Our story

"Superhuman effort isn't worth a damn unless it achieves results." 
Ernest Shackleton

 

Hello, we are The Shackleton Design & Manufacturing Company Ltd., (but most people simply call us The Shackleton Company, or just Shackleton).

We're dedicated to producing high quality lifestyle products. But that deserves a bit of explanation.

Though our products are diverse (from clothing to banjos, and from beer to gifts), they all have two things in common: the spirit of adventure of Ernest Shackleton, and a commitment to genuine British making. Unlike a number of high street brands who wave Union Jacks but make everything overseas, we actually design and manufacture in the UK, creating and supporting skilled British jobs.

 

 

Ernest Shackleton

Everything we do is inspired by the great Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, his Nimrod and Endurance expeditions, and in fact the whole of what is known as The Heroic Age of Polar Exploration.

In 2013 we started out as a banjo manufacturer: opening the first production level banjo factory in Britain for more than 60 years.

We called out first instrument The Shackleton, in honour of the role which a banjo played in maintaining morale for the members of Shackleton’s Endurance expedition a century ago.

When the ship Endurance became trapped in the Antarctic pack ice for nine bleak months, the expedition’s company of 29 men were regularly entertained by meteorologist Leonard Hussey on his banjo.

The ship was ultimately crushed and sunk by the ice, leaving the whole party stranded on the ice floes. Knowing the importance of keeping spirits up as well as simple survival, Shackleton himself ordered that the banjo be rescued from the stricken ship, calling it “vital mental medicine”.

For two more years the banjo proved its value. After an epic adventure which has entered polar legend, Shackleton brought his men, and the banjo, home alive.

That story inspired us as we began to craft our first instruments, and it continued to do so as we developed Shackleton ales, then knitwear, then clothing.

We’ve are honoured to have been joined along the way by Alexandra Shackleton, granddaughter of the great explorer, who is now our official Brand Ambassador and a member of the company.

Our instruments and our clothing have been bought by hundreds of customers all over the world, and we have grown in our enthusiasm to make brilliant products which capture the spirit of the great explorer. 

Made in Britain

We are passionately committed to manufacturing in Britain because we want to create and support sustainable, good quality jobs for people in this country, and because we believe that, at its best, British craftsmanship is hard to rival.

And when we say ‘made in Britain’, we really mean it. Virtually all of our products are manufactured in the UK.

Our knitwear is made in Leicester, our footwear in Northampton, our outerwear in the Midlands, leather goods in Herefordshire, hats in Oxfordshire, our pewter hip flasks in Sheffield, and our beer is brewed in Essex.

And of course, at the heart of it all (the start of it all for us) are our banjos, handmade in our factory in Norwich, Norfolk.

So when we put up Union Jack bunting, or show a flash of the flag on our logo and badges, you know that it’s there for a reason, not just for show.

We couldn’t be more proud to play our small part in the revival of British manufacturing. We believe it’s a renaissance that is good for customers, and good for society.

A small number of our products are imported, and then finished in the UK. Our logo T-shirts for example are imported, with the print and finishing done here. But over the next 12 months we intend to replace all of them with British-made Tees. 

And our enamel mugs are also imported (simply because we couldn’t find anyone to manufacture them here) and then printed in the UK.

And of course when we need a particular component that just isn’t available in the UK, on our banjos for example, then we import those. But always make that clear in the product description.

We hope that you will love our products, and that you will also share our enthusiasm for making great things in Britain.

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