For this week’s Wednesday Ad break I have teamed up with Original BTC as part of a long term collaboration and this is the first of four posts I shall be writing about them. We start with their 30th anniversary and the launch of the Hector 30 lamp which has been updated with a shiny new brass stem and a black cotton cord.
Now the key thing about this light (for me at least) is the bone china shade, which is made, incidentally, in a teapot factory in Stoke on Trent. When Peter Bowles, founder of Original BTC, first asked them to make a lampshade they were, reportedly, baffled by his idea but did as he asked and the rest, as they say is history.
“Accustomed to making teapots, the factory manager thought I was barmy but the fact that Hector is now sold in over 80 countries does suggest I was onto something,” says Peter. Original BTC was the first company to create lamps using bone china for the shades.
Now when the lamp was sent over for me to photograph I knew it would be a pretty piece but I can’t tell you how gorgeous the light it gives is and photographs don’t really convey it either although I have had a go above.
We have been redecorating the library since we moved in. First the chairs were wrong, then the rug was wrong. Then the new chairs were the wrong colour and then, when they were the right colour, the rug was still wrong. And so was the next one. And the other one that was hauled out from the back of the cupboard. So I bought a new rug. And then the lighting was wrong. Too dark, too bright. This has been a proper Goldilocks sort of room.
And then Hector turned up. And the soft, yet bright light that is diffused through the room has been a game changer. And I really don’t say that very often.
The other thing, which I love is that fabric flex. As should all lamps these days, but the original one was snipped off an iron that was nearby. Peter wasn’t happy with the traditional plastic flex on his new lamp and replaced it with one from the iron instead. History doesn’t record what happened next time someone needed to iron a shirt but the lamps all look great. You can still buy a version with that original black and white flex too.
Using techniques which have remained unchanged for the last 30 years, the Hector 30 shades and bases are slip cast, moulded by hand and smoothed with sponges before firing with each component going through the hands of 10 people over a period of six days before it is complete.
It comes in a floor, table and a wall version. And you can choose between the new brass stem, or the original chrome, as well as grey, taupe or black cables. The fluted Bibendum version (designed by Sir Terence Conran) also comes with a red or a green flex.
The other thing worth noting is that if you have the misfortune to break the shade or the base you can buy replacement parts. In a culture that still tends towards the throwaway and replace rather than make do and mend (although that is beginning to change) that is a point worth knowing.
Run by Peter and his son Charlie, Original BTC now owns four factories in Stoke on Trent, Birmingham and Oxford, while all the components are sent to a fifth site, near the Oxford HQ for assembly making this a true heritage and made in the UK brand.
The company has also provided new revenue streams for the factories as they have moved from tableware and stained glass windows to lighting components while the craftsmen who work there are still able to use their specialist skills.
The Hector 30 anniversary table lamp is £185, the floor is £225 and the wall lights are from £135.
I only do sponsored posts on Wednesdays – otherwise the content is organic and provided for free. That said, as many of you will know by now, I only write sponsored posts for brands I like and approve of and want to work with. No post on a Wednesday? No sponsored content. That way you know what you are getting. I should also add that while I have been paid to write about this I do not have an affiliate link so if you click through from this site it is for your convenience and not to make me money.