in fine condition. Our brands are stronger and more valuable and our product ranges are deeper and wider than at any time in our 52-year history,” non-executive chairman Dick Steele said.
In the year to 31 December, revenue rose to £53.6m, up 4.6 per cent from £51.2m in the previous 12 months.
Pre-tax profits also increased from £5.2m to £6.3m – a 21 per cent jump.
Production volumes were up in the period by 18 per cent as sales grew across all its major markets, with 350 products launched in the year.
Portmeirion’s grew sales in South Korea by 9.3 per cent, 9.6 per cent in UK, and by 4.5 per cent in the US.
The US remains the company’s largest market with 40 per cent of turnover coming from the country.
The Stoke-on-Trent factory has never been busier and the business is continuing to find ways of increasing its volumes, Portmeirion told the Stock Exchange.
“While we have experienced a slower start in 2012 than we enjoyed in 2011, this was expected and our confidence remains for the full year,” the company added.
“Europe, and in particular Italy, which is our fifth largest market, is slow. Set against this, we remain confident in our larger markets and excited by the Diamond Jubilee which we are hopeful will provide significantly higher levels of business compared to those which we enjoyed for the Royal Wedding in 2011.”
The company has also ended the year with a net cash balance of £6.8m, compared with £6.2m in 2010.
Total dividend paid and proposed for 2011 increased by 13 per cent to a record 19.60p, up from 17.40p last year.
Basic earnings per share was up to 43.94p, a 25.9 per cent increase.

A significant force in the homewares industry, the Portmeirion Group, encompasses the Portmeirion, Spode, Royal Worcester and Pimpernel brands. It is a market leader in high quality and innovatively designed tableware, cookware, giftware and tabletop accessories.

The Group employs around 550 staff and has a wholly owned subsidiary in North America, Portmeirion USA, Inc. which distributes its product from Connecticut and has a main showroom at 41 Madison Avenue, New York. The Group also has a joint venture in Canada based in Toronto.

Portmeirion has an established reputation for fashionable yet timeless collections of tableware and gifts. Following in the footsteps of its founder, Susan Williams-Ellis, Portmeirion is committed to producing innovative designs that fit comfortably with everyday life epitomised by the Botanic Garden range which is a major player in the casual dining market. Botanic Garden has been a design icon since its launch in 1972. Newer award winning collections such as Sophie Conran for Portmeirion and Crazy Daisy have had worldwide success.

Range Rover Evoque

Jaguar-Land-Rover    Jaguar Land Rover is the largest UK automotive investor in research & development and UK automotive employer. Jaguar Land Rover now has around 19,000 direct UK employees, indirectly supporting up to 140,000 further jobs through its supply chain, dealer network and associated business operations, with clear and ambitious plans for growth. Around 4,700 people are employed at the Solihull Land Rover site with many more supporting the supply chain. LAND Rover’s first major success of 2012 came when the Range Rover Evoque was named North American Truck of the Year. The announcement, made at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, saw the Evoque triumph over tough competition from the BMW X3 and the Honda CR-V. The judging panel of senior US automotive journalists chose the Evoque as the winner after reviewing it against its competitors in six key categories: value for the dollar, innovation, handling, performance, safety and driver satisfaction.

The Range Rover Evoque was reviewed by 50 journalists, from throughout the United States and Canada.

The North American Truck of the Year honour is one of the recent global accolades that the Evoque has received since its launch in September 2011. In the UK, the Range Rover Evoque has been named Car of the Year by several titles including Auto Express, Top Gear and The Sun.

Lorely Burt MP for Solihull said, “ JLR is as a global company which manufactures in my constituency. Iconic products such as Range Rovers contribute to JLR exporting 75% of their products, approaching £8bn export revenue for last year.” (Associated Parliamentary Manufacturing Group,Made By Britain Project,


RayburnA Rayburn is a beautiful, controllable cast-iron range cooker, which includes a central heating boiler capable of powering your radiators and hot water system.

A Rayburn is a home energy centre. And, of course, like its sister brand AGA, a Rayburn creates the most succulent and wonderfully cooked food.

Warming the home
You don’t need a separate central heating boiler with a Rayburn. Thanks to its built-in boiler, it can power up to 20 radiators. That means you can enjoy a cosy, warm kitchen and heating for the rest of the home.

