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Suffolk People: Talking to…

The Ironworks Lady Lane Hadleigh Suffolk IP7 6BQ

01473 826685

Family business ~ Jim Lawrence with his wife Sheena

Jim Lawrence with his wife Sheena

Jim Lawrence started his business from his farm forge in 1993, when he made some candlesticks as a gift for some of his friends. They were delighted with the design and workmanship and their reaction told him that making stylish, handmade products for the home, was an idea worth pursuing. The business has grown from Jim and his farm stockman working in the forge, to a thriving enterprise with a skilled team of more than 90 people. Jim has long outgrown the farm and is now based in Hadleigh where there is the workshop and a sparkling showroom full of lights, stylishly handmade curtain poles and other interior design goodies.

What makes your business different?

Ours is a family business, run by my wife Sheena and me and we employ up to three generations of local families, with several pairs of husbands and wives working together.  It is unusual to have quite such a range of different skills under one roof. We employ welders, lathe operators, blacksmiths, painters, electrical technicians, designers, seamstresses and lampshade makers along with our customer service team all working together. We believe our customers enjoy buying from companies that actually make the product.

Jim Lawrence, Hadleigh, Suffolk

What new developments have you got planned? 

We will soon start work on our new workshops – the existing one is old and cold! We are constantly trying to come up with new designs and our range is being added to on a weekly basis.

What are the most popular products that you sell?

Lighting and lampshades. We have recently introduced a new bespoke lampshade maker – you can now choose from a range of more than 20,000 shades (a stock control nightmare).

Making switches at The Ironworks at Jim Lawrence, Hadleigh, Suffolk Polishing at The Ironworks at Jim Lawrence, Hadleigh, Suffolk The Ironworks at Jim Lawrence, Hadleigh, Suffolk

Have you got a ‘funniest/most memorable moment’ relating to your business? 

I once told a marketing group from IBM that the world wide web was overrated and would have little affect on our future!

What three things do you like most about living and working in Suffolk?

· The wonderful countryside.

· The coastline

· We are particularly lucky to work in Hadleigh which is a small friendly town, that still has a thriving, traditional high street.

Making curtains at Jim Lawrence, Hadleigh, Suffolk Making lampshades at Jim Lawrence, Hadleigh, Suffolk

Where is your favourite place to eat in Suffolk?

There are so many great places: the Great House in Lavenham and the Swan in Long Melford are two great favourites; The Crown in Stoke By Nayland is our regular haunt as it is so close to home and the food and atmosphere is just right; The Crown at Bildeston is superb and the Lindsey Red Rose is lovely for a relaxed meal in traditional surroundings.

Where is your favourite place to go for a walk in Suffolk?

Around the farm at home.

What is your favourite event of the year and why? 

It has to be Christmas –  I cook the turkey, eat it, drink a bucket of wine and fall asleep.

Handmade lights at Jim Lawrence, Hadleigh, Suffolk  Handmade curtain poles at Jim Lawrence, Hadleigh, Suffolk Handmade curtain poles at Jim Lawrence, Hadleigh, Suffolk

Favourite Suffolk tipple?

Calvors lager, it’s the creation of Alec Williamson in Crowfield, it’s delicious and a wonderful success story.

Most fun/interesting fact about yourself?

I have asked all of the children and they really couldn’t think of anything…

Thought for the day/philosophy on life?

Treat people as you would like to be treated yourself.

The Jim Lawrence showroom is open from 9am to 5.30pm on weekdays, from 9am to 5pm on Saturdays and from 10am until 4pm on Sundays.  There is also a lovely blog on the Jim Lawrence website with lots of ideas for interior design.

We welcome contributions to this website from anyone who would like to write about Suffolk or leave comments about places they have visited. All you need to do is register  (just your name and email address) and then you can start writing!

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