Throughout the new year we will be sharing each monthly image from our 2013 calendar.
At LABOUR AND WAIT, we have always been keen to support craftspeople. In our opinion there is nothing like an objet made with care in which, you can detect the hand of the maker. These objects have life. The hand is, of course, the most important tool of all, but each maker has shared with us some of the faithful tools used in their everyday work. Ranging from the highly specialised to the humble and improvised, these still-lifes provide a fascinating insight into their worlds.
Our opening hours this Christmas are as follows:
Thursday 20th - 11.00am to 6.00pm
Friday 21st - 11.00 am to 8.00pm
Saturday 22nd - 11.00am to 6.00pm
Sunday 23rd - 11.00am to 6.00pm
Monday 24th December to Tuesday 1st January - CLOSED
Wednesday 2nd January - 11.00am to 6.00pm
Please note that during this period there will be no mail order service. You may place orders, but they won’t be picked and posted until the 3rd January.
Thanks to all our customers for their support this year, and have a happy Christmas!
The Christmas Mail Order Elves are working flat out, so have asked me to tell everyone that it is now time to place your last orders.
Today is the deadline for EUROPEAN ORDERS to be placed - if you are placing an order please make sure we have a contact telephone number as your local courier may need to contact you.
The deadline for UK orders is Wednesday 19th December. Our courier service is next-day, so if you must have it before Christmas please make sure to select UKMail rather than Royal Mail First Class.
Please bear in mind we are very busy, to please place your Christmas orders as soon as possible!
Christmas must really be getting close - we see now the arrival of brightly coloured wrapping paper, cheering up our grey December afternoons.
This Christmas we welcome back our traditional range of patterned papers, featuring designs from Eric Ravilious, Enid Marx, Edward Bawden and Jonathan Gibbs.
And joining them for the second year, we have papers from young London designer Esme Winter. Surely a must for every well-dressed present.
Available in store now.
Meet the Labour and Wait Mail Order Team.
Every order that gets sent out from the subterranean Labour and Wait dispatch centre is expertly picked and packed by Jasper and Dominic - with help from old friend Brian during the busy Christmas period.
Orders are received in the nerve centre of the Admin Department. Each one will contain a unique mixture of products requiring the careful selection of the appropriate box from our cardboard mountain. We recycle as much of the packaging we receive as possible, so although your package may not look perfectly new, it is helping to save the planet.
Each box has any existing tape or stickers removed before it is repurposed. Although the packaging is recycled, the Mail Order Team pride themselves on sending out beautifully neat and tidy boxes.
Many of our items are delicate so require careful wrapping in ( recycled ) bubble wrap.
The Housekeeper’s Bucket is a particular favourite with the Mail Order Team. They love carefully wrapping these to prevent damage from any possible mishandling in transit - why not order two, and brighten up their day?
Boxes are often cut down to size, to ensure a snug fit for the contents.
Other packages require more inventive solutions. Take the Large Feather Duster, for instance, which often finds itself in the most unusual of places.
The lifeblood of any hard-working team is tea. Here it is used as inducement for Dominic - no tea until these orders are finished!
As Christmas approaches, the basement is taken over by cardboard - wall to wall, as far as the eye can see.
The Mail Order Team’s Tools of the Trade.
At the end of the day, the boxes are ready to be picked up. Some of these packages will travel as far afield as Clitheroe, Newport, Los Angeles and Slough - we imagine the excitement of the recipients as they receive their package and tear it open. This is the all the motivation that the Mail Order Team require. That, and lots of tea.
If you require delivery for Christmas, please ensure that we receive your order by Wednesday 19th December.
Christmas is traditionally the time we find lots of new gift ideas, and this year is no exception. So let us introduce our Christmas 2012 line-up:
For the older outdoors enthusiasts we have a Survival Tin, which includes a compass, fishing kit, sewing kit and mini knife, while the stainless steel Mini Multi Tool can be used as a screwdriver, wrench, ruler, bottle opener, can opener, wire stripper, wood saw and knife.