Like any other boiler, a Rayburn is fully controllable, with timers for heating and hot water. That puts you in control and maximises fuel efficiency. The Rayburn is also the first A-rated condensing appliance in the UK, meaning you save money through even more efficient fuel usage.

Hot water when you need it
A Rayburn delivers copious amounts of hot water – for showers, baths, the kitchen and the central heating. Thanks to its built-in boiler, you’ll always have plenty of hot water right when you need it. And that’s all independent of the range cooker itself.

Fabulous food
Manufactured from cast iron with a beautifully enamelled exterior, every Rayburn uses indirect heat technology to cook food. That means it’s ‘kind to food’, sealing in the flavours and natural juices. A Rayburn creates healthier, more delicious dishes – in the ovens and on the hot plate. Plus, you can dispense with your kettle and toaster (even the tumble dryer) because it can all be done with a Rayburn.

Green energy
With Rayburn acting as the centre of your home, you can be sure you are using energy as efficiently as possible. And with our new Smart System, you can also make the most of renewable energy sources by connecting a wood-burning stove, solar thermal panels or a heat pump to the Rayburn for a fully automatic green energy system.

A Rayburn for everyone
We’re all different and the lives we lead vary enormously. That’s why there’s a Rayburn for everyone. You can you choose what type of fuel you want to use, as well as whether you want a full central heating appliance – with or without hot water – or a cooker-only model. Plus, there are seven stunning colours to choose from.

Royal Worcester

Royal WorcesterRoyal Worcester was established in 1751 and has since become celebrated for producing some of the most prestigious porcelain tableware and cookware collections.The Portmeirion Group purchased the Royal Worcester brand in April 2009 and has continued to produce the Classic White and Evesham Gold ranges along with prestige hand-painted collectables. The Group will further develop and enhance this brand in the future.


Rich in history and heritage, the Spode brand has a classic product portfolio that appeals across the generations and includes many worldwide favourites such as Blue Italian and Christmas Tree. Founded in 1776, Spode is celebrated as a quintessentially British brand and has consistently launched successful ranges of table and cook ware.Following its purchase of the Spode brand in April 2009, the Portmeirion Group has brought the manufacture of some of Spode’s product range back to England. The Portmeirion Group will build on existing ranges and launch new collections of Spode.


supergroupSuperGroup is a distinctive branded UK fashion retailer offering quality clothing and accessories. It operates a multi-channel business through a combination of Cult and Superdry standalone stores, Superdry concessions, e-Commerce and its UK and International Wholesale operations.
The business was founded in 1985 and has since been developed to design and sell a wide range of premium men’s and women’s clothing under its flagship brand, Superdry, together with other own brands and a number of third-party products sold in its Cult stores. Superdry offers an international brand proposition targeted at discerning customers who are looking for stylish clothing that is uniquely designed and well made.
SuperGroup currently has 76 UK standalone Cult and Superdry retail stores, 74 concessions and a large number of wholesale relationships. Superdry is sold in 40 countries through a well established network of distributors, licensees,agents and franchisees and in 91 countries worldwide via its websites. Revenue between year end 2010 and 2011 grew from £139.4m to £237.9m with profit before tax in the period increasing from £22.5m to £47.3m. Interims to Jan 2012 showed group sales up over 25% year on year.

The AdPad


The AdPadWhilst it may seem simple, like all good ideas, I feel that it embodies the spirit of what Birmingham design should have; a smile in the mind, and not taking itself too seriously.

What is it?
It’s a drawing pad, used exclusively by Advertising creatives.

The problem before it existed?
Every time a creative scamps an ad, they draw a box around the edge of the page to house the concept. This is time consuming, when time is of the essence.

How it was solved?
A handrawn border was printed on every page of a layout pad, creating a brand synonymous with advertising and creativity.

You can find out more at

It was designed completely in the Midlands area, printed locally, and made from FSC certified materials. As a company, it has looked to helping students, as well as the wider creative community, by sponsoring awards and having a presence at leading industry events.

It has been stocked and used by many agencies in the Midlands, and by 8/10 of the Top 10 agencies in the UK.

