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Edwardian

Honey Bees, Beehive Kettles, a Recipe and (whisper it) Christmas!!!

Honey Bees.

Honey Bees are an important piece of the environmental jigsaw as they pollinate flowers and crops as well as provide honey for human consumption. A Honey Bee is responsible for pollinating around 10% of the UK’s pollination crops – which translates to pollinating approximately £69m worth of crops per year…for free! Not only do they(and other pollinators) provide such a fantastic free service, an average UK beehive produces 35 – 40lbs of honey per year which equates to approximately 17kgs.

Unfortunately, there is a very real concern about the declining numbers of these wonderful creatures due to habitat loss, pesticides, disease and climate change. Thankfully, governments are looking to redress the problem with long term strategies and plans. How can we help? In terms of encouraging pollinators, plant more flowers, increase space for wildflowers and, for honey bees especially, buy more honey! The fact that there are nearly double the amount of beekeepers managing somewhere around 63% more colonies now than in 2008 is encouraging and this trend needs to continue.

Beehive Kettles.

Many of these colonies live in the type of beehives known as skeps that are the inspiration behind our recently introduced Beehive Kettle. Beehive Kettles are available in Copper or Chrome with models suitable for electric or gas stoves. They combine the Edwardian handcrafting techniques that are synonymous to the Richmond Kettle brand with the style and class fit for high tea with the finest of visitors. Made in the heart of England the kettles have a whistle song and high gloss finish that provide a magnificent accessory for any gas or electric stove top.

 

Recipe:

With honey, tea and kettles in mind, here’s the perfect recipe to use as we rapidly approach Autumn and cosy nights by the fire.

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon of lemon juice;
2 Tablespoon of honey;
1/2 cup or more of hot water;
Optional: add a sliver or two of fresh ginger.

Method:
Put you Richmond Kettle on the stove to boil!;
Put honey and lemon juice into a tea cup or mug;
Add a sliver or two of fresh ginger(optional);
Add hot water and stir;
Add more lemon juice, honey or hot water to taste.

 

Christmas!!!

Sitback, relax and start thinking of your Christmas List as you while away a well earned break! Did we mention Christmas? Yes, we did as the last thing we want you to do is miss out on ordering any of our range of Richmond Kettles in time for Christmas delivery. Our art is a joy to behold but quality – beautiful handmade Great British quality – takes time to come together and, to avoid disappointment, ordering early will ensure a Merry and Happy Christmas for you and yours!

Don’t forget to keep in touch via our Facebook page for all the latest news about Richmond Kettle Company.

Top Hats, Tails and Afternoon Tea – it’s Royal Ascot week!

This week sees one of the highlights of the Summer sporting calendar – Royal Ascot. Off the back of what has been a very busy 2 months for the Queen – a Royal Baby, a Royal Wedding and Trooping the Colour – she will be heading down the racecourse at Ascot in a procession of horses and carriages which is a timeless British tradition that dates back over 300 hundred years. Ascot Racecourse was founded by Queen Anne in 1711 and this meeting became officially known as Royal Ascot during the Edwardian period; a romantic golden age of long summer afternoons and garden parties.

The Queen has been present at Royal Ascot for the last 64 years and the last time she missed one of her favourite Summer events was in Coronation Year, 1953! We here at the Richmond Kettle Company think that was one clash of Royal dates that couldn’t be avoided. The Royal Family’s love of horses is so great that they have their own racehorses, trainers and jockeys. The Queen is the owner and breeder of many thoroughbred a number of which have won at Royal Ascot, the last time being Estimate’s Gold Cup victory in 2013.

This most popular of horse racing meetings is also full of fashion as designers of the latest Summer wear get high exposure as the great and the good parade around the grandstands and lawns showing off all kinds of beautiful dresses, hats and shoes. There will also be top hats, tails and, no doubt, plenty of afternoon tea on the Ascot lawns that are so exquisitely mown. The meeting lasts from Tuesday through to Saturday with members of the Royal Family in attendance throughout as well as those who love to wear Great British fashion.

How Do We Make A Richmond Kettle?

The art of metal spinning has been passed down through generations and it truly is a dying art. The artisan techniques have gone unchanged for over 100 years. After the establishment of the innovative Edwardian kettle design, barely anything had changed except the hands of the craftsmen.

 

Why Copper?
Copper is the key ingredient to our kettles. It’s soft and highly conductive properties make it perfect for spinning and perfect for use as a stove top kettle because it heats up very quickly. Historically, our organic copper was mined in the United Kingdom, from Cornwall, Cheshire and Scotland.  Copper had been mined in the UK since the roman times and had vast uses from cookware to coins, but in more recent decades unfortunately supply has not met demand.  Our copper is UK sourced but imported from Germany. We believe that aesthetically, copper is magnificent material and you can learn more about copper here.

 

Hand Tinning
From copper sheets, our craftsmen cut, stamp, form, punch and press the parts.  These parts are then placed on hotplates and the hand-tinning process can commence. A flux is added to the surface before liquid tin is brushed on. During this process, the tin binds with the surface of the copper creating an integral surface for the inside of the kettle.  The tinning process is fundamental for two key reasons: firstly, untreated copper will oxidise quickly in contact with water; secondly (and worse of all), the taste of your perfectly brewed cup of tea may be jeopardised!

 

Spinning
Once the pieces of our copper jigsaw puzzle have been tinned, the craftsmen can begin the spinning process. Spinning is the process of manipulating metal using a lathe and different levered tools.  Unlike wood turning, no material is removed in the spinning of metal. As the copper discs spin, they can be manipulated into shape by using the lever tools against a chuck. It is common for spinning in today’s age to be completed by CNC machinery but the organic properties of copper (being soft and having weak spots) can make it difficult to complete using CNC machines. The best results for spinning copper come from the hand spinning process where the craftsman can feel the inconsistencies and work his techniques personally to each individual piece.

 

Soldering & Polishing
Following the spinning of the parts, there are a series of pressing, crimping, cutting and soldering processes to take place before our kettles begin to resemble kettles.  We use pure grade silver solder for our kettles to ensure they stand the test of time.  The kettle parts must be heated in excess of 400 C allow the molten silver to create a seal.  Throughout these stages, the kettles undergo three sets of integrity trials in the various parts before being hand polished using a polishing wheel.

 

Final Assembly
Most of the kettle parts are now ready for assembly. For our chrome models, we have to send the parts out to be chrome plated first (that is a whole other story for another day), but then assembly can begin.  During the assembly process, a further two integrity trials are completed as well as two more cleaning and polishing processes.  All of these processes are completed by hand.  In total there are over 80 processes involved to make the kettles from over 20 different parts.