The Survival Tin includes an emergency whistle, but we thought we’d supplement this with the classic Acme Thunderer. And while you wait for your rescue, why not make a nice brew with the Storm Kettle? A favourite with outdoor enthusiasts worldwide, this formidable device will boil water in even the foulest weather.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without games, and we think a set of Playing Cards ( and a game of Newmarket ) is a great way to spend an evening. We also welcome the return of our page-a-day Pocket Diary.
We know many of customers are dog owners, so we have put together a great range, including this rope Dog Lead, made by the master rope makers at the Chatham Dockyards, and this professional Dog Whistle.
And for the person stuck in the kitchen on Christmas Day? Why not treat them to an Enamel Stewpot or an Enamel Casserole - made in Austria by Riess these versatile pots can be used on the hob and in the oven, and are perfect for turkey stew on Boxing Day ( and the day after, and the day after that… )
All of our Christmas products are available in store, or on our website.
Our 2013 Calendar is now in stock online and in our Redchurch Street store.
This year’s theme is ‘Tools of the Trade’. Each month features a still life composition of the tools used by the craftsmen and women who make some of our most popular products. There is a limited stock of these calendars, so make sure to order yours in time!
We see that Truman’s have announced the site of their new brewery.
As reported by the blog with its ear to the ground and a correspondent on every street corner, the new home of the Truman Brewery will be in Hackney Wick, and should be brewing by early next year.
Labour and Wait’s home is an old Truman Brewery public house, and shares its distinctive green tiles with many of the old Truman pubs, some still in use, some converted to homes, some now shops and others derelict and forgotten. But the Truman name can be seen all over the East End, and the name is now synonymous with the old brewery on Brick Lane, long one of the cooler hang outs of this part of town.
A before-and-after of Brick Lane and the Old Truman Brewery.
When we held our party to celebrate the opening of our new store, we served a couple of barrels of Truman Runner, so it’s great to see the opening of the new brewery and the appearance of more and more pubs selling Truman Beers - one hundred and fifty at the last count.
One of our barrels of Truman Runner in place.
Michael-George of Truman, who has overseen the rebirth of the East End brewery.
Taking advantage of the last few drops…
So we wish the best of luck to Truman’s and hope that by next year we’ll be enjoying another Hackney-brewed beer.
We’re very pleased to be one of the founding members of the East End Trades Guild.
The East End Trades Guild logo, designed by James Brown.
We’ve been in this part of London for over 12 years now, and although not as long as some traders, we feel like one of the old guard. And we love to see all the new independent shops and businesses opening up around here, run by people who have recognised this area as the best place to start their small business, safe in the knowledge that customers are discerning and enthusiastic, and prepared to put their money into the hands ( and tills ) of the ‘small guy’.
Paul Gardner, local trader and inspiration behind the EETG.
Yet we’ve also seen the steady upwards creep - and often the rapid upwards shoot - of rents, as the success of the area has brought its own problems. In what we must call the 'Covent Garden Effect’, a somewhat shabby, tired market area is reinvigorated by exciting independent businesses before being 'discovered’, publicised and gentrified, before finally the big brands arrive, rents rise, and the original traders are moved on.
Topman 'General Store’ on Commercial Street.
Lest this sound like snobbery about the 'wrong type’ of shop moving into the area, let us look at the reasoning behind the EETG; to protect the commercial interests of small independent traders, often exploited by landlords, agents, big business and government, despite being the best businesses for a local area. For local businesses reinvigorate local areas, where big traders anonymise an area and suck the money out - take for example a quote from the manager of a local chain store, dressed as a cool independent store -
“My favourite place to eat would have to be either Wagamama’s or Nandos a few doors down… or Pret, I could go on forever.”