Triumph Motorcycles

Triumph MotorcyclesTriumph Motorcycles produces distinctive high performance motorcycles renowned for outstanding engineering celebrated for their distinctive design. Through the Fifties and Sixties, names such as Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando cemented the Triumph brand’s position as a legend, while numerous land speed records and race track successes gave bikes like the Thunderbird, Bonneville, Tiger and Trident iconic status. Today Triumph is the largest surviving British motorcycle manufacturer although the name has passed through different hands since German immigrant Siegfried Bettmann introduced the Triumph Cycle Company in 1886, moving into motorcycles and producing its first motorised bicycle in 1902. Production originally took place in two factories, with one in Coventry and one in Nuremberg, Germany. Despite the split, the Allied Forces in World War 1 used Triumph motorcycles amongst the forces, and by the mid-1920s, Triumph was one of Britain’s main motorcycle and car brands. The Great Depression of the 1930s caused Triumph to sell their German subsidiary, and by 1936, the British motorcycle company had been acquired by Jack Sangster, who also owned Ariel. Following the bombing raids on Coventry during World War 2, the recovered tooling and machinery was moved to Meriden in the West Midlands in 1942. This period saw large sales of the Triumph Speed Twin, the Thunderbird for the American market, and the 1959 Triumph T120, which became known as the Bonneville. But due to the expansion of Japanese manufacturers in the late 1960s, financial problems led to redundancies and closures including the Meriden factory. This resulted in the setting up of a Meriden workers co-operative founded with Government loans, but this went into bankruptcy in 1983. The name was bought by John Bloor in 1983 who has successfully guided the re-birth of the brand and the emergence of the new Triumph company bringing back production following the construction of a new factory in Hinckley in Leicestershire. Remaining true to its heritage, Triumph has combined the very latest design and manufacturing facilities with the character and design flair that has always been associated with the famous swooping badge. Triumph motorcycles continue to build on the brand’s special character through distinctive design, performance pedigree, outstanding engineering and a unique engine sound. At the heart of Triumph’s philosophy is a commitment to developing class leading motorcycles. The Triumph range of parallel twin and three cylinder bikes combines classic British engineering and style with cutting edge technology and a character considered to be unrivalled by any other motorcycle manufacturer. The range today includes Adventure (Tiger Explorer, Tiger 800 and 1050), Classics (Bonneville, Scrambler and Thruxton), Cruisers (America, Rocket III, Speedmaster and Thunderbird), Roadsters (Speed Triple and Street Triple) and Supersports Daytona offers.

Tyrrells Crisps

TyrrellsTyrrells Crisps produces the finest hand-cooked English crisps at Tyrrells Court Farm in Herefordshire. The brand is built on strong credentials of provenance and entertaining communication. The packs reflect the entertaining, English personality of the brand by combining beautiful historical black and white photos with bold colour blocking and witty, initiatives to encourage engagement. Tyrrells potatoes are sourced from Herefordshire and cooked with their ‘jackets’ on. Well, it’s only polite. The Tyrrells snacks repertoire now includes farm-popped popcorn, TorTyrrells English Tortillas, Vegetable crisps and posh nibbles from around the world called ‘Alternatives’. Tyrrells are also now available in international markets, including France, Germany, Scandinavia, North America, Russia, China and India. All evidence that the English characteristics of the brand, and packs resonate with a world-wide audience.  facebook/tyrrellcrisps

UK Flood Barriers

UK Flood Barriers    UK Flood Barriers was set up in 2007 and has become the leading supplier of flood defence technology. They provide world class flood defence solutions which are as effective at an individual property level as they are in large scale community projects. Speaking about the company Peter Luff MP, Mid Worcestershire said, “They are one of the most entrepreneurial companies in my constituency and have excellent ideas for progression and development. The Flood Angel Airbrick replacement is the only BSI Kitemark accredited airbrick in the world. Arguably the most efficient and effective airbrick replacement on the market, it has a superior design that is passive and is self-activated by only one moving part. Designed to replace a standard airbrick it allows air to freely pass through but under flood conditions its self-activating gate will automatically shut off. They are such a passionate, proud and driven company, it is a pleasure to be able to recommend the Flood Angel Airbrick as an example of the best in British manufacturing. “(Source Associate Party Manufacturing Group, Made By Britain Project)


Vax Air3

Vax Air3Building on the success of last years nominated Vax Air, the next generation Vax Air3 is designed by Vax’s talented team of designers to answer three main requirements from customers.   As well as being lightweight, it has powerful suction, plus it’s highly manoeuvrable, so users can vacuum effortlessly around their furniture with a slight turn of the wrist.

