Ratcatcher at Burghley Horse Trials

Ready for 2016

As we approach Spring having endured a wet and damp winter, our thoughts are now in planning our 2016 show season. We have fresh new faces in our team for the summer who look forward to meeting customers old and new. Our brand has continued to develop fabulous new products over the winter which will be launched and showcased at our country events. The following list may be added to over the coming weeks.

16 to 17 April BASC gamekeepers Show Catton Park

4 to 8 May Badminton Horse Trials

Burghley Horse Trials

13 to 15 May Chatsworth Horse Trials

19 to 21 May Devon County Show

28 to 29 May Herts county Show

1 to 4 June Royal Bath and West Show

Royal Bath and West Showground

9 to 11 June South Of England Show

23 to 26 June Royal Highland Show

29 to 30 June Royal Norfolk Show

1 to 3 July Scottish Game Fair Perth

12 to 14 July Great Yorkshire Show

16 to 17 July Great Eccleston Show

22 to 24 July UK Game Fair Stoneleigh

29 to 31 July The Game Fair Ragley Hall

4 to 7 August Live Blenheim Palace

5 to 7 August Festival of British Eventing Gatcombe Park

27 to 29 August Fenlands Game fair Cambridge

1 to 4 September Burghley Horse Trials

10 to 11 September Sandringham Game Fair

17 to 18 September Midland Game Fair

We hope to see you this summer.

 

 

Whilst we have to import many things out of necessity, it is so much better to be able to buy British grown or made products. Through our Ratcatcher brand we attend many of the biggest and best agricultural shows in the UK and delight in the fantastic products available in the food halls which in general come from local artisans using British meat and vegetables. We love to both enjoy and in turn support this local and British endeavor.

In May 2016 we will be launching our very first fleece garment which will be MADE IN ENGLAND from the superb world renowned Polartec thermal Pro fabric for both LADIES AND GENTS. We listened to our customers over the last year and this was the fabric they wanted. We asked about the fit and what other features were important. A discreet chest pocket for wallets or mobiles was a popular addition, especially for hearing your phone whilst out in the field. The price of the garment raised quite a debate. Many people mentioned how many fleeces were on the market at prices from £10 to almost £200. The current market leader is retailing at around £130. The general consensus was that the product quality and performance were the main criteria, although the garment must represent value for money. We think that at a price of £105.95 for a premium MADE IN ENGLAND, POLARTEC fleece with extra features and your favorite fit and trim represents REAL BRITISH VALUE. Our first two colours will be Olive green and Navy which have been matched from the colours of our Ratcatcher Moleskin trousers.

EARLY ORDER SPECIAL OFFER  Any orders placed between now and the end of February will receive a 40% Discount WHY? Because we know that the sooner the gilets are been seen then the sooner our sales will come in. We want the new Ratcatcher Fleece Gilet to become the choice of the countryside THE BRITISH MADE CHOICE OF THE COUNTRYSIDE. Use Voucher Code GBFLEECE to order your fleece now.

BACK BRITISH FARMING AND BACK RATCATCHER BRITISH FLEECES

We are currently adding a touch of paint to our factory shop/ showroom and will re open the doors during the first week of December. Our country store will be open to the public on Wednesday and Thursdays from 3pm till 6pm and then Saturday from 10am till 1pm. If customers are looking to buy full suits or are wanting wedding hire then we strongly advise making a private appointment outside of the above hours, in order that we can give the time and attention required.

Arriving at our store will require driving through an industrial estate which was once the home to one of the biggest textile finishing companies in the UK. Today the estate is a thriving mass of SME’s from roller blind manufacturers to bespoke furniture makers, plumbers to transport companies. We are on the edge of Baildon village and surrounded by wonderful green fields which stretch down to the river Aire. Within 5 miles you will find a huge range of interesting places to visit including the Haworth Moors and Bronte Parsonage, Saltaire Heritage Village and the National museum of film and photography and many more.

Our store will include all the great brands featured on our web store along with lots of one off special products and exclusive design samples. There is also an ongoing clearance sale where we drastically reduce the price of garments that have been out and about within our country show operation and might have picked up mud splashes etc but are still first quality.

In true Yorkshire style you will find warm hospitality, comfortable seating (for your partner) with complimentary drinks and plenty of topical reading material.

We look forward to meeting many new and old customers at our new country clothing store and sharing our philosophy of delivering great product with provenance and personality.

This year will see us reducing our number of shows but being bigger and better at the ones we attend. Over the last four years we have listened very carefully to our customers on what is important for them and which shows are the most relevant to us. First and foremost we are a commercial enterprise and have to make a profit in order to both survive and then re invest in new design and product in order to move forward. As such whilst it would be nice to spend the whole summer at one show or another, the hard truth is that these days many shows are not viable for a high end clothing brand due to the cost of attending and the change in customers buying habits. Twenty years ago before the internet took hold, the local country show would have been the main place to stock up your country clothing for the year, however it is now much more of a day out with the family.

