Sunday, 16 June 2013

VIDEO Lappings, Lemel & Sweeps: A private tour of Hatton Garden

The history of Hatton Garden in 39 mins! Well, maybe not the whole history, but it definitely packs in a lot about the jewellers and gem cutters of London's most famous jewellery district. And, anyone who is interested is interested learning about Hatton Garden or the jewellery trade should definitely set aside the time, bag of popcorn in hand, and watch it.

A few months ago, I was invited to the private screening of 'Lappings, Lemel & Sweeps' at The Goldsmiths' Centre. It was such a joy to watch. I learned a few things, laughed along the way, and found myself in awe of some of the area's longest serving characters, who were sitting and watching the film alongside me.
The film shows how rich the history of the area is through its wonderful collection of entertaining personalities. From gem dealers to manufacturers alike, they tell their stories. It also touches upon the challenges the area has faced in the recent past (cheaper imports, rising rents, etc.), but trumpets a strong brigade of new contemporary jewellers to uphold the Garden's tradition of creativity, innovation, and local craftsmanship.

'Action!' the digital:works film crew recording in our studio

I thoroughly enjoyed the film, which was both informative and entertaining. It did leave me wanting to know more though, especially with regarding the future of the neighbourhood and the industry born from it...

Should digital:works, or any of the students who helped, put together a sequel, it would be very interested to see how Hatton Garden is adapting to the challenges it mentions. For example, how the manufacturing houses are making way for a new generation of independent designer makers with more craft-orientated agendas. How are the makers adapting their businesses to the new technologies available (or not...)? Are the changing tastes and shopping habits of consumers (wanting locally sourced, ethically driven products) making a difference? Or, how the demographics of the trade are changing - e.g. more multi-nationals, more females, fewer apprenticeships. All of these factors which will undoubtedly shape how Hatton Garden evolve.

In the follow up Q&A, there was strong sense solidarity, and uncertainty, in the audience. Many people were asking: What's next? What can WE do? Do WE rally a group of local businesses? Do WE involve the council in some way to protect the area (which I have later learned, some regulations are already in place - whew!). But, in general, no one seemed to have an immediate answer, but one thing was for sure: WE need to spread the word about the film to raise awareness. Tell people about this film!

And, so I am to whoever will listen. I've tweeted, FB'd, now blogged. I've even used the good of fashioned means of word-of-mouth. 

Thank you to all for reading this post. If you have managed to make it through this far in my text. I promise you the film is much more entertaining. And if you do watch it and like it, please spread the word too!

Andy being interviewed (check out the quiff!)

P.S.  I'm also pleased my studiomate, Andrew English, is featured as representing this 'younger generation' holding the torch and leading the way (an Oxy-Gas torch, that is - check him out in minute 34:45). And, I played my own small part in the film by dog-sitting, Hester, our studio Border Terrier during Andrew's interview. At its most crowded, there were eight people in our tiny studio, so the only place for poor Hester to sit, was on my lap - but judging from my photo, I don't think she minded?
Hester, our studio mascot, relegated to my lap during the filming so she wouldn't make any noise during the filming

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