Richard Waters, Senior Product Design at Vax, described how he was inspired by the movement of a skateboard to crate Air Motion Technology, ensuring the Air3 is extremely agile:  “with the Air, we designed it to be lightweight, but the Air3 had to combine this lightness with powerful suction, and manoeuvrability. Using what are effectively skateboard wheels on a vacuum cleaner allowed us to make this machine incredibly agile”

The Air3 retains the adjustable handle and easy to empty features of the Air range, but in the Air3 the team have improved the everyday task of vacuuming.

The Air3 is just one of a succession of exciting new products that has made Vax the fastest growing floor care business in the UK.  Since moving their Head offices to central Birmingham, the company has doubled the size of the UK team and are focussed on a range of market-defining products for the coming years.


wedgewoodJosiah Wedgwood and Sons, commonly known as Wedgwood, is a pottery firm now owned by KPS Capital Partners a private equity company based in New York City, USA.  Wedgwood was founded on May 1, 1759 by Josiah Wedgwood and in 1987 merged with Waterford Crystal to create Waterford Wedgwood, an Ireland-based luxury brands group. After the 2009 purchase by KPS Capital, Wedgwood became part of a group of companies known as WWRD Holdings Ltd, an acronym for “Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton.”

In 1765, Wedgwood created a new earthenware form which impressed the then British Queen consort Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz who gave permission to call it “Queen’s Ware”; this new form sold extremely well across Europe. The following year Wedgwood bought Etruria, a large Staffordshire estate, as both home and factory site. Wedgwood developed a number of further industrial innovations for his company, notably a way of measuring kiln temperatures accurately and new ware types Black Basalt and Jasper Ware. Wedgwood’s most famous ware is jasperware. It was created to look like ancient cameo glass. It was inspired by the Portland Vase, a Roman vessel which is now a museum piece.. (The first jasperware colour was Portland Blue, an innovation that required experiments with more than 3,000 samples). In recognition of the importance of his pyrometric beads (pyrometer), Josiah Wedgwood was elected a member of the Royal Society in 1783. Today, the Wedgwood Prestige collection sells replicas of some of the original designs as well as modern neo-classical style jasperware.

(Source:  Wikipedia)

Wing Yip

Wing Yip is a Chinese supermarket chain in the United Kingdom, founded in 1969 and recognised as the leading brand in its field in the UK. Their Birmingham headquarters is also their international trading division, property and investments, online store for mail order, warehouse, and national distribution centre. With around 360 strong team of staff and the business growing by a reputed 10% year on year the companies four iconic superstores in Manchester and Greater London -namely, Croydon and North London ,Cricklewood are now well loved landmarks in their trading areas. In addition, the company has expanded into wholesale and export (international trade), and real estate development/management, such as siting its stores within larger commercial centres. Wing Yip have been supplying Chinese Restaurants and Takeaways, the Chinese community and food enthusiasts with Chinese groceries and other authentic products for more than 40 years. Wing Yip is now widely recognised as the UK’s leading Chinese and Oriental supplier with their stores and national distribution network supplying the majority of Chinese restaurants and take-aways throughout the country. It is an established family business with two generations of the Wing Yip family currently involved in the day to day running of the Group. The business sells everything a catering business or cook requires under one roof, providing authentic goods and produce at very reasonable prices. The Wing Yip superstores located in Birmingham, Manchester, Cricklewood and Croydon are open to the catering trade and Oriental food enthusiasts are also welcomed. They specialise in Chinese and Oriental groceries. With over 40 years experience in the Oriental food trade, they have developed an enviable network of Far Eastern suppliers and manufacturers enabling them to source quality and innovative products for our customers. Their expertise in sourcing, importing and distributing raw ingredients and finished products means that Wing Yip has become a supplier of choice for quality Oriental food. Founder, Woon Wing Yip, was born in Dongguan County, Guangdong, China in 1940. He arrived in the United Kingdom from Hong Kong in 1959 with ten pounds at the age of 19. With an annual turnover of £80, he is recognised as the first Chinese tycoon in the UK.Mr Wing Yip was honoured by Her Majesty The Queen on 10 March 2010 at an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace and awarded an OBE for his services to the Oriental food industry. Mr Wing Yip said “I was so surprised and feel very honoured, especially after coming here as an immigrant. I knew when I arrived in the UK that I wanted to be more than a waiter and quickly became head waiter, then opened my first restaurant with my business partners in Clacton in 1962. I would like to thank all my staff who have provided me with their support and dedication and made the success of Wing Yip possible.” Other Awards include : *The Mai Siam range achieved Gold Stars at the prestigious Great Taste Awards;*September 2008 – Chairman, Wing Yip presented him with an honorary doctorate to mark his 36-year contribution to industry in the city by Birmingham City University;*April 2008 – Wing Yip (Manchester) Ltd achieved North West Business of the Year in the Ethnic Minority Business Forum Awards, recognising the contribution made by black and ethnic minority businesses;* 2006 – Wing Yip was the Winner of The Lord Chan Award for Outstanding Individual. Wing Yip has established the W Wing Yip & Brothers Bursaries to encourage and provide financial assistance to a set number of students of Chinese origin, local and from overseas, to complete their studies in the United Kingdom.Since its inception over 300 bursaries have been granted.

