10 things missing

A few weeks ago we put up a post about 10 fantastic and fabulous truly British items that we have discovered in the last 6 months. To keep the world a balanced place we thought that we would now list our top 10 things we either miss and cannot find, or are really disappointed that aren’t made in the UK. So here goes, the top 10 things we just can’t get;

Black peppercornsBlack peppercorns – This was something that we found out pretty early on that we were going to have to just do without. That said it doesn’t stop us missing the taste and wishing that there was a way to grow it or buy it made in the UK. While we’ve had some super weather this week, we’d need more weeks like this than like the one that is on it’s way to grow peppercorns so this one will just have to go on the New Year shopping list.

lemonLemons – This is not something that we thought would really be much of an issue. However as we approach summer and want to make zingy dressings for our lovely home grown salad the absence of lemon is quite obvious and sad. Limes and oranges are not such an issue and are something that we could be forced to live without but lemons are one that summer will not be quite the same without.

pic_toysToys – We have posted before about the death of the British toy manufacturing industry so we won’t put too much in here other than to say that since we posted that blog we have had some super news that Hornby are returning from China and India to make new model kits and railways on UK soil. Well done Hornby and we look forward to more news like this!

Power-Tools-Cordless-Drill-LY601-Power tools – This is James’ department and I’m not sure what power tools we do not already own that he has been looking for, but it is still an area that we have all the skills to make. Yet to our knowledge nothing in this area is made in the UK. If you are a manufacturer James would love to hear from you to increase his shed full πŸ˜‰

TWC-Gingham-Bed linen – While we had expected that the cheaper end of the linen scale would not be there for us this year we had expected that we might be able to find something somewhere. Despite looking for the last 6 months we have yet to find any sheets of any kind either for us or for Lucan that are made in the UK. I can only assume that there is little weaving left in the country especially when it comes to cotton and this is why there in no British made fabric available either. I will however put a caveat in here that there are still fabulous weavers of tweeds etc but not so much weavers of everyday cottons and linens. I will also put towels into this category as we have not found anyone producing these at an accessible price point either.

Broken_Light_Bulb_by_Golfiscool_StockLight bulbs– Again this was fully fledged post from a month or so ago so I won’t add more than is there. It is sad that a whole industry has left the country forever but hopefully there is someone somewhere who might bring it back one day.

cansCanned foods – This one is not something that we really thought about when we started this challenge. We would buy tomatoes, pulses and beans to put into other dishes easily and cheaply. When we started looking at just how far the canned food had come we were really quite surprised. Dried pulses were off the menu as well as these are only packed in the UK which for us being strict this year is not enough. There is one supplier of dried fava beans (broad beans) and peas, Hodmedods but these still need to be soaked and boiled before ready to use.

imagesBatteries – When we started we knew fairly quickly that batteries would have to be rationed. It would be fair to say that every British household will consume a certain amount of battery power each year and we are no different. We are however finding that with a bit of fore planning it is quite possible to run on rechargeables instead, far greener πŸ™‚

3-brasWomen’s clothes – If we had unlimited money and time this would not be a problem, but having very definite limits on both this is a whole category that is missing from almost all British High Streets. What we have found so far has all been bought online and while there are a good number of people providing for the alternative market in many ways there is almost no British made clothes for everyday wear at a reasonable cost. Under-wire bras are a particular need at the moment and again while there are companies making skimpy just cover you up bras there is nothing in the more substantial end. We had heard at the start of the year that River Island and Topshop among others were bringing more British made clothes to their stores but nothing substantial as of yet.

latest-mobile-phones1Mobile phone – Earlier on this month James’ mobile phone started to die and this is worrying as the only British manufacturer of mobile phones is Vertu. Their phones are gorgeous with a capital G but are also well out of our price range starting at around Β£5500. We clearly have the skills to make mobile phones and very glamorous and gorgeous ones too so where is the more accessible British phone?

Something we need to finish with is that this list has taken us quite a while to put together. It is strange that when you have accepted that you can’t buy something you don’t seem to miss it much. We hope that this is not read in a negative way as we really are all about celebrating what we do make and not lamenting what we don’t, however we also felt that in order for there to be balance we should share the downsides of our year along with the upsides.

If there is anything you can help us find we would love to hear from you and help us to tick off the things that are missing πŸ˜€

– Emily


  1. Paul Thompson says

    Lemons would never have been British so I think you are being too hard on yourselves with this.

