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Ricks Diary: Winter Hill Mast

Growing up on the side of the Pennine Moors, the oppurtunity of adventure found in ’the great outdoors’ has always excited me. As well as being inspired by this landscape, my Grandad, Harry Stedman, ignited my imagination as a child with tales of his trips around the globe serving in the Army in the 1950’s. Ironically, the story which has stuck most of all does not hail from any of Harry’s exotic destinations, (Cairo, Argentina, America, Brazil…) but from somewhere a lot closer to home.

Horwich, the village where I grew up is nestled against the vast and (oftentimes) bleak moorland. The open landscape is crowned by a colossal iron structure, one which my Grandad helped to build. Winter Hill Mast was a televison tower completed in 1956 that broadcast Granada ITV and ABC shows until the mid 60’s. As a child ’The Mast’ loomed over my hometown, its 450ft height seeming astronomical to a boy so small.

Granada TVDuring my childhood excursions to the mast my grandad helped build, I had visions of him battling the same harsh winds and rain, imagining myself like him as an adventurer, battling the elements.

Warnings of the giant icicles that could kill if they fell from the mast during winter, only seemed to excite me further. I found and still find the ruthlessness and danger of the natural world to be mesmerising. My mind was gripped by this inhospitable environment, where one had to overcome the harshest of weathers just to keep moving, the urge to climb was something that I seemed to develop young. I wanted to race my grandad up masts and hills, something that would be channeled into a much more extreme past time later in life.

The Winter Hill Mast

There was something magical to me about this mast. A prominent landmark in the North West, everyone I met knew about it and I wasted no time in letting them know it was my grandad that had built it. As I child I believed he had built it all himself, fighting huge storms and torrential rain to build it with his bare hands. I was also obsessed with the landscape, a baroness seeming paradoxically full of adventure and escapism, challenge and fear.

Winter Hill Mast from below

Its as if that first feeling for adventure I found at the mast is what has driven me on to be a passionate mountaineer and ice climber, travelling the UK and Europe searching for my own adrenalin rush. I climb frozen water falls, glaciers and cliff faces chasing the same excitement and wonder I felt as a chid. Unlike most other people this summer, I’ll be spending my time craving the cold, and counting down the time until winter; when the landscape is most merciless, unforgiving and full of oppurtunity. 

Read more on Ricks personal blog. Plus keep an eye out for the next instalment right here.

Harry Stedman on ‘Diners’ Part 2

Sailing across the Atlantic to the east coast of North America, the counterpart and older brother to the unassuming, working class British caff was of course the all American diner. Shining beacons of chrome, glass and neon lighting plus the very latest and most sought after music spinning in the jukebox, a Diner would draw in customers off the sidewalk and from all walks of life. 

In New York in particular, they offered an immediate environment to kick back, let loose and enjoy post war America in all its glory. No blitz ravaged streets here, instead the emergence of the teenager was well into its stride, and with disposable income available to fuel the construction of a new found identity.

Open 24 / 7

Open 24 hours a day-seven days a week, the glow of a diner would have no doubt been a welcome sight to guys and girls looking to party into the early hours. Not least for a merchant seamen like our Harry, with rest the last thing on his mind as the ship slotted into pier 92, he and his ship mates would’ve been itching to get back on terra firma and nestled into the faux leather of the nearest diner booth, a girl on each arm and good grub in their bellies.

The Market Diner








One of the most popular joints in town was The Market Diner over on the corner of 43rd st and 11th avenue. It was owned and ran by a Mr Joe Zellin, a legend to those lucky enough to have been to the diner at its peak, he would know exactly when a ship was due to dock and be sure to have the place suitably booming upon their arrival.

The clientele at the Market Diner was a typical reflection of New York at that time. Said to be a regular late night hang out for Frank Sinatra and his entourage, merchant seamen of course, as well as the usual cabbies, police officers, general public oh and the odd mafia member.

The Bill Evans Trio at The Village Vanguard

After rolling out of the Market diner a visit to to Village vanguard might have been on the cards. It’s been the centre of the Jazz universe for musicians and fans alike for almost eighty years now, first opening its doors in 1935. During those hedonistic late 50s and 60s the descent down the 15 steps to the subterranean triangular room would’ve blown many a music-loving mind. Legends like Theolonious Monk, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Hank Mobley are just a few of a plethora of jazz titans to have provided the soundtrack to a spate of Manhattan excursions.

The Empire Diner

Among other notable NY establishments is the Empire Diner on the corner of 22nd st and 10th avenue. Making cameos in numerous Hollywood movies since it’s doors flung open in 1946 (Woody Allen’s Manhattan probably the most memorable) its slick monochrome décor gives an instant shot a New York class. Another is the triangular shaped Square Diner down on Leonard street Tribeca, beautiful wood-panelled walls and ceiling provide that blue collar charm.