The large agricultural, game and Equestrian shows remain as great events for both the public and ourselves. The biggest part of our customer base is from the Farming sector and during a busy farming summer, the County show is likely to be the only time that Farmers can be prized away from the huge work load facing them during the busy season. In recent years though as broadband finally reaches the more remote areas of the countryside it is apparent that internet shopping has been embraced and welcomed by the farming community which has made the pressure to stock up at the shows less important.It is really important though that customers can try on garments to find their size and fit for future purchases such as http://www.charleswall.co.uk/jacket-blazers-menswear

Overall we see this shift in shopping trends as a major opportunity for a small brand like Ratcatcher to become well known throughout the UK, Europe and then further afield. Our shows offer the perfect occasion to talk to old and potential new customers in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere where we can put across our message of real passion for what we do and the quality of our product. This type of relationship would be impossible for a brand purely using the web as a sales channel. It is then our hope that our customers will both continue to buy from us on line or over the phone for the remainder of the year, but also recommend us to their friends which is the best possible way to grow our country clothing brand.

This is our provisional list which may expand a little!

**** We love to talk to customers 01274 597431

 

From To month show

11

12

April BASC Catton Park

6

10

May Badminton Horse Trials

21

23

May Devon County

27

30

May Royal Bath and West

11

13

June South of England

18

21

June Royal Highland Edinburgh

1

2

July Royal Norfolk Norwich

3

5

July Scottish Game Fair Perth

14

16

July Gt Yorkshire Harrogate

31

2

July CLA Harewood Leeds

29

31

Aug Fenlands Cambridge

4

6

A/Sep Chatsworth game fair

3

6

Sep Burghley HT  Stamford

19

20

Sep Midland Game Telford

3

4

Oct South of England Crawley

 

Country Shows were the birthplace of our Heritage brand ‘Ratcatcher’. Following on from our early Spring 2014 guide to Country Shows  here is our event preview for June.

Useful information mixed with our own comment and experiences from previous years. We hope you find it helpful.

Country Show Events: June

5th to 7th June  South Of England Show, Ardingly, East Sussex

Adult entry £20, Family £40

Hidden gardens at Wakehurst

A first class venue, offering quality facilities and a great combination of livestock, horticulture and country crafts.

The showground mainly consists of tarmac avenues which ensures the event survives in the worst of weather, of which there has been a good mix in the last couple of years.

We always arrive a few days early to this show and enjoy visiting local attractions. Last year we spent a day at Wakehurst Place, which is the country estate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Wakehurst features natural woodland and lakes, formal gardens and an Elizabethan house. It is a real gem especially when the sun shines, but please note dogs are not admitted with the exception of guide dogs. Free to National trust members.

19th to 22nd June The Royal Highland Show, Ingliston Edinburgh

Royal Highland Country Show
Cattle at the Royal highland show

Probably the biggest agricultural show in the UK and a display of equipment like no other.

This is a show with lots of atmosphere and a constant buzz. It is one big party for the Scottish farmers at which a river of beer is consumed along with the lake of whiskey! Not even the worst of Scottish weather can spoil the fun and 2012 certainly tried its best.

For us this is real work, with our marquee open for business from 7.30am till past 9 at night.

25th to 26th June The Royal Norfolk Show, Norwich

Royal Norfolk Country Show
Judging in the main ring at the Norfolk show

For the last three years we have had superb weather and along with the thousands of visitors, thoroughly enjoyed the event. Our marquee is in the perfect position at the end of the main arena to see fantastic entertainment all day.

The Norfolk, whilst being one of the premier agricultural shows, also offers a very high standard of Equestrian competition and a great mix of all things country in a relaxed and laid back atmosphere.

 

We hope to see you at one of these shows. Please come and say hello.

 

Did you know the meaning of our brand Ratcatcher? We still receive calls over the phone from desperate housewives who can hear scratching in the attics, but actually Ratcatcher is the name of a dress code for hunting, where tweed jackets and moleskin trousers could replace  hunt coats on informal occasions. The brand was created in the Seventies by our original owners under their name at that time of Cambrian Fly Fishers. Over the last 40+ years Ratcatcher has become well known for high quality country clothing and today the range of styles continues to grow.

Browse the Ratcatcher collection here.

Best regards,

Jon Wall

A scene from the Devon Show

With a new spring upon us we are making final plans for another country show season under our famous Country Heritage brand Ratcatcher. Did you know the first Agricultural show was held by the Salford Agricultural Society in 1768?

