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‘Ask Kate’ Live Q&A – incl. kettles made in Britain, dancewear, British yarn and zips

Here’s this week’s transcript of our ‘Ask Kate’ Q&A, which went out live on Facebook on Thursday 26th January. Topics covered included kettles made in Britain, dancewear, British yarn and zips

‘Ask Kate’ is your chance to pick the brains of Make it British founder Kate Hills on anything to do with buying British or UK manufacturing.

Join us every Thursday at 1pm on the Make it British Facebook Page .

We have got lots of things to talk to you about today, we’ve had quite a few questions come through and we’re going to be covering everything from kettles made in Britain to British yarn and zips.

 If you are reading this and you have a question that you want to ask, either tap in your question into the comments below and we’ll see it and we’ll ask the question as we go along, or if you want to add a question and we can ask it next week please do so via, also via the comments here or in the comments on our website, on the Live Chat on our website, or via one of our social media accounts. 

If you are here and you’ve joined in and you’d like us to give you a shout out then please just type your name in the comments as well and I’ll give you a mention, especially if you manufacture things in the UK.

Today we’ve had questions such as ‘can you still buy kettles made in Britain?’, ‘where can I buy dancewear and unitards that are made in the UK?’, lots of stuff about  and wool, and then finally someone’s asked whether you can still buy zips that are made here.  So I will be answering all of those questions as we go along.

Kettles made in Britain

So firstly onto the kettles question. I’ve had someone contacting me this week, it was either a Mr or Mrs Barker, and they asked, “Can you still buy a kettle that’s made in the UK?”.

Now the companies that you all think of for kettles, such as Philips, Swan and Morphy Richards; all of those kettle manufacturers have now unfortunately shipped their production overseas, so none of those brands now make in the UK. 

However, there are several companies that do make kettles here. 

The first is Simplex Kettles. They make gorgeous stove top copper kettles, in a Victorian style, and they’re all handmade in England. Absolutely beautiful, so it’s well worth checking them out. 

Netherton Foundry Kettles made in Shropshire

Netherton Foundry Kettles made in Shropshire

There is also a company called Netherton Foundry, who also make stove top kettles in the UK.

And finally, Ghillie Kettles, although technically they’re not the sort of kettle you’d think of to use in your kitchen at home, they’re kettles for camping. You can find them for sale on a fantastic website called Made To Last.

But sadly I couldn’t find any electric kettles that are still made here.

If you know differently, pick up your kettle at home, have a look – does it say Made in England or Made in Britain? Let us know please because I’d love to be proved wrong but currently I don’t think there’s any electric kettles that are made in the UK.

British-made Dancewear

We’ve had a few enquiries recently about where you can buy dancewear and leotards made in Britain.  

Actually, this is one of the industries that there’s still a lot of products manufactured here. 

For a start, there’s a company called First Position who make a lot of their products here, and also Katz Dancewear.

Katz Dancewear is made in Northampton

Katz Dancewear is made in Northampton

There’s also a lot of gymnastics leotards that are made here – including Milano leotards, all made in Preston, and a company called A Star based in Devon. 

So that was Milano, A Star, Katz Dancewear and First Position all sell dance and gym wear that’s made in the UK.  Again if you know of any others please let us know as we’d love to add them to the list.

British Yarn and Wool

Now onto British yarn and wool. 

We had several people ask us where they can buy knitting wool that’s made in the UK. So we did a little bit of research into this and found out about yarn that was spun and/or dyed in the UK. In fact, many of the yarns that we found were actually made from 100% British raw materials too. 

We’ve compiled together a list of all of these British yarn producers, some of which are using British raw materials and some of which use imported materials, but they’re all spinning and dying yarn in the UK.  There’s loads of them…I think we’ve added 25 and I’m sure there’s more to add. 

So if you are looking for knitting yarns that are made here then please look at this article on British yarn.

FACT – the jumper that I’m wearing in the video is by FANCLUB and is made from yarn spun by Z. Hinchliffe in Yorkshire.

Eden Cottage Yarns

Okay, while we’re talking of British yarn I would also like to mention a fantastic podcast called Knit British if you are interested in all things British and yarn. It’s run by a Scottish lady called Louise Scollay, you can find it in the iTunes podcast app. This lady is even more obsessed than me about the origins and provenance of product and she has dedicated her whole podcast to just talking about locally sourced and made yarns, it’s fascinating so look her up – Knit British.

Something else you might be interested in if you are looking for British knitting yarn is a fantastic event called the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, it’s happening in the second weekend in March, held in Edinburgh obviously, and is run by a couple of ladies called Mica and Jo.  They will be showcasing over 100 exhibitors who are small scale producers of yarn, much of which is British yarn. 

British Zip Supplier

Another question we had through today is ‘is there anyone that still makes zips in Britain?”,

I’m pleased to say that yes, there’s one company making zips in the UK – they’re based in Leicester, and they are called Zipex.

Live questions

At the end of our broadcast we also had some questions from people coming through live, here are the responses….

A lady called Catherine is asking for a start-up clothing range what sort of questions should she be asking a potential manufacturer?