As small businesses we don’t have the financial backing of the chains, so as rents inevitably rise, we are competing with operations with deep pockets and little regard for anything other than the bottom line. Without the work of groups like the EETG, what is feared may become unstoppable, and then how long before Leila’s becomes a Nero, or Cafeand a Starbucks? Or if Pellici’s were forced out and replaced by a Pret a Manger? What then will happen to Shoreditch and the East End?
So let’s all wish the East End Trades Guild the best of luck as it launches this week, and lets hope it can inspire traders in other areas, towns and cities to unite, to work together to support the local economy. As their logo says - Together We Are Stronger.
As part of the EETG project, all the members are being photographed - our thanks to Patricia Niven for this great picture.
The East End Trades Guild will officially launch on Monday 19th November at Christ Church Spitalfields.
And so to Spitalfields Life, where the Gentle Author continues the quest to capture all of East End life in one compendious website, the modern Human Comedy in all its varied and various colours, shades, sounds and shapes.
Last weekend the Gentle Author joined local man of letters Clive Murphy for a tour around his Brick Lane flat. Visitors to our Redchurch Street shop will recognise Clive as the author of such works as “The Good Deeds of A Good Woman”, “Four Acres and a Donkey” and “Oiky, The Memoirs of a Pig Man”. A Gentle Author himself, Clive took to recording the stories of those people he saw around him in 1970s Brick Lane, capturing a demotic human history in the way that many of today’s writers, bloggers and tweeters will recognise.
We are glad to see Clive’s books attracting attention today, not least because it allows the author to pursue his interest in writing his Ribald Rhymes - not for the faint-hearted, although an ideal present for a favoured in-law.
Our thanks go as always to the Gentle Author for this story and for use of the photographs.
Well its that time of year. The summer clothes are being packed away and we search out our woolens as the evenings close in. We hold out hope that we may yet see one of our much-beloved Indian summers, but we are well prepared for the onset of autumn; and so we have now got a shop full of slippers, blankets, wooly socks and jumpers. And we are also pleased to see the return of the Pea Coat, one of our favourite winter staples.
The Schott Pea Coat is, we believe, the finest quality example of this classic style. A true design original, this heavyweight jacket is one of the many reasons to welcome the arrival of colder weather.
Originating, as many menswear staples do, from the needs of military service, the Pea Coat was standard issue for British and American navies before being de-mobbed into civilian service. The heavyweight 32 oz Melton Wool is the original windcheater, being thick, warm and durable; the wool is mixed with 25% nylon and other threads which are interlocked and pressed together before being cut, to ensure maximum protection against the elements, whether you are battling your way against the high seas or up the high street.
The classic Pea Coat derives from the Royal Navy Reefer Jacket, originally intended for ‘reefers’ ( Midshipmen ) on board sailing ships, whose job was to climb the rigging and unfurl, or 'reef’, the ship’s sails. The jacket was short, to allow ease of movement through the rigging, while the double-breasted front, which displaced the buttons to each side, helped to reduce the chance of them getting caught on ropes as the wearer maneuvered the sails.
The classic Pea Coat has ten buttons; four pairs in the double breasted style, plus two at the collar. This allows the coat to be buttoned fully to the neck which, with the wide, heavy collar, ensures complete wind and weather resistance.
Richard Crenna exhibiting classic Pea Coat style in 'Wait Until Dark’
So why 'Pea Coat’? As ever with these stories, there are different explanations as to how this name was arrived at. The classic version is that these are 'P’ coats, as worn by the ship’s Pilot, although an older story has the name coming from the Dutch Pijjeker, where Pij is the coarse, heavy wool from which the jacket was made; this material itself became known as Pilot Cloth or P Cloth, hence the P Coat.
The longer, thigh length version is known as the Bridge Coat.
