Thursday, 1 May 2014


Shaws of Darwen have been manufacturing fireclay sinks and terracotta architectural pieces for over 117 years, using time honoured traditional methods and materials. Each sink and terracotta piece crafted today is an individual product, bearing testament to the craftsmen who produce them.

Whilst modern technology has improved manufacturing models over the years, the principles of this hand-crafted product remains the same. Each sink is proudly stamped with the impression of its maker and bears its own distinctive badge. Traditional craftsmanship is as important now as it was in 1897.

Each year Shaws take on a number of young apprentices to join their graduation course to learn the time-honoured skills of hand-crafting their fireclay sinks for both the UK and export markets and commissioned terracotta pieces for buildings around the world.

David Dare, Managing Director of Shaws comments: “Our apprentices and trainees learn our skills slowly and it takes a very long time to become a fully capable finisher, sprayer or modeller. Our craftsmen work together to ensure precious skills are transferred to younger work members to carry on the tradition.”

“A typical 3-year apprenticeship is simply not long enough in a factory likes ours, which moves so slowly. In the past, all of the original craftsmen and apprentices who worked for Shaws were local people who lived within walking distance of the factory, which was built long before the road to it. This part of England – Darwen in Lancashire – is famous for its hard working, skilled artisans and their contribution to the industrial revolution. Skills were passed down through generations, just as they are today.”

Two of the new apprentices have parents who already work at the company and want to learn the trade and be part of Shaws who are one of the major employers in the area.

David Dare continued: “Adapting to the ever increasing styles of homes and styles over the centuries, we are very proud to have supplied the construction industry for well over a hundred years and today our commitment to providing the very best quality of product and services, remains as strong as ever.”

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