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The story - where it all started.

 

It started with a spade...



In the 1950’s after being in the merchant navy my father Michael Miller ran a market garden in Jersey. The picture here is of him and my sister Polly which must be around 1956 with a garden spade in the background.






They grew anemones, tomatoes and potatoes the traditional way. My father insisted it was the seaweed from the beach which gave the Jersey potatoes their unique flavour. Their beautiful home was called Morville House in St Ouen’ Bay and at the time had the postcode C.1. I have never seen it for real but the painting lived on my parents’ walls all their life. And so did some of their tools they brought back from Jersey all those years ago. A spade, a fork and a hoe. Somehow they survived being left outside and then followed me around from house to house until one day the handle on the spade broke. There is nothing like them in the market so finally I thought the only way to replicate them was to make them myself.


Next steps


I tried all the chambers of commerce to see who could manufacture tools but everything was reduced to the lowest common denominator, the lowest price, stainless steel, as it looks pretty and all outsourced to India. I sent a professor to India to look at manufacturing there, but no joy. I then came across Carters and found in Richard Carter and Will Green two men who listened and helped me bring back a garden tool that feels good to hold and good to work with. Something you put away at night like chickens, or your car. Not outsourced, not cut to the bare minimum to save money; a proper garden tool made in England where the Industrial revolution started.

 

My father and sister


History of our manufacturing partner

In 1740 a Jeremiah Carter, a blacksmith, established a tool manufacturing business just outside Huddersfield in Yorkshire. He had married a local girl and they had 12 children. His great grandson Richard Carter I was born in 1828 and became part of this family business. 

The site moved to Dene works in Kirkburton in 1850 where it stayed for 150 years. This was now the heart of the Industrial revolution and the company rapidly expanded, supplying the coal industries of Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. 

This led to introduction of steam for power and lighting.

Increasing demand

In 1887 Richard Carter II was born at a time when business was fairy lean. This changed with increased demand during the Boer war and in 1909 the business was named  Richard Carter Ltd. 

During WW1 Ernest Carter kept the family updated with regular letters but died in 1917. The business manufactured large numbers of shovels. Similarly in WW2 the company took on direct Government contracts with “Essential work order” producing over 1500 tools per week for the war effort.

 
 



 

 

Devastation brings change


On January 26th 1957 a devastating fire destroys the woodshed and most of the smithy, but in 1961 Richard Carter III is born who is still the current Managing Director.

 

 



 

Moving forward

 
The 1970’s and 1980’s saw a modernisation of the manufacturing process as the company had to diversify away from its reliance on mining. And in 1990 celebrated its 250th anniversary. This was followed in 1999 by the expansion into the current premises.