Westbury’s hidden heroes: Croft Hardware
What does quality really mean? It’s a term used so frequently these days, so how can you trust that what you are purchasing really is a quality product?
At Westbury, quality is about creating exceptional designs using carefully selected products and the best materials available, to ensure a durable finish that will last for years to come. We believe that quality is about consistently manufacturing top quality windows and doors and for our sister company Westbury Garden Rooms, building superior garden room extensions to the highest of standards on every level, right down to the hidden details that our clients may not know about.
Locks, door handles, and other ironmongery fittings are a perfect example of those unassuming details that we pay diligent attention to. Ironmongery should feel secure, solid and functional whilst still looking visually attractive and in keeping with the style of the house.
That’s why we work with Croft – a carefully selected, family-run manufacturer who has this year celebrated its family manufacturing history of 150 years. Happy 150th anniversary, Croft!
The team at Croft have a passion for the industry and real pride in the products they manufacture. They’ve just been chosen by Elle Magazine as the ‘Best For Classic and Contemporary’ in their ‘Five of the Best Door Furniture Manufacturers’ article, being the only British manufacturer to make the list.
Such a distinguished heritage is rare, and the company’s history is a fascinating one. Croft’s founder’s grandfather, Reuben Clifford, first started to trade in Willenhall, where the Croft factory remains today, in 1868. To put this incredible past into perspective, in 1868 Thomas Edison applied for his first patent for his electric vote recorder invention and Nicholas II of Russia was born.
The Croft story is a fascinating one – with members of the Clifford family fighting in the First World War and a fire breaking out in their factory in 1932. After five generations, the Clifford family are still making products from their Willenhall factory in the West Midlands, the historic heart of the British lock and hardware industry. With a team of over 60 skilled artisans working together to craft the finest quality products from the very best British brass and bronze, Croft combines traditional handcrafted techniques with modern state-of-the-art CNC manufacturing methods to produce door and window fittings that will stand the test of time. Not only are some raw materials traditionally cast; many traditional operations and machines such as bench and pillar drills, hand grinding, filing, as well as hand finishing of the products are also used to achieve many of the 27 different finishes on offer.
We know that creating a range of truly stunning, individually handcrafted items of the finest quality takes dedication across all areas of the business, and this is an attitude that Croft implements too: “As well as investing in our skilled workforce we continually challenge design and manufacturing techniques to produce the best quality products that can be made. We really do strive and succeed in producing the absolute best when it comes to our products,” explains Director, Paul Clifford. “A key section for us is the polishing section and as we offer such a high variety of products, manual polishing gives us much more flexibility than automatic polishers and the skill and attention that our polishers provide is clear in the finishing product. We have a team of 14 manual polishers on the day and night shift and it is a vital function for us.”
Croft has rigorous quality processes in place throughout the manufacturing process, and each item Croft produces is individually quality checked at the end. We know that a handle fitted onto one of our handcrafted timber doors won’t have left the Croft factory until their teams are completely satisfied with the handle’s movement and finish. It’s this outstanding care and superior dedication to quality over the years which has earned them their reputation and is reflected by their impressive portfolio; Croft products have furnished 5 star hotels, stately homes, royal palaces, government quarters and heritage buildings.
Despite 150 years of hard work and dedication, this British manufacturer isn’t taking a rest any time soon. “As part of our 150th anniversary celebrations, we’ve been busy with many new product launches this year,” explains Paul. “We kicked off in January with our ‘Elements Collection’ of fine door and cabinet fittings, swiftly followed by the Décor collection of Rim Locks. It’s an exciting time ahead for the Croft team. Watch this space for new Mortice Knobs, a Hammered Series and Flush Pull range coming next!”
The full Croft range includes exterior and interior door furniture, sash and casement window fittings, and interior items to include coat hooks and cupboard furniture as well as offering a bespoke service. With over 1000 products available in a choice of 27 finishes, you are sure to find the perfect style. There will be a shift from time to time depending on trends, however staple products on their best sellers list include letter plates, door knockers, sash window fittings, centre door knobs and door pulls. For more information, visit www.croft.co.uk