Friday, July 3, 2009

AN INDEPENDENCE DAY TRIBUTE TO OUR ENGLISH FRIENDS

Being as it’s the Fourth of July weekend where we yanks celebrate our shedding of the yoke of English tyranny, tea, boysenberry pie, boiled meat and bad teeth, we thought we’d show our friends from across the pond some Independence Day love…

You were probably wondering how cricket bats were made. Yes, you probably were, you just didn’t realize it.

Well, somebody has to make them.

Enter J.S. Wright & Sons of Great Leighs, Chelmsford, Essex, England (what’s up with the big long address limey dudes?). Their company has been growing and harvesting willow trees for cricket bats since way back in 1894. With the help of a gentleman he met in a pub named Mr. Odd (not kidding, that’s was his name), company founder Jessie Wright figured out making cricket bats could be more profitable than garden variety building supplies.

Now, J.S. Wright & Sons is both the olds and largest suppliers of cricket bat willow to various bat manufacturers. They supply willow "clefts" from which the bats are cut and handles added. Tree Hugger Alert: Don’t panic J.S.W. & Sons plant three times more willow trees annually than they cut down.)

Why is this timely you ask? Because, according to various cricket savvy news sources, sales of cricket bats are expected to increase sharply in the coming months due to The Ashes series being played in the UK starting on July 8, 2009. And you know, that here at T.A.H. World Headquarters, we love us some cricket! And we like the word "sawn."

Photos from top: 1) Graham Marshall (r) and Lee Brett, employees at J.S. Wright & Sons, Split willow logs in half. 2) Oliver Wright, a Director at J.S. Wright & Sons, examines the drying willow clefts which will be sawn down to be made into cricket bats. 3) Tony Childs, an employee at J.S. Wright & Sons, saws willow clefts from logs. 4) Tony Sains, a cricket bat maker with Warsop Stebbing Bats, sands down the face of a bat in his small workshop. 5) Sains (r) and John Bowles, cricket bