Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited Albion England’s head office and factory in Walsall in July within her capacity as Perpetual Master of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers.
Highlighting the growing innovation in the Design and Manufacture of Saddlery and Leather Goods, Her Royal Highness was given a guided tour of the Albion England factory by the company’s founders Paul and Sherry Belton.
Sherry Belton, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Albion England said: “It was an immense pleasure to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to Albion England in July. We thoroughly enjoyed showcasing our work here in Walsall and are very proud of the contribution Albion England has made over the years to the areas thriving saddlery and leather goods market. The business has diversified beyond all belief since it began and continues to be a glowing example of the prosperity within the equine industry and Walsall’s leather skills offering. It was a joy to hear HRH The Princess Royal’s contributions and an honour to be selected as one of the hosts within this visit.”
HRH The Princess Royal’s visit explored the increased importance placed on the relationship between Design, Manufacturing and Saddle Fitting with the ultimate aim of improving both rider and horse performance and welfare.
Walsall is renowned for the quality of its leather products, and has been the ‘home’ to British saddlery and leathery manufacture for many years. Albion England has been a stalwart of the Walsall saddlery scene since 1985 and has produced world class saddles from its HQ here for more than three decades. Albion England joins more than 52 producers, large and small, in making a considerable contribution to the maintenance of this important skill, to the sport of riding and to British business.
HRH The Princess Royal gave a speech in which she said: “As Perpetual Master of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers part of our role is to support and ‘Champion British Saddlery’, so today has been particularly useful in learning what the challenges and opportunities are. There is no doubt in my mind that all are extremely ‘Proud of Walsall’ and the role that the town has played in these industries in the past, and still does today. This ‘Celebration’ of your products in the Hub has served to underscore the ambition you all have and the success you enjoy.”
The visit focused on how best to provide future generations of employees with the necessary skills and continuous professional development opportunities they and their employers businesses will need to remain competitive and successful as there is currently a skills deficit in the industry.
Albion England is proud to employ over 75 craftsmen and women of many generations in its Walsall factory, producing over 100 British-made saddles a week and supplying the very best of the equine world. Testament to the brand’s credentials, industry stars including Laura Tomlinson, William Fox Pitt and Emile Faurie to name but a few, who proudly compete from the seat of an Albion saddle.
HRH continues: “From what I have seen today, it seems to me that linking experience and long tested traditional methods with those things learnt from science and performance will encourage innovation, and ensure that British Saddle Manufacturers remains the benchmark for others to try and emulate across the world. I have seen much evidence from all those that I have met today that this is and will remain the case, and I congratulate you all in your endeavours.”