That is a really good question, but I think that needs a more in-depth answer so I will get the answers together for this one for our Facebook live which will go out this Thursday 2nd February.  In fact, I know that our Meet the Manufacturer we have quite a few start-ups come along and sometimes they can find it quite intimidating to talk to exhibitors there about what questions they should ask if they’re starting up a new range, so we will make sure we cover that next week. So if you are coming to our Meet the Manufacturer trade show, which is on the 24th and 25th of May, you will have the questions that you can print off and ask the exhibitors while you’re there.

On the subject of the events, someone asked when they can register to attend?

The registration for our trade show will open in a couple of weeks’ time, so please bear with us. But in the meantime, if you want to be notified about when the tickets are available, and it’s completely free to visit, sign up to our event newsletter.

A chap called Stephen asked if  there is anyone in Britain who makes denim or stretch denim?

I think the London Cloth Company actually can weave denim so get in touch with Daniel at London Cloth Company.  And I know normally he weaves woollen fabrics but I’m pretty sure he will do denim, so look him up.  I don’t think there’s currently anyone else but again I will look into this and when we publish this video I’ll write the link to any other denim weaving companies that I find and put those into the comments.

**Stop press – we also found out after the Q&A that Bysshe make denim in the UK**

A lady called Caroline asked for knitted tights and leggings for children, she’s looking for a manufacturer to work with her designs.

One company does spring to mind that makes babywear and that’s Team Tots. They exhibit at our shows so you can come and meet them there, whether they do leggings I’m not sure, I’d have to check. 

A lady called Laura-Anne wrote in and asked for UK manufacturers that will work closely with small start-up companies.

Right, we’ve got this problem solved this year at our Meet the Manufacturer event, because at our trade show this year we are going to have a hall specifically for manufacturers that will make small quantities and work with start-ups. It’s going to be called our Enterprise Hall and more details will be announced on that very very soon, so again get yourself on that event newsletter to make sure you can come along to that. 

 That’s it for this week’s Facebook Live.

If you have a question you want answered please leave it in the comments below and we will try and cover it in next week’s Ask Kate Q&A.

Like our Facebook Page to be notified when we go live!



  1. Will Hall on February 1, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    There remains no British Made Electric kettles, all are imported mainly from China, the last British made ones were produced in 2008 by Philips in Hastings, although from 2005 the bases for the cordless kettles were being imported from China. British made toasters are available from Rowlatt Rutland and Dualit (Crawley) however, all their other products (Dualit) are imported. Most small appliances are all imported including steam irons, some larger appliances such as cookers Belling/Stoves/New World are made in Liverpool, the lower market end cookers are all produced in Turkey and Eastern European countries. Tumble driers made in Yate, branded Hotpoint/Indesit/Creda/Whirpool. White Knight/Crosslee Tumble Driers made in Yorkshire. Ebac now producing Washing Machines in Newton Aycliffe, all other white goods made in Turkey/China/Germany and Romania. LEC were producing a few fridge/freezers in Bognor Regis, now all products are believed to come from Turkey, sadly Glen/Dimplex who own LEC are not very forthcoming over where their products are being made, recently discovered many of their oil filled radiators are now being produced in China.

    • on February 6, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      Thanks Will. Very comprehensive update on the electrical goods debate.
      I have a Rowlett Rutland Toaster and I highly recommend it

      • Sue Currie on June 3, 2017 at 3:13 pm

        Our electric slow cookers are assembled in Britain and nearly all the components are made here too

    • Ann Barter on April 20, 2020 at 7:50 pm

      DO NOT FOOLED Dualit Toasters
      These very expensive Dualit Toasters are not 100% British made Material and parts are from sourced other parts of the world i.e components are brought in the Wiring from China, the Timers from France, the Elements from India and Alunminum from Australia
      the only thing that is British is the design and assembling using Chinese, Indian, France and Australia parts and materials
      in my mind should not be showing the union Flag or say made in Great Britain /The United Kingdom

      Dualit Kettle are made in China

  2. Karl on February 4, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Pretty sure that Burco produce their old style electric kettles in England.

    • on February 6, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      They certainly make their boilers here and they are part of the same group as Stoves who make many of their cookers here. But I’m not sure about the kettles.
      We’re going to do further research on this and get back to you.

  3. Tony at Costume House on August 23, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Some of the products sold by Costume House, based in Rochdale are made locally.

  4. Patsy Blandford on March 15, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    How very sad that the uk produce so little, maybe the COVID disaster will cause changes. Perhaps many more small manufacturers will arise from the ashes, after all we have a history of innovation and invention.

  5. R. Croker on March 24, 2021 at 11:29 am

    Thank you. I was looking for a British made electric kettle. I had already found out that Russell Hobbs, Morphy Richards and Kenwood do no longer produce anykettles in the UK. It seems that my quest is a difficult one.

  6. P.Coops on November 19, 2021 at 11:45 am

    What suprises me is that the place of manufacture is no longer always on the box, the product or the instructions (or if they are it’s not on the ENGLISH translation! Bring back the “I’m backing Britain campaign” and learn how to make products (that work) at a sensible price and create jobs. The cost and environmental impact of shipping inferior products around the world must be staggering.

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