Since 1998 we have had the honor of working for the Queen by assisting the Royal Mews.
The work has been varied, from head collars to suitcase repairs.
But most of the work has been within the carriage department, where we have helped the specialist carriage restorers maintain and restore a large and varied amount of priceless antique carriages, including the most prestigious of all The Gold State Coach.
Some of the items that we have had the joy to work on have been:
The Gold Coach
Cee spring straps
These are part of the suspension that carries the gondola the Royals or dignitaries travel within, allowing them to travel in comfort.
Made of up of several layers of heavy harness back that are spliced together to create a long pieces of leather, which are layered and prepared for hand sewing. These straps can be up to 45mm thick and 1500mm long, with 4 rows of stitching along their length and some include intricate fancy stitching.
In some cases they have a companion strap that acts as a connecting strap between the cee spring straps and the gondola. These often carry a buckle that has to be stitched in.
These straps have to be hand stitched to their final shape as you would not be able to bend the straps after completion.
As the carriages are some distance off the ground, many have a set of collapsible steps that only become visible when the door is opened.
Hidden from general view but on displayed to the occupants of the carriage, they are often elaborately decorated, sometimes with a hand woven ribbon center bordered by a fancy stitched leather frame.
As the step is unfolded to its full length, sometimes including as many as 4 steps, the leather covered backs are displayed.
The steps themselves are a marvel of engineering as this 'Matryoshka doll' of steps reveals the next step smaller than the last.
Aprons and Mudguards
A large metal frame covered in hood leather on both sides and hand stitch with linen thread, to create a tough ridged board that attaches at front of the carriage or above the wheels.
The aprons are about 1800mm wide and depending on what carriage they are for can be 1500mm high.
It helps to have long arms as reaching the center of the apron is quite tricky.
This particular seat forms part of the Balmoral Sociable that Queen Victoria used to travel through the St Gotthard Pass in Switzerland.
This carriage is often used for Royal occasions as weddings.
All the metalwork has been covered in thin leather and hand stitched. The back is covered in leather with a tartan lining.