This week, the terrace of the House of Lords provided a wonderful backdrop for the Heritage Crafts Awards Winners’ Reception. So, what is the connection with Cambridge Precision Ltd? These awards celebrate excellence, a concept shared by all at CPL and championed by Richard Hefford Hobbs, Chairman, CPL and Vice President of the Heritage Crafts Association.
The event brought together the best of the best, book-binders, milliners, basket makers, horologists, coppice workers, wheelwrights, leatherworkers … representatives of the many crafts that have helped forge, change and adapt the culture and society we live in. Some of these crafts are ‘endangered’, on the brink of quiet extinction. The Heritage Crafts Association promotes the Awards, believing that celebrating specialist, niche and esoteric skills is essential, and that by raising the profile of crafts such as cricket ball making, diamond-cutting and flint walling we might help slow down the rate that these skills are lost and encourage young people into apprenticeships and training opportunities.
‘Raising profile’ was definitely the order of the day. The dynamic Patricia Lovett, welcomed guests to the Palace of Westminster and Sue Garden, Baroness Garden of Frognal, Lord Cormack, Sir John Hayes and many other dignitaries spoke with passion and energy on the importance of increasing public awareness of the breadth and fragility of the sector and the belief that regardless of politics, Parliament should unite to champion the value of heritage crafts.
The awards are enormously significant. Those shortlisted and winning are recognised as truly outstanding craftspeople, national champions with world-class skills. The support of charitable trusts, foundations and donors, without which the HCA could not deliver on its mission, was applauded.
This year, the awards celebrated both 2020 and 2021 winners and the breadth of finalists was both encouraging and impressive, The President’s Award for Endangered Crafts is the gift of HRH Prince of Wales. The award itself is a significant work of art.
Richard Hefford Hobbs and Cambridge Precision Ltd, commissioned and funded the making of the awards and the medallions and the accompanying wooden boxes for all finalists. Richard identified the best practitioners in the country, all using heritage craft skills, to ensure the production of an exceptional piece of craft. Sean Hedges-Quinn, sculptor and Brendan Worsley, wood carver, along with Ruth Anthony, hand engraver, fashioned these pieces to the very highest quality, fitting of a royal award. (Brendan, Richard and Sean are featured in the photograph above, taken at the celebration event at the Palace of Westminster).
Richard explains “I hope that the results indicate how much The President’s Award for Endangered Crafts represents for all of those associated with heritage crafts, and that these awards reflect appropriately the royal connections that run through both the awards and a truth to materials.”
At CPL, the most innovative of new technologies are applied to production. A commitment to quality and excellence sets the company apart and respect for traditional manual skills and craftmanship is fundamental. The synergy that the organisation has with the Heritage Crafts Association and its celebration of highly specialised skills is transparently evident.