Tricker's welcomes Prince Charles to factory floor as firm celebrates 190th anniversary
Factory staff downed tools to watch The Prince of Wales unveil a commemorative plaque as the Northampton-born family business turned 190 this week.
Established in 1829, Tricker’s, is Northampton's oldest shoemaker and has held a Royal Warrant from The Prince of Wales since 1989.
Today, Prince Charles spoke with factory floor shoemakers before unveiling a commemorative plaque to mark the company's 190th anniversary.
Tricker’s CEO, Martin Mason said: "He's wonderful. He's very relaxed and very amusing. He was absolutely thrilled meeting different people around the factory. He is very good at putting people at ease and is really passionate about the shoe industry.
"He did say one thing to me: 'that we need to keep Northampton the centre of the shoemaking industry'.
"This is such an extraordinary town, there is nowhere else in the world that has this. This town is the absolute centre of the world for fine, high-end shoe making. It's quite extraordinary.
"We've had the Royal Warrant from Prince Charles since 1989 so we are well used to dealing with the royal household but this is the first visit we've had since attaining the warrant and it's so important in our 190th anniversary year."
Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) apprentice Adele Williamson is learning how to become a skilled shoemaker at Tricker's and got the chance to meet the prince today.
She said: "He was really interested in the welting process. I think he was quite keen to learn that a lot of our materials are locally sourced and we make our threads with linen and we use locally sourced beeswax.
"He's very interested in sustainability, recycling and the environment. I think that played a key part in what myself and my colleagues chatted about and he was generally quite interested in the shoe making process.
"It's such a significant year for us and for him to come as well I think it's meant such a lot to the company and he rarely visits Northamptonshire factories so it's definitely nice to have him here."
Tricker’s shoemakers follow an age old process, unchanged in two centuries, where they make the cord to hand stitch the leather parts together. A pair of shoes can take 50 hours to produce and a pair of boots even longer.
Tricker’s is now a globally recognised brand, with Japan making up 30 per cent of its export business.
Exporting has been essential to Tricker’s growth particularly in the past 30 years and its international success has enabled the brand to invest; from advancing the workforce to developing new footwear designs.
The firm has recently secured a three-year deal to make shoes using Olivvia leather products - one of the newest leathers in the marketplace.
Tricker’s has also established a profitable digital business which is managed in-house, utilising industry-leading software.