This year we are also offering this style in children’s sizes. As all well-dressed ladies know, the men’s cuts are often superior to the female and the Pea Coat is no exception. The female version has a shaped waist which offers a more feminine profile, but which also lacks the silhouette of the original style, so losing that classic look. The children’s Schott jackets offer the classic Pea Coat style even in smaller sizes.
Serge Gainsbourg showing how to wear a Pea Coat
Heavy but wearable, durable, and classic - the Pea Coat is perfect Winter wear and a wardrobe essential.
A Bridge Coat in a supporting role in 'On the Waterfront’
Robert Redford in a Pea Coat. You can’t get much cooler than this.
These are all hand-stitched so there is a lot of work there, but I can speak from experience when I say that this leather ages beautifully, and I am sure there will be some very happy Japanese customers very soon.
Many thanks to Ed and Joe at The Travelling Gin Company for their appearance at Redchurch Street on Sunday. Unfortunately we had to wait until at least the end of the day before we could test their wares, but we are pleased to report that it was worth the wait. Perhaps we should do this every Sunday?
Their appearance was to celebrate the launch of Design Week, and our celebration of the Tala Cook’s Measure.
A kitchen classic which is as useful today as when it was first introduced, the Cook's Measure is still made by hand in England, by a skilled workforce of only two people.
Join us in store as we celebrate throughout the London Design Festival from Saturday 15th until Sunday 23rd September.
The Travelling Gin Company will also be providing a rather unique bar experience straight from their bicycles throughout the day on
Sunday 16th September.
Exhibition Open Saturday 15th - Sunday 23rd, 11am - 6pm. Closed Monday.
Due to recent legislation regarding the sale of lightbulbs, we would like to make clear to all customers that we sell our bulbs as ‘Rough Service’ lightbulbs, suitable for industrial or outdoor use.
In selling these bulbs we declare that they are not suitable for household illumination. However, we can not prevent customers using them whichever way they choose.
We recently took a trip to to Austria to visit the factory of Riess, one of our enamelware suppliers. Inspired by this visit, we thought we should share some of the secrets of enamelware and spread the word about this durable and versatile material.
So here is the Labour and Wait three part guide to enamel:
Our Airforce Milk Pan is a traditional Riess product in our own custom colour.
Enamel consists of natural raw materials. Glass, potash and metal oxide are combined in a furnace and heated to between 1,000°C and 1,200°C. The resulting liquid enamel mass is then poured out between two water-cooled rollers, forming a thin plate which is then broken down into enamel chips, known as ‘frits’.
This raw enamel is then finely ground with additives and pigments before being mixed with water. Almost any colour can be created through this process, which creates the coloured slick.
Enamel can be applied to metals such as cast iron, aluminium and copper, although Riess use rough sheet metal. This is then either cold pressed or turned in a number of processes which create the base vessel.
These metal blanks are then dipped in an acid bath to burn off any impurities before they are ready for the first coat of enamel.
This first coat is the bisque, the plain undercoat. During the drying process these jugs will pass through the drying furnace at approximately 80°C.
At Riess each item is hand-dipped in the enamel slick.
A series of ingenious Heath-Robinson devices are then used to turn the pots after the enamel is applied. This allows the viscous enamel to slowly and evenly coat the surface, while a quick flick with each turn shakes off drips which can then be collected and reused.
Each item will require at least two or three coats, including a grey undercoat, a base coat and the final colour, before the contrast interior colour is added.
Hand finishing ensures each item is up to standard, with an even covering and no drip marks.
Each coat requires a trip through the furnace to fully dry, before the finished product is finally baked at a temperature of around 860°C. It is this final baking that creates the finished product - the vitreous coating and the steel base fuse together to create a new and unique material: enamel.
Enamel is a unique material, sharing the characteristics of glass and steel while offering more versatility than ceramic or plastic.
Enamel can be used on gas, electric or induction hobs, and can be taken straight from the hob to the oven to the table.
Premium enamel is distinguished by its exceptionally tough, cut- and scratch resistant surface.
