At the turn of the twentieth century a ground swell of rich and influential people were worried. Their concern was centered around the changing nature of work and society that they and their forefathers and mothers had seen during the nineteenth century. Industrialisation and the increasing urban population had begun to have a devastating impact on the product of fine arthritis crafts. Skilled rural workers were being absorbed into the growing cities of Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool in search of better paid work. The skills of crafting that they had learned, handed down from generation to generation, was being lost as their children were headed for a similar life in the factories and mills that were springing up through the countryside. They were also concerned about the loss of the countryside. There was real fear that all of Britain would become one huge vast factory and foundry with no open space left.
William Morris was determined to halt this decline. He set about collecting works of craft and art and began making his own, based on the techniques that artisans and skilled rural workers had. Others followed him into the movement.
It was a rejection of mass produced goods. It celebrated the handmade and bespoke design. It was based on wood and fabric and it’s a tradition that people like the Curtain Makers Hackney based www.theboyswhosew.co.uk keep alive where their work and designs. Morris would go on to establish a huge range of designs and products and was a founding father of the National Trust, who own his house, Standen, which is full of his work to view.