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A touch of class in the garden

Features | By Jeremy Musson

Down a west London lane, Jeremy Musson visits the tiny forge that made garden ornaments for Vita Sackville-West and Gertrude Jekyll

‘People come in for a dancing girl and walk out with a Mercury,’ says Peter McBride, who runs H Crowther Ltd in west London, founded in 1908. Crowther’s is a survivor of another age, a hidden wonder tucked away behind Chiswick High Road. It is one of a small number of long-standing businesses which carry on in the same old brick-built workshops, providing traditional goods and services – just as they have always done. Crowther’s occupies an old forge and workaday brick shed at the end of a garden behind a typical London terrace. Stepping into its garden, where stand the dancing girls, piping boys, the lion’s masks and the pirouetting Mercurys, one feels an echo not just of the early 1900s but of the 18th century.  Crowther’s still continues to make these traditional lead garden statues and urns, supplying and repairing dancing figures, personifications of the seasons and vast...

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