Ratcatcher is one of the few Iconic Country Heritage brands that has been available at country shows for over 40 years, initially under the ownership of the famous Cambrian Flyfishers of Wales. Whilst there is new ownership of the brand, the quality and originality of the product is as it was all those years ago.

 

Country Show Events

April To May

12 to 13 April - BASC Gamekeepers show Catton Park, Derbyshire

The abbreviation BASC ( British Association for shooting and conservation) was introduced in 1981. Prior to this it formed part of WAGBI ( The Wildfowlers Association of Great Britain) which had been founded by a Geordie named Stanley Duncan in 1908, at a meeting in his Wildfowling hut near Hull. In 1975 the Gamekeepers Association of the United Kingdom had joined WAGBI. Today BASC has a membership of over 132000 and has its own offices throughout the UK.

20 to 21 April – Kelmarsh Game and Country Fair Northamptonshire. Open from 8am to 6pm daily

Advance adult tickets are £13.00. There is a full range of the usual country activities and entertainment. Our favourite would be the Sheep Show, which combines laughter and information in equal shares. Great for the kids and there is even a dancing sheep section!

26 to 27 April – East Anglian Game Fair, Norwich Show ground.

Advance adult tickets £12  8am till 6pm

A great showground for this time of year with plenty of tarmac! Two years ago our van was up to its axle in mud and we had to be towed out by a very busy tractor. Plenty to see and do and very good value for money. The kids are kept busy allowing you to buy your new Ratcatcher tweed.

8 to 11 May – Badminton Horse Trials, Gloucestershire

The event was established in 1949 for the purpose of training for future Olympic games due to the poor performance of the British team in 1948. Initially it was an all male event. Today Badminton forms part of the Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing along with the Kentucky and Burghley. The 2013 event attracted huge crowds and the weather was perfect for both rider, horse and spectator. We were pleased to welcome into our Marquee shoppers from all over the world including many relatives of the riders themselves. It almost feels like the event is one big family as everyone is so friendly and accommodating. Whether you want a fantastic shopping experience, a serious look at eventing or just a great day out with like minded country lovers, this is an event not to be missed.

22 to 24 – May Devon County Show

The show was launched back in 1872 by the Devon County Agricultural Association. There were several locations up to 1990 when it moved to its present permanent show ground at West point in Exeter. Devon is definitely one of the best agricultural shows in the country and reminds us very of our local show the Great Yorkshire. Our marquee is almost opposite the BBC tent which ensures regular crowd swells from celebrity visits. We are also close to one of the best food halls on the circuit. Whether it is local British beef or artisan cheese the quality is simply stunning.

28 to 31 May – Royal Bath and West

Last year was the 150th show and our first. Opens 9am till 6pm daily

Earlybird adult £17.00

We loved this show last year. Great weather and superb entertainment meant lots of happy smiling people coming into our Marquee to stock up on their country wardrobe. Very well organised and a well laid out showground.

 

We will have our usual stand at all these shows but you are most welcome to browse and shop online now. Click Here.

Please tell others about these events on twitter and facebook by clicking the icons at the very bottom of the page.

Tell us about your favourite shows and experiences in the comments below.

We will publish June and July country show guides at the end of March.

If you wish to track our progress and personal experiences at the various shows then please follow us on our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Best regards,

Jon Wall

For the last three years many customers have visited our stand at country shows just to tell me how good our moleskin trousers are. I think 30 years is a record for wear so far, which whilst being quite extraordinary is also a long time between purchases!

I personally have three pairs, two standard fit and one jean style. After three years of very heavy wear they are as good as new albeit a little faded after so many washes. My wife actually enjoys pressing them and comments on how they return to such a smart appearance every time.

So why are they so much better than the majority on the market? Two main reasons, the first one is that we buy the very best Moleskin fabric available on the market.

The fabric is woven from a fine cotton yarn but compacted very tightly in weaving which gives weight to the fabric along with a very smart appearance. The fabric is then finished under heat which allows it to shrink fully which prevents further shrinkage after the garment is washed.

Other cheaper fabrics are loose in construction to reduce the cost of manufacturing which then causes shrinking problems later. Furthermore if the construction is loose then the yarns will work against themselves in wear and degrade much quicker.

Our fabric is also dyed with premium quality dyestuffs which allow many washes with very little colour loss. The second advantage to our trouser is the quality of garment manufacture. High quality pocket bags and waistbands and very strong threads added to top quality zips and fasteners. All of these extras add cost and it is an area where quality can be reduced in an attempt to achieve a cheaper selling price.

smart and hard wearing Ratcatcher Moleskin trousers

Smart and hard wearing Ratcatcher Moleskin trousers

Click here to choose your quality Ratcatcher Moleskin Trousers

Our customer who had 30 years from his trouser in effect paid £2 per year for his trousers. So many people have told us that the cheap trousers only last a few months if they are lucky, so in real terms their purchase is costing over £50 per year.

