The home of handmade scissors

From the 1960s till the 2000s, Ernest Wright continually produced scissors from its own Kutrite Works factory – first on Smithfield, and later at Kelham Island. Now, with the completion of an exciting business deal, those bright days are coming back.
THE STORY

A HOME FOR Ernest Wright

We are delighted to reveal that we have purchased 58 Broad Lane, the premises which houses our workshop. 

Not only will this make us the owner of our existing workshop; we will also gain additional space backing onto Garden Street. This will allow us to install more vintage machinery and bring more putters-in-training into the company.It’s going to be a home for the craft of making scissors, and a home for Ernest Wright with no risk of being moved on by a landlord or property developer.

.

The rear, at Garden Street

A new industrial icon for Sheffield

There used to be many factories in our area of Sheffield, including works where scissors and other cutlery items were made. Sadly, the vast majority have disappeared and been replaced with high-rise accommodation. 

We wanted to secure the scissors trade’s final foothold in this historically industrial area. It is our dream to keep Ernest Wright in the very heart of the city, and for our building to become a local industrial icon. 

Fortunately, our erstwhile landlord at 58 Broad Lane appreciated our vision, and he was therefore willing to sell us the premises.58 Broad Lane will immediately take the historic name, Kutrite Works, following in the footsteps of two Ernest Wright factories before it.

.

Creating the Kutrite Works

The project of perfecting the factory begins now.

We’ll start from the outside – fixing the leaky roof, flashing the walls, and installing new windows that hark back to the building’s architectural era.

Inside, our efforts will be focused on adding machinery, and creating a better lay-out that separates certain tasks from each other. For example, polishing and grinding will be done in their own separate areas, as the two processes create different types of dust which are best dealt with using different dust extractors.  

We can also have a decent chill-out room for employees, and easily accessible storage space – both major improvements over our current setup.

Kutrite Works will be upgraded gradually over time, so it can become a perfect place for people to learn the craft of making scissors and shears by hand. It will be a workplace where our putters can be happy and healthy, with plenty of light and space. And it will also be a place where supporters can visit and watch our craftspeople at work. We will look for inspiration in places like cutler David Mellor’s ‘The Round Building’ in Hathersage – although Kutrite Works will remain in Sheffield city centre itself.

.

The team in front of our workshop

OUR PLACE IN HISTORY

Many aspects of Ernest Wright’s work have changed little over time. Our putters use overwhelmingly the same methods as their predecessors, and we still use the same machinery we had in the early decades of the 20th century. 

The company’s location, however, has changed several times. 

Ernest Wright has been based at numerous sites around Sheffield since its founding in 1902. For the first thirty-six years, our founder and his team worked at a series of small, rented workshops. In 1938, the company expanded and moved to Talbot Works, off Broomhall Street. 

By the 1950s, business was booming, and we had started marking our scissors with the ‘Kutrite’ brand. The company moved to a new, purpose-built factory on Smithfield in the early sixties, called ‘Kutrite Works’. 

Kutrite Works was soon operating at full capacity – much like our Broad Lane workshop is today. In order to keep up with demand, the company acquired the industrial property backing onto Kutrite Works, which still stands near the bottom of Snow Lane. 

In the late sixties, the company moved to a new Kutrite Works in Kelham Island. After devastating floods at that location in 2007, a much-scaled-down Ernest Wright moved to a workshop on Russell Street, before we made our final move to the Endeavour Works building at 58 Broad Lane in 2011. We’ve been renting the workshop at Broad Lane ever since – and now, at last, we own it.

STORIES FROM ERNEST WRIGHT
Tom-car-banner

The ways of old-fashioned tailoring

According to traditional tailor, Tom van het Hof, there is still much to be salvaged from the craft’s by-gone golden eras. Join us as we ask Tom about the principles and techniques that keep him coming back to the tailoring of yesterday.

READ MORE
liberty_ew-700-6

“Every Quilt Has A Story Behind It”

Ilkley-based artisan Jenni Smith believes every quilt has a story to tell. We spoke to Jenni about craft, community, and how her experience of writing a book about quilting with Liberty fabrics brought a lifelong love affair to a new pinnacle.

READ MORE
EW_art_012021_Jihae_Post

Stitches through time

For Savile Row tailor Jihae An, the craft of tailoring has provided a way to connect with British tradition on a deeper level.

READ MORE
HCA_work

Winners of the 2020 Heritage Crafts Awards

Ernest Wright has won the inaugural President’s Award for Endangered Crafts in this year’s Heritage Crafts Awards.

READ MORE
Ernest Wright Kutrite presentation box

The Kutrite is coming back!

After four years of talking about this lost pattern, and more than two years working on it ourselves, the Kutrite is coming back!

READ MORE
Putter at work

Fulfilling backorders

Let us start by saying we’re astounded at the support our customers have given us during this most complicated of summers.  Despite long wait times …

READ MORE
Ernest Wight workshop Sheffield

Your Support

Our youngsters are all fine crafsmen in their own right, some of them with several years’ experience, and they did a great job. Nonetheless, the …

READ MORE
Ruby Fox artist installation

Making Something Magical

Ruby Fox creates out-of-the-ordinary experiences for shoppers, theatre-lovers and festival-goers through her installation art. We spoke to Fox about how she crafts weird and wonderful microcosms from a studio, here in Sheffield…

READ MORE
Kutrite scissor on presentation box

Bringing back the Kutrite

Over the last year, we’ve been awaiting the right opportunity to bring back a classic kitchen scissor, the Kutrite. Now, a breakthrough is near. Ernest Wright has teamed up with a tool and die specialist who shares our vision…

READ MORE