Berwick trugs on show at London design studio

Thomas Smith's Trugs, Berwick Court Farm, Berwick - showcasing trugs with top London designer Tom Dixon.''Mike Church (apprentice), Robin Tuppen (owner)
Thomas Smith's Trugs, Berwick Court Farm, Berwick - showcasing trugs with top London designer Tom Dixon.''Mike Church (apprentice), Robin Tuppen (owner)
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LONDON’S rich and famous will be watching a Berwick company making traditional Sussex trugs this weekend.

Robin Tuppen and Mike Church, of Thomas Smith’s Trugs, are going to the capital to give demonstrations of their work and answer questions at the Ladbroke Grove gallery of top designer Tom Dixon.

Tom is involved in promoting the new London-wide Chelsea Fringe Event, being run independently of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, but with its support.

The Royal Sussex Traditional Trug, made famous by their inventor Thomas Smith, will be on display at his gallery for a month.

Mr Tuppen said they were excited to be included in the prestigious event.

“They have given us a really good spot in the showroom and we will be going up to give demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday,” he said.

Since their move from Herstmonceux to Berwick, the company had downsized to four members of staff but now they are building it up again.

“We are trying to reposition ourselves in the market,” said Mr Tuppen. “After all, we are the original makes of the trug and we must be experts.

“The Tom Dixon gallery is the ideal place as the trugs are top quality and at the top end of the market.

“The Chelsea Fringe is quite an exciting garden related project and the Sussex trug is a quintessential piece of English gardening equipment.”

Thomas Smith redesigned the historic ‘trog’, an ancient idea dating back to Anglo Saxon times, to create the trug.

He then went on to make trugs famous by selling some personally to Queen Victoria on the first day of the Great Exhibition in 1851.

His family continued to make trugs in Herstmonceux until the company was bought by Robin and his brother Peter, Anna Piper and Frank Odell in 1989. Robin and his wife Sue now run the business.