The surface is resistant to dirt and bacteria and is easy to clean. The natural raw materials used in its manufacture means it is safe for all food uses, and it will not flavour or colour the food.
Enamel will not emit any harmful or noxious fumes, even when heated to very high temperatures.
Enamel’s high heat conductivity ensures hot food cooks quickly and thoroughly, while cold foods keep cool for longer.
Enamel’s qualities make it ideal all around the home, and not just in the kitchen.
Looked after with care, your enamel product should last a lifetime. However, to ensure the best performance, please note the following instructions.
- Boil all enamelware with water before using for the first time.
- Rinse out briefly with water before filling with food that is prone to leave deposits behind ( e.g milk ).
- Never apply heat when empty - the base is liable to become deformed.
- Do not rinse enamelware when hot - allow to cool down first.
- Always soak stubborn food residues before cleaning. Never scrape burnt-on food away with hard objects or scourers. If necessary, boil saucepans using water and washing-up liquid.
- Do not place enamelware in the dishwasher, as the combination of the soap and washing action is abrasive.
- Enamel is extremely tough and highly accident-resistant. However, the enamel coating can be damaged if dropped onto a hard surface
Shhh, don’t tell LOCOG -
We can’t help but be swept up by the sporting spirit in London at the moment and, despite our usual seen-it-all-before cynicism, we all agreed that the opening ceremony was a spectacular event - and the Heatherwick cauldron was an amazing piece of work. Good luck to Team GB and all the athletes taking part.
Please excuse the mess in our mail order department, but we’d just like to show you some of the vintage enamel that has recently arrived.
If you haven’t been in to our Redchurch Street store you may not know that we sell a selection of vintage items. This ‘new old stock’ is all in perfect condition, and can range from stoneware pancheons and flagons to enamel stewpots and glass measuring jars. We have sold these items for many years and, although they are becoming harder to find these days, we still manage to unearth some great examples.
Vintage enamelware is particularly hard to find, as it can chip or crack so easily if not looked after. So this hoard of perfect pots and jugs was a lucky find.
The speckled enamel in particular is something we really love here; despite searching all over Europe, we can’t find a factory that produces modern examples like this, and to the same standard.
Until then, we just have to rely on finding vintage examples like these. Available now in our Redchurch Street store.
These hard-wearing tote bags have been proving popular in our Redchurch Street store so we’re very pleased to introduce them to our Online Catalogue.
Originally made from leftover fabric from the Swiss Army, these bags are still hand-crafted in Germany from a military grade canvas. Adjustable leather straps, reinforced corners and zip pocket mean this is one ‘tough tote’.
As mentioned earlier on the blog, we now stock a range of locally made leather goods, these are all now available to buy online .
The Key Holder, £55.
iPhone Case, £55.
Card Holder, £50.
Some father’s day gift suggestions for the Labour and Wait customer.
Our new Multi Spot Handkerchief, £5.00
The triple-laminate leather handled American Hammer. £48.00
The Horn Comb, made from North African cattle horn. Each is unique. £10.00
The Professional Corkscrew from France. £22.00
A Bridle Leather Belt, Handmade in England £60.00
The Black Enamel Milk Pan, £20.00
May we introduce our new line of handmade leather accessories.
From left to right; wallet, phone case, key holder and card holder.
The wallet has space for up to six cards and a couple of folded notes inside, with an extra pocket on the rear.
Made of vegetable tanned leather and hand-stitched using beeswax linen thread, these items will age beautifully.
The phone case was designed to fit an iPhone, but will work for all modern smartphones.
Keys can be kept safely secure inside this holder; the strap can be pulled out or clipped securely when not in use.
The d-ring allows you to hang the holder up, to ensure your keys are always where you expect them to be.
The small card holder will easily carry four cards, and is ideal for travelcards or oystercards.
All of these products are hand made in London.
Available now at our Redchurch Street Store and on our website.
