My Garden Spade Story
We are a family run heritage company manufacturing traditional garden tools. Based in Marlborough, Wiltshire, our roots go back to a market garden in Jersey and even earlier with our manufacturing partner from Huddersfield in Yorkshire.
We want our customers to love their garden tools as much as they love their gardening. Our grandparents treasured their tools because they were built to last, did the job and were nice to hold. We simply bring together one solid piece of steel and one solid piece of wood and put them together the old-fashioned way.
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.
I tried all the chambers of commerce to see who could manufacture tools but everything was reduced to the lowest common denominator and price. It seemed no-one cared about how the tools feel to the touch and of course they are made of stainless steel, nice and shiny but not so strong. I wanted something I could treasure built the traditional way.
I finally came across Richard Carter Ltd in Huddersfield 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 that ages and patinates with you. I love the way the old “D” handles become lovely and smooth in your hand after a relatively short time.
Richard Carter were able to re-create the traditional method of Victorian manufacturing, which maybe not surprising as their pedigree goes back to 1740 when Jeremiah Carter, blacksmith established a tool manufacturing business just outside Huddersfield in Yorkshire. His great grandson Richard Carter I was born in 1828 and became part of this family business, which still thrives today.