Creative Living Country Book | Newgate World

Chloe and Jim Read launched Newgate Clocks in 1991, in their hometown of Oswestry, Shropshire, inspired by the great British brands of the 1950s and their own collection of vintage and antique clocks. With orders flooding in from stores across Europe and the US, the couple spent the next 15 years on the road. ‘That transformed the business,’ says Jim. ‘You are quite closeted living in Wales, and then you travel to the great cities of the world and soak it all up.’

‘Everyone thought for years that we would never make a go of anything,’ adds Chloe, ‘but then it all clicks.’ Twenty-five years later, the couple still design and produce all of their clocks in Oswestry, working from an ex-Laura Ashley factory they purchased in 2009 and filled with 1940s desks and vintage lighting, creating new studios and display areas.

The couple previously lived in a small cottage in a damson orchard, just outside of Oswestry, followed by an old vicarage in the countryside, before eventually deciding they needed a larger house, so that their three children (Ruby, Buster and Lola) could each have their own room and Jim could work from home two days a week. When they discovered a double-fronted Georgian house in the centre of Shrewsbury, complete with oval staircase and large garden, they snapped it up.

Every part of the house needed modernizing, along with new plumbing and electrics, but Chloe and Jim took on the project as the original detailing was still intact. With a contact book of antiques dealers amasses over the past 25 years, they also roped in their parents and Chloe’s brother (all antiques dealers themselves) to search for furniture, lighting, glass and ceramics, and purchased larger items on eBay. Drawn to items that are as functional as they are beautiful, the couple gravitated towards 20th-century industrial pieces from factories and science labs, along with vintage shop fittings, all of which their parents, collectors of Victorian and Georgian antiques, considered ‘a load of junk’. The couple have had the last laugh, however, as today these items are hugely collectible.

To fill their vast house, the couple needed to get creative. Jim used shop fittings for the kitchen, and placed two display units together – a glass counter with brass detailing and a cosmetics display unit – and topped both with a slab of Carrara marble to make a kitchen island. He also designed the chandelier that hangs above it, using four antique glass globes. The creative process tends to happen around the dining table: a huge mahogany oval table picked up at Newark Antiques Fair in Nottinghamshire, with plenty of space to spread out with samples and drawings. The children also help out with designing clocks and watches, ‘including a rabbit watch’, says Jim, ‘designed by Lola, aged eight.’

 

Newgate World | Home of Jim & Chloe Read | Creative Living Country

Newgate Watches | Home of Jim & Chloe Read | Creative Living Country

Newgate World | Home of Jim & Chloe Read | Thames & Hudson

Newgate Clocks | Home of Jim & Chloe Read | Thames & Hudson

Newgate Watches | Home of Jim & Chloe Read | Thames & Hudson