To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee we will be having a day off!
Labour and Wait will be closed on Tuesday 5th June, so our opening hours for this weekend are as follows:
Sat 11.00 - 6.00
Sun 11.00 - 6.00
Weds 11.00 - 6.00
And may we wish a happy long weekend to Royalists and Republicans alike.
We found some postcards pushed through our letterbox the other day, with this picture on it.
The artist is Marc Gooderham, who ‘captures the decaying still-lifes of a forgotten London.’ Well I hope we’re not that forgotten, but its interesting to see the old Georgian building next to our shop, which for many years was a squat, and which was demolished to make way for another new block of flats. No doubt offering exclusive urban living with a touch of Shoreditch edge.
The artist’s website is marcgooderham.co.uk.
I think we can definitely see the need for a G&T or two outside Redchurch Street this summer…
Allow us to pass you over to our favorite city chronicler and blue-eyed bohemian The Gentle Author to introduce a new series of ‘Field Trips’, in which our esteemed author chronicles our most noteworthy manufacturers and suppliers. The first visit is to R. Russell, Brush-maker.
Our new products for 2012 are starting to arrive. We don’t seem to have had any time to look for new things since… well, since we started to plan Redchurch Street. So we welcome our first arrival of the year, these 100% linen Irish-made tea towels.
Available in red or blue, these are the best quality towels we’ve come across and, as vintage linen tea towels are getting harder to find and more expensive to buy, we are sure they will prove to be very popular.
Linen is traditionally the favoured material for tea towels and glass cloths, as it leaves no marks or residue, and doesn’t shed fibres like cotton - just give them a hot wash before use and the mesh tightens up to leave you with a perfect tea towel.
Available instore now, at £14.00 each.
Its Tachiagari at Dover Street Market. This bi-annual rebirth sees the entire store closed, refitted and remerchandised, ready for the new season.
As always, we’ve played our part, refreshing our concession and removing any sign of winter, as we set ourselves for Spring / Summer 2012.
This season sees exciting new developments at DSM, as Hussein Chalayan and Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen open new spaces on the third floor, while Michael Costiff and Ann Demeulemeester will completely renew their existing homes. Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, Stephen Jones and B Store will also be refreshing their spaces.
DSM are particularly excited to be introducing a lot of new highly individual and talented names in S/S 2012, ranging from collections by Simone Rocha, Jacquemus, Phoebe English, Tim Coppens, Craig Lawrence and Greg Lauren to shoes by Buruk Uyan, Simona Vanth, and lastly but very not leastly, Cherevichkiotvichki, amazing creations for the feet by Victoria Andrejeva.
Of course, if you are just looking for a toilet brush or a teapot our concession will serve just as well.
Dover Street Market will re-open on Saturday 17th of January, with Jake and Dinos Chapman signing copies of their new book ‘Flogging a Dead Horse’. Free drinks and snacks will be supplied by our neighbours on the fourth floor, the Rose Bakery.
Well we couldn’t have timed it any better; we sold out of our very last Independent London Store Guide on our last day before closing for Christmas, and we opened again in January with a delivery of Issue 3.
For those unfamiliar with this publication, Independent London is exactly what it says, your guide to the best independent shops and cafes in London, and is almost exactly like having a particularly knowledgeable and erudite friend telling you where to go and what to see. And who handily fits in your pocket.
Issue 3 also sees an expansion into more food and drink, with additions such as The Kenton pub, and a family butchers in still-to-be-gentrified Well Street, as well as coffee roasters, fishmongers, brewers and a particularly mouth-watering Chocolaterie in Peckham.
As 2011 saw the opening of a vast East London shopping megalopolis to mirror its counterpart in the West, and the arrival into Shoreditch of ‘brands’ disguised by shipping containers, the start of 2012 seems as good a time as any to remind everyone of the need ( and the pleasure ) of shopping small, shopping local, and shopping independent.