If you have been visiting The Courts Garden at Holt (see our other article) do not forget to cross over the road to visit The Glove Factory, a very beautiful refurbishment of an old glove factory into offices, shops, café, workshops and meeting and exhibition areas.
The architecture is stunning: pale, local stone, lots of glass, wonderful views and a sense of peace, order and symmetry wherever the eye rests.
The National Trust has set up a truly magnificent shop to showcase the talents and skills of British artisans and craftspeople, and you will see china, baskets, notebooks, toiletries, woollen blankets, books and gifts, all of the very highest quality and integrity. Warwick Borsay, the Bath sculptor, displays his stone bowls here, and they are so smooth, beautiful, contemporary but classic at the same time. Katie Huskie’s lovely glassware, made locally in Bradford on Avon, can also be found here.
This is a really pioneering shop for the Trust and it deserves championing and supporting, as the preservation of rural crafts is very important in our post-industrial society, to bring beauty, solidity and reassurance into all our lives.
A visit to the café is highly recommended. There are only two chefs, it is open 7 days a week, from 10 am till 4 pm, and the food is truly delicious. Mark, one of the Chefs, was telling us how everything is made on the premises, and as we tucked into homemade fruit muffins and hot tea we really felt as if we had arrived at the foodie find of the year. There are even flower arranging classes, run by Tallulah Rose of Bath (www.tallulahroseflowers.co.uk).
Wooden tables are laid out refectory style, with old mismatching school chairs, menus written on a blackboard, and an open plan kitchen, where cookery demonstrations sometime take place.
The menu is short, seasonal and simple, and there is also a kitchen garden being planted. Bees are kept in hives, rain water is harvested, all waste is recycled and the exemplary tenets of sustainable design surround you on your walk around the factory and its facilities.
There are even bicycle racks to encourage the workers here to leave their cars at home. As you sit outside underneath umbrellas, gazing at sheep in the meadow or creative people busy at their desks, you really do feel as if this must be the most beautiful working space in Britain. And what a staff canteen!
E-mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 01225 784 080
Address: Glove Factory Studios, Brook Lane, Holt, Bradford on Avon, BA14 6RL