Journal

23.03.2017 • Design

Introducing Cubitts Chess

To mark our inaugural participation in London Craft Week in May, we thought we'd try something new. 

The result: Cubitts chess.

Using our signature butterfly rivet, the pieces tessellate to form one complete profile. Made from ash and walnut, with a rivet of ebony, the board is finished with a rather delectable brass trim.

On display - and ready for challenges - at our HQ in King's Cross.

Introducing Cubitts Chess Introducing Cubitts Chess Introducing Cubitts Chess Introducing Cubitts Chess
16.03.2017 • Spectacle Design

Introducing our new frame, Wilmington.

Referencing silhouettes from 1940s France, Wilmington features a glorious brow, chamfered by hand to catch the light. We think she's rather sublime. 

With a saddle bridge and hockey end temples, Wilmington is available in 8 colours, with an optional custom matte finish, as well as optional stainless steel nosepads (for those with a loser crest height).

Wilmington is named after the equally striking Wilmington Square, in southern St Pancras and along the northern fringes of Clerkenwell. This was once the site of Spa Fields, which gained popularity after the Napoleonic Wars as a site of great assemblies in support of universal suffrage.

The first residents of Wilmington Square in the late 1820s initially included many watchmakers, including Thomas Masssey, Samuel Cuendet, and Richard Wilmton - soon followed by jewellers, barometer makers and mathematical instrument markers. Most residents lived and worked in the same sites, with gardens teeming with workshops and apprentices.

The Square's garden was built in 1819, and described so marvellously by architect G. L. Morris:

"On Saturdays the broad asphalt paths teem with children from the dwellings of the surrounding neighbourhood, boys and girls of all sorts, sizes, and conditions, barefooted and booted, and sometimes spurred, careering up and down in their primitive carriages drawn by spotted horses on wheels. Scooters of strange form and many another weird contraption pass swiftly to and fro to the delight of the genial and elderly men sitting on the seats basking in the sunshine and living their youth over again in the scene before them. With some degree of truth this garden might be described as the Rotten Row of Clerkenwell."

For the pointy-headed, there's plenty more on the history of Wilmington Square at British History online.

Introducing our new frame, Wilmington. Introducing our new frame, Wilmington. Introducing our new frame, Wilmington.
02.03.2017 • Accessories

CUBITTS X BRIAN GRIMWOOD

We invited legendary illustrator Brian Grimwood to select a quadtych of bespectacled gentlemen, from the renowned to the quotidien. His choice depicts a set of individuals who have impacted his life and illustrious career.

Including portraits of Jaime Sabartés Gual, Catalan Spanish artist, poet and writer and Lytton Strachey, Bloomsbury Group founding member - as featured in the Financial times how to spend it.

Brian rose to prominence in the 1960s, when he became known for his use of fluid lines. His instantly recognisable illustrations have graced everything from magazine covers to whisky bottles and the humble postage stamp.

You can see more of his work here. 

Free cloth to all on our mailing list, redeemable in store during the month of March. 

Available for all to buy online.

All proceeds will be donated to Brian's charity of choice, Cancer Research UK.

CUBITTS X BRIAN GRIMWOOD CUBITTS X BRIAN GRIMWOOD CUBITTS X BRIAN GRIMWOOD
23.02.2017 • Cubitts , Sunglasses , Spectacles , Glasses , Spectales

Horn is Back

Our collection of handmade horn frames is growing.

We've spent six months developing our horn collection, sustainably sourcing the by-product from domesticated herds of water buffalo, bred outdoors in west Africa or on the vast Tibetan plateau.

Horn is naturally hypoallergenic and lightweight material, used in traditional spectacle making.

Each piece is hand selected, turned, shaped and polished, and is completely individual.

Available to buy in store from today in a new range of shapes, including Agar, Bidborough and Cartwright. All come in an almost limitless range of colourways, according to each unique peice of horn.

 

Horn is Back Horn is Back Horn is Back Horn is Back Horn is Back Horn is Back
10.02.2017 • Cubitts , Sunglasses , Spectacles , Glasses , Vintage

Outdoor lens tints.

Glorious archive lens tints, from Clerkenwell, London.

'Amber' to 'Warm Rose Smoke'.

'Pale Cobalt-Blue' to 'Deep Green'.

'Delicate Flesh' to 'Pale Jade Green'.

Outdoor lens tints. Outdoor lens tints. Outdoor lens tints. Outdoor lens tints.
28.01.2017 • Cubitts , Sunglasses , Spectacles , Glasses , Spectacle Design , Spectacle Craft

Flaxman, in detail.

Our latest frame, Flaxman, is our most refined to date. 

In development for over eighteen months (twice the gestation period of a mere human being), Flaxman is an intricate composite of acetate and high grade metal.

She features a steel bridge, mechanically constructed using traditional riveting techniques - a quadruplet of rivets, no less.

The slender arms are double riveted with our signature trims. And include acetate sleeves (to keep her warm at night) - and temple tips, into which our tag has been carefully laid.