As with the caffs over the pond, these charismatic dining cars are rapidly dwindling. A few remain however, digging in their heels refusing to relinquish the stories of good times and bad, of superstars, movie stars, gangsters, great food and of course the music. Long live the NY diner!

Made in the USA T-Shirt

Unparalleled in its simplicity and tremendous widespread appeal, the T-shirt is a true icon of style. In the same way that coca-cola and blue jeans have become metonyms of western culture, the plain white T-shirt shares their universal significance.This short-sleeved cotton colossus has governed both men and women’s wardrobes for almost seventy years and in 2014 its star is as bright as ever. 





















In 1910 US Navy officials drafted changes to the soldiers’ uniform, ditching their heavy woollen sweaters in favour of a style and material more suited to the job’s demands. What they came up with was the golden formula of lightweight cotton married with a short sleeve, christening it a ’T-shirt’ on account of its shape when lain out flat. It took 40 years for the style to filter into the mainstream, however. Its origins in the military had seen the garment become synonymous with an idea of idyllic masculinity, a sense of bravado that was still very present even in post-war America. Filmmakers capitalised on this, dressing their starring male characters in T-shirts, outside of a military environment, hoping to communicate an essence of virility through their costume choice. Though this masculinity was taken to uncomfortable extremes in the 1951 screen adaptation of ‘A streetcar Named Desire’, there is no denying that Brando’s blue-collar cool sky rocketed the T-shirt into the publiceye.












One of the reasons we wanted to design our own T-shirt is the unbelievable longevity the piece has shown so far. Since its rise to popular culture it has become a garment that is entirely indispensable to modern day dressing. We’ve carefully emulated early 1950’s patterns, taking inspiration from Army surplus samples, seeking to recreate the essence of what we feel a T-shirt ought to be. By slimming the fit very slightly, and adding a bound inside neck to the collar for added comfort, the garment is subtly altered and updated for a more modern-day look. The whole process of our T-shirt’s production is self-contained, ensuring that the upmost care is taken from start to finish. Our USA manufacturers, as well as making the T-shirts themselves, produce the home grown American cotton fabric from which they are made, overseeing the entire creative process.




Goodwood Here We Come

Goodwood Revival

Many of you may remember our visit to last year’s Goodwood Revival, an event that saw our first physical, albeit temporary, store space. Whilst there we showcased our range in full and embraced the opportunity to finally engage with our customers face-to-face.

Following what was a successful outing last year, it is with much pleasure we can confirm we will be returning to set up shop for this year’s event, scheduled for the weekend of 12-14 September 2014.

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Harry Stedman on ‘Caffs’ Part 1

Harry Stedman on 'Caffs' Part 1

Greasy spoons, classic cafes, whatever you want to call them they are an important piece of (sub) cultural history here in Britain. With an aesthetic that’s distinctly working class and a little rough around the edges, ‘caffs’ held a simplistic charm that was once the perfect space for a post war generation to express themselves.
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Harry Stedman Visits 69A Intandane

Harry Stedman Visits 69A Intadane

At first glance it seems a sort of organised chaos has occurred within 69A Intandane’s early 19th century walls. With an amalgamation of antiques, vintage clothing & accessories, vinyl records, books, furniture and plenty of other carefully acquired items littering the store from all corners of the globe. Explore a little further and you find that it’s more a case of many small but perfectly formed collections that sit alongside each other…
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Harry Stedman Visits Cow&Co

Harry Stedman Visits Cow&Co

Born out of the desire to show people there are some really great design products out there Cow&Co has become a refreshing retreat in the midst of the Liverpool cityscape, from in house designed crockery to a very popular selection of lighting, tote bags that double as backpacks to a myriad of stylish stationery. All items are a result of some serious site hopping by owners Nicola & Ben Holroyd sourcing products from all around the world to amalgamate a stock list that reflects their great personal tastes.
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Harry Stedman Button-Down Shirts

Harry Stedman Button DownWhen we think about the button-down, it is hard to believe that a style that is so ingrained in menswear today was not fully realised until the turn of the 20th century. 100 years ago the look was exclusive to British Polo players, who buttoned their collars down for functionality, not fashion.
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The Club Collar Shirt

Harry Stedman Club Collar Shirt

In the 1800’s, Eton’s then schoolmaster saw the opportunity for sartorial change in the school’s famous tails and top hat uniform. Creating a new look to differentiate the college’s “elite” students from other local school kids, the ‘club collar’ was born…

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Harry Stedman Shawl Collar Cardigan

Harry Stedman Shawl Collar Cardigan

The classic shawl collar cardigan has been favoured by many well-dressed gentleman from the 20th century such as Sean Connery, Steve McQueen, President John F. Kennedy, Miles Davis and countless others…
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