Established in 1877 Silver Cross are renowned not only for their British heritage but for years of innovation and today they sell some of the UK’s best selling strollers. From the very beginning there has been something special about the heritage of Silver Cross and to this day the prams are made just up the road in Yorkshire by a team of just 14 people! You can still buy the Kensington and Balmoral in the most beautiful colours (Melba I am looking at you!) but with just 11 weeks to go until Christmas the star of the show is absolutely the Silver Cross dolls prams and last week we had the chance to visit the factory, eeek!
We were given the VIP tour by factory owner Joe and today I want to give you a quick little look into all the hard work that goes into making these beautiful prams, so let’s get into it…
The first stop on the tour was at the cutting table where Peter, who has worked in the business for 40 years (!!), roughly cuts the fabric that will eventually make up the hood and apron for the dolls prams. All of the fabric is made in the factory next door before being dyed to the shade required. Once the rough cuts have been made, the fabrics are pressed to create the exact shape needed; this is done by hand using the boards you can see in the picture. Some of these boards are up to 14 years old and were actually made right there in the factory! All of the fabrics are sewn together by a team of three seamstresses who make the hood, apron and bag for the pram and all of the metal pieces that go into making the pram hood are all chrome plated for extra durability (even the bits you can’t see!)
We then move on to where the base for the dolls prams are made, firstly the plastic lining inside the pram is produced using radio frequency moulding which is then tacked to create the right shape. These pieces will then be able to go into the base of the pram which is also moulded on site as well as the chassis for the pram. All of the chassis are bent by hand which may make the metal sound quite malleable but trust me, after attempting this myself, it is not!! In an average morning Silver Cross will make around 40 dolls pram bases ready to be painted in the afternoon.
Walking into the painting room there is the most overwhelming smell as you can probably imagine and in front of us is shelving with around 70 different shades of paint which are mixed to create truly unique colours. This room is where the bodies and chassis for the prams are painted and then hung to dry on a moving machine that takes the chassis through a drying machine.
If you have ever seen a Silver Cross dolls pram up close you will know that on the side of the body there is detailing painted on the side of the body. The next person we meet; Martin, is the genius who HAND PAINTS these lines on to the body, this is done completely free hand and without any guide at all and as you can see from the pictures the lines are perfectly straight. The paint pen Martin uses is the same kind that is used for Harley Davidson – we tried this too and although we weren’t let loose onto an actual dolls pram, even on paper it’s not easy!
After this the pram starts to be assembled with the rivets, brake and wheels, once this is done it is almost ready to go. A lady called Andrea quality checks all steps during the process and the team are extremely vigilant if something isn’t right it is taken out of the production line straight away.
Before the pram is boxed wheels are attached to make sure the alignment is correct – this is a new step that has been added into the production just to make sure everything is 100% perfect. The pram is then boxed with the handle, wheels, and some prams even come with a doll included!
If you’re thinking about buying a Silver Cross Dolls pram this Christmas then I cannot recommend them enough, just seeing the hard work, dedication and passion that all of the team have for these prams really does make them all the more special.
This year Silver Cross have introduced two new colours to the range; Blossom and Sweet Pea and for a limited time only both of these colours will come with a Bronte Rag Doll so be sure to check them out here before they are all gone!