  2. Have you found Bigjigstoys.co.uk? They are based in Folkestone, Kent and I can particularly recommend their jigsaw puzzles. I have bought at least 10 over the years. They certainly used to be made on site.

    Concerning bed linen, aren’t there any manufactures left in Northern Ireland producing linen bed sheets and pillow cases? If not, how sad. I recently bought some lovely vintage linen pillow cases, made in Belfast, still new in their original packaging.

    I think you could allow yourself a lemon or two…after all, they have never grown in the UK! (Or switch to Pimms and fill the glass with cucumbers, apples and mint!)

    Good luck with your hunt.

  3. Percale.uk.ltd say their bed linen is all British made and the factory is in the Manchester region.

  4. You could always get some lemon pips and grow your own.

  5. Stanley tools are a British firm, perhaps they make their own brand power tools?

  6. Touchables do a line of decent looking underwired bras all designed and made in UK ( in amongst some rather more exotic lingerie!)

  7. I believe that Makita make a certain amount of there tools in the uk in Telford. Including hedge trimmers which might be a tool that could be needed.

  8. percale are made in uk,have a look at the towels company ltd made in nelson lancashire,

  9. From the front page of the website: “Bigjigs Toys is one of the leading wooden toy designers, importers and distributors in the UK” – no longer manufacturers unfortunately πŸ™ The railway toys clearly indicate that they are made in Indonesia

  10. The maximum size of sheet these guys seem to produce is cot bed – is Lucan in a big bed now? They sound very committed to British sourcing though πŸ™‚ http://www.dkglovesheets.co.uk/working.asp

  11. I take that back, they do seem to do bigger sizes – Lucan may be ok! http://babymattressesonline.co.uk/sheets-2?page=2

  12. The Eden project sells Lemon trees that you could buy. They also grow them on site in the Mediteranean biome. They don’t normally sell to the public, but if you talked to them they may offer you something.

  13. Hi I think that sea salt in Plymouth clothing and bags are British made. You would need to ask them.

  14. Gordon Smith says

    There does need to be a directory of British manufactured goods. I’ve just bought a Qualcast hedgecutter unfortunately made in China, my previous Black & Decker was made in England and worked much better but that was due to new regulations I think. I didn’t know Makita made goods in Britain.

  15. I believe that the Meyer lemon variety may be tough enough to growin UK, but it is a hassle looking after citrus trees. Remember lemons have been imported for years. Rev Sidney Smith in 18th century defined civilisation as being somewhere you could buy a lemon!

  16. I bought a lemon tree for my Mother in Law from Tamar Nurseries a couple of years ago.
    They need to be kept in a pot so that they can be brought inside over winter. If you have to leave it outside, keep it in a sheltered spot and make sure it is wrapped up all cosy in fleece to stop the frost getting to it.
    I bought two dresses (Β£16 each) in Tesco both designed and manufactured in the UK with Union Jack flags proclaiming it etc.

  17. I’m no expert but I’ve seen peppercorns growing in Portugal and they grow on huge trees. They have very delicate feathery leaves and I doubt they would survive a British winter.

  18. After a quick google search I came across this website for bed linen. http://www.tonderandtonder.co.uk/
    I also found this website which has towels http://www.inthelinencupboard.co.uk/
    Hopefully these might help!

  19. My (late) father kept, and my friend Justin keeps, a lemon tree. Previous comment I accurate, they need to kept in a pot and brought inside to avoid frost. At least you can have both ice and lemon in your Warner Edwards gin over the summer months!

  20. For underwired bras have you tried Buttress and Snatch? They are on the pricey side though! I can also recommend Big Beautiful Barbara Brown for clothing – not too expensive and can be custom made to your measurements.

  21. LED light bulbs:
    l don’t know if light emitting diodes are made in the UK but I think a couple of firms now mount these components into bulbs.
    The links are in rebuildingsociety.com or fundingcircle, where the firms asked to borrow money. If I find detail I’ll post it.

    • Thanks for posting. I suspect the LED’s are not made in the UK but it would be fantastic to find a business making light bulbs of any type in the UK. If you do find out more please let us know.

  22. i have 4 Bed linen manufacturing in UK (1) percale are made in UK Victoria Linen company phone 01706 220020/ Moontex Bedding Co Ltd look out for Autumn Dreams, and Peter Reed made in nelson Lancashire, that the 4 I know It’s, the East Lancashire Towel Company HAVE CLOSED DOWN THE FACTOR IN UK YOU CAN STILL GET SOME MADE IN UK NOT FOR LONG

Leave a Reply

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On LinkedinCheck Our Feed