Jay Blades and the expert team of The Repair Shop craftspeople meet up with HRH The Prince of Wales (before his accession to the Throne) back in Autumn 2021 to explore their shared passion of preserving heritage craft skills.
Jay Blades and ceramics expert, Kirsten Ramsay; horologist Steve Fletcher; and furniture restorer, Will Kirk are invited to Dumfries House in Scotland to meet The Prince and learn about The Prince’s Foundation’s work to train the next generation of craftspeople.
Preserving heritage craft skills and ensuring the training of a new generation is a passion both The Prince and Jay share as they discuss in the special which transmits on Wednesday, 26th October at 8pm on BBC One.
Jay Blades said: “You’ve got someone from a council estate and someone from a Royal estate that have the same interests about apprenticeships and heritage crafts and it is unbelievable to see that two people from so far apart, from different ends of the spectrum, actually have the same interests.”
The Prince gives Jay a tour, meeting some of the students on The Prince’s Foundation’s Building Craft Programme – a training initiative that teaches traditional skills such as blacksmithing, stonemasonry and wood carving.
Meanwhile Collections Manager, Satinder Kaur, gives Will, Kirsten and Steve a tour of the collection of eighteenth-century furniture and decorative arts, that are housed at Dumfries House.
As a result of the visit a skills swap ensues: Jay, Kirsten, Steve and Will pledge to restore two historic pieces that The Prince has selected while The Building Craft Programme lends graduate Jeremy Cash to the Repair Shop to work with metalwork expert, Dom Chinea on a very special third item – a fire set in the shape of a soldier with a poignant story behind its existence.
The two precious items The Prince has chosen for repair are an 18th century bracket clock from the collection at The Prince's Foundation's Dumfries House headquarters, and a piece of Wemyss Ware made for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee; legendary British ceramics produced since 1882.
BBC Commissioning Editor, Julie Shaw, says: “This is an incredibly special programme which has the magic that Repair Shop viewers have come to know and love. People will see The former Prince of Wales as you rarely see him – and he is as captivated by the skills of the team who work on his items as any of our Repair Shop visitors. The episode is a real treat and we hope that people enjoy it as much as we do.”
In Spring 2022 Jay and the team are delighted to welcome His Royal Highness to The Repair Shop barn to be reunited with the items.
Executive producer of The Repair Shop and Managing Director of Ricochet, Joanna Ball, says: “We’re so happy that The Repair Shop can play a part highlighting how important passing on craft skills to the next generation is. Hosting His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at the barn was a real privilege for the whole team.”
Satinder Kaur, collections manager for Dumfries House, says: "At The Prince's Foundation, we are very proud to have partnered with The Repair Shop for this very special episode. It was a joy to welcome Jay Blades and the talented restorers to our Dumfries House headquarters to explore our collection of eighteenth-century furniture and decorative arts, including many examples of Thomas Chippendale's work, which were a huge hit with the team.
"They also met with students benefitting from our Building Craft Programme, which helps preserve heritage building craft skills that are at risk of being lost through education and training. Over the past five years, The Repair Shop has done of a wonderful job of showcasing the skill involved in craftsmanship, and of highlighting the importance of repairing items, rather than replacing them, so it was a very natural collaboration."
The programme was filmed between Autumn 2021 and March 2022 before His Majesty became King Charles III.