Flaxman is named after Flaxman Terrace, a curving street in St. Pancras, south of the Euston Road. This was once the site of the notorious Draper’s Place, described as “a vile slum where squalor, disease and death were rampant with immorality and crime".

It's fair to say that King's Cross has gentrified somewhat. 

 

 

Flaxman, in detail. Flaxman, in detail. Flaxman, in detail. Flaxman, in detail. Flaxman, in detail. Flaxman, in detail.
09.01.2017 •

STRONG AS CONCRETE

Our brutalist still life campaign, shot by Gary Didsbury.

Featuring, in order of appearance:

STRONG AS CONCRETE STRONG AS CONCRETE STRONG AS CONCRETE STRONG AS CONCRETE STRONG AS CONCRETE STRONG AS CONCRETE STRONG AS CONCRETE STRONG AS CONCRETE STRONG AS CONCRETE STRONG AS CONCRETE
04.01.2017 •

Commercial Street, Spitalfields. A century of hawkers and traders.

Our Spitalfields Workshop at 86 Commercial Street was originally built in the late 19th century, sitting next to the historic Ten Bells pub (of Jack The Ripper fame).

Around the corner are the glorious East-end streets of Fournier, Princelet, Wilkes, and the magnificent Hawksmoor designed Christ Church Spitalfields.

86 Commercial Street was previously a boot-making workshop (Abraham & Harry Meltzer), tobacco sellers (William J Harrison & Son), wool merchant (Hyman Spector) and latterly paper bag manufacturers and market sundriesmen, Donovan Brothers (pictured at our site in the 1960s).

Donovan Brothers was established by Irish immigrants who settled in Spitalfields, and later moved to nearby Crispin Street, where their handpainted facade still stands. 

They are still in operation today providing paper bags and other market sundries at the New Spitalfields Market in Leyton.

Commercial Street, Spitalfields. A century of hawkers and traders. Commercial Street, Spitalfields. A century of hawkers and traders. Commercial Street, Spitalfields. A century of hawkers and traders. Commercial Street, Spitalfields. A century of hawkers and traders.
04.01.2017 •

Marshall Street, Soho, 17th century to today.

Marshall Street, Soho. The home of our first site - The Soho Workshop.

Marshall Street takes its name from Hampstead Marshall, the seat of the the Earl of Craven - whose estate stretched over the area, and was once a 17th century plague pit and pesthouse. 

In the 18th century, after the fears of another plague has subsided, Lord Craven's plans to develop the area received royal assent, and contruction on the land began. 

Later that century, the distinguished poet William Blake was born at 7 Marshall Street (at the site where the rather literal William Blake House now stands).

In the 1820s, 37 Marshall Street was built, at the corner of Marshall Street and Ganton Street (then known as South Row). A National School stood opposite, on part of the street now occupied by the humming concrete electricity sub-station.

In 1850, the Marshall Street baths were built for the 'health and well being of local people'. The baths were later remodelled, the walls lined with Sicilian white and Swedish green marble, and a fountain added with dolphin and merman figures by Walter Gilbert. 

During the 20th century, Marshall Street became a vibrant part of Soho, tied to the 'Swinging Sixties' revolution in parallel Carnaby Street, and the overflow fabric shops from Berwick Street (such as Tivon Textiles pictured here at 37 Marshall Street).

In the sixties, Cranks Health Foods also opened, as one of the UK's first wholefood vegetarian restaurants. At the time this was a 'ground-break enterprise' and seen as a 'major factor the spread of vegetarianism in recent decades'.

More on Marshall Street's rich history at British History Online.

Marshall Street, Soho, 17th century to today. Marshall Street, Soho, 17th century to today. Marshall Street, Soho, 17th century to today. Marshall Street, Soho, 17th century to today.
27.12.2016 •

Park Street, The Borough, a century apart.

Our second site opened a year ago in one of London's most beautiful throughfares, Park Street, SE1.

In the very heart of The Borough, gently curving from Borough Market to the Thames with a run of elegant Georgian terraces, this unmistakedly London street has featured in films such as Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Jude, Howard's End and Entrapment.

Park Street is so called because it runs across the area which was formerly the Bishop of Winchester's park, and includes the old street known as Deadman's Place. The sweeping corner under the railway bridge was once known as Harrow Corner.

Less macabre, the 17th century almhouses that stood here were once manufacturers of soap, and in the 19th century led to Courage Breweries (built by the Anchor Brewery in 1820) - at one point, the largest brewery in the world.

Our Borough Workshop at 9 Park Street was formerly a potato wholesaler, banana merchant and for many years The Borough Market Mission Hall - a place where local market workers who come to pay their respects (and earnings) to the Church.

Built in 1831 by Henry Rose, who also built Borough Market, it retains its traditional Georgian shop frontage. A stone tablet above is dedicated to Thomas Cure, 'saddler to Queen Elizabeth' (the first).

More on the street at British History Online.

Photos, captured almost a century apart, courtesy of United St Saviour’s Charity and George Baxter.

Park Street, The Borough, a century apart. Park Street, The Borough, a century apart. Park Street, The Borough, a century apart. Park Street, The Borough, a century apart.