Furthermore there is no pride in a garment that was made for price in a sweat shop in the far east.

All Ratcatcher garments are made within the EEC of which many are still sewn in the UK. All our tweed is woven in England and we are proud to play our part in supporting what is left of the British textile industry.

Although the Ratcatcher brand is well known in the country it is always hard to get the message further afield unless you are part of a multinational with millions to spend on advertising. We want our customers and bloggers to shout out our name to others in the hope that our quality can be enjoyed and valued by a much wider community.

Jon Wall

Click here to choose your quality Ratcatcher Moleskin Trousers

 

It is hard to believe that five years before George Washington took office as the first president of the USA in 1789, a certain Daniel Gurteen established a company that would still be making top quality menswear well over two hundred years later. George III was on the English throne at the time and the Industrial revolution was in its early stages. The business specialised initially in weaving a material called Drabbet  which was used for making smocks for the agricultural workers of the time. This material was usually brown in colour made from linen fibre. It would be likely that today’s use of the saying “drab”  meaning plainly dressed would no doubt have been associated to the drabbet fabric.

Business continued to expand for the company and in 1880 Daniel Gurteen, third generation invested in a magnificent steam engine to drive the weaving machines at the factory in Suffolk.

Drivewheel at the Haverhill factory

Gurteen steam engine

Gurteen steam engine



Both the engine and wheel can still be found in pristine condition at the factory and I have been given a personal view of them working, but today this is by the means of electricity! Nevertheless it really does give you a sense of time watching the magnificent machinery in motion.

By 1900 the Gurteen company employed over 2500 people and the business was booming. During WW2 the factory was fully occupied with the manufacture of uniforms and after this period again continued to build a solid reputation for quality, well fitting garments.

The company is now run by the sixth and seventh generation of the family and supplies major high street names as well as small independent stores throughout the UK.

Gurteen Longford cotton stretch trouser

We have been Gurteen stockists since establishing our web store, and especially love the superb range of trousers which combine quality, style and comfort in equal measure.

To View and Buy Gurteen Trousers Online – Click Here

Our range of mens country tweed jackets are made from Saxony fabric. But what does that mean and is it the reason that a tweed jacket is transformed into a high quality tweed jacket?

Saxony fabric is a type of wool fabric. The name Saxony is derived from the fact that this type of wool was initially made in Saxony, a town in Germany, from sheep that were specifically raised for wool. The sheep raised in this part of the world were merino sheep. Merino sheep were originally from Spain but were transferred to other parts of the world including Germany and France. In Germany, these Merino sheep came to be known as Saxony Merino.

Nowadays, merino wool  is  obtained from sheep farms in Australia, South America, South Africa and New Zealand due to their ideal climatic conditions. This therefore means that when used, the term ‘Saxony’ does not refer to wool from a particular area but more so wool from the Merino sheep. It is also used to refer to worsted woolen fabric.

Saxony fabric is a fine, very high quality fabric. The fabric is soft to the touch and medium to heavy weight. This is because the Merino sheep are as a matter of course well taken care of. The end result is wool that is very fine, very soft and elastic. The fiber of this fabric has many serrations and is therefore has good felting abilities. This type of wool is very high quality and is therefore the best wool to use in the manufacture of the best high quality tweed jackets.

The Saxony fabric that we have designed and produced for our range of Men’s country tweed jackets has had the quality increased further by twisting two merino yarns together to add extra weight whilst retaining the overall softness of the fabric. This ensures that our Saxony tweed jackets will not just have a luxurious feel, but they will last the test of time and offer warmth and comfort to the wearer. Furthermore the extra twist of multi coloured yarns gives an amazing subtlety to the overall fabric design.mens saxony country tweed jacket

The jackets have been tailored to a very high a standard in a traditional manner, which includes ticket pockets for real country styling.

 

See our best quality Saxony Country Tweed Jackets for men – click here.

 click here for our full range of Mens Tweed Jackets and Blazers.

We announced last year of the imminent arrival of our ladies tweed shooting garments and are happy to say they have arrived and images are now available.

Our new ladies tweed Gilet is made in England from our exclusive Saxony fabric

 

The garments can be bought in this new tweed or alternatively you can purchase in any of our other tweeds with a making time of just 6 weeks. We are sure that for many shoot organisers this will be an ideal outfit for their female staff and can easily be coordinated with the chaps by using a common tweed.We will of course be holding fabric in stock to make all the extra’s like hats, coats and many other requests.

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