Worcester Bosch Boilers

Worcester Bosch   Since 1962, when Worcester pioneered domestic oil-fired boilers, the company’s commitment to excellence hasn’t changed. That commitment has only strengthened since Worcester became part of the Bosch Group – one of the world’s leading names in high-end technology.

Today, many years and thousands of boilers later, Worcester is the market leader in domestic heating and hot water systems. They are a leading British company, employing more than 2,000 people at their headquarters and manufacturing plants in Worcester and Clay Cross in Derbyshire. That also includes a network of over 300 service engineers and over 80 technically trained field sales managers.
Their home heating products include condensing boilers and renewable energy products – solar panels, ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps.

They are renowned for pioneering the development of the Combi Boiler providing heating and hot water directly from the boiler. A combi (or combination) boiler is an ingenious space-saving idea, and an increasingly popular choice in UK homes. In fact, combis now account for well over half of all the new domestic boilers installed in Britain every year. A combi boiler is both a high-efficiency water heater and a central heating boiler, combined (hence the name) within one compact unit. Therefore, no separate hot water cylinder is required, offering space saving within the property.

Further benefits of a combi boiler are significant savings on hot water costs and the fact that hot water is delivered through taps or shower at mains pressure enabling powerful showering without the need for a pump. Another combi boiler benefit is that it can generally save money on installation time and costs, since no tank in the roof space means less pipe work and a shorter installation time.

As part of the Bosch Group, a percentage of the profits made by Worcester is donated to charities and good causes by the Robert Bosch Foundation. This helps the organisation as a whole focus on long term activities rather than concentrating on share dividends. The company has a record of continuous innovation in its highly respected product range. Worcester’s solar water heating can provide
up to 60%* of householder’s annual hot water requirements while Worcester’s heat pumps use sustainable energy sources to deliver low-cost heating and hot water all year round and Greenfloor underfloor heating is designed to deliver highly efficient heating in its own right, as well as being an ideal partner to heat pumps and condensing boilers.


ZB , Lemfoerder Braking Systems

ZF Lemfoerder Braking Systems    Worldwide, ZF products make a major contribution to mobility. ZF develops and produces transmissions, steering systems, axles, and chassis components as well as complete systems for passenger cars, commercial vehicles, and off-road machinery. ZF is also an important transmission specialist for special and rail vehicles, marine craft, and helicopters. Caroline Spelman MP, Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs introduces ZF, based in her Meriden constituency and their Lemfoerder braking systems, stating, “All drivers depend on good brakes but this company’s success in supplying cutting edge braking systems to Jaguar Landrover’s top of the range vehincles is part of the unsung success of West Midlands manufacturing. The way JLR and Lemfoerder co-operated to survive recession is a global business case.” (Associate Parliamentary Manufacturing Group, Made By Britain Project) Car drivers rely 100% on the functioning of their braking system. In numerous dangerous situations such as an unexpected traffic jam on the motorway or a child suddenly running onto the road, not only are the reactions of the driver key, but the condition of the brakes which must always be in good working order.

Their disc brake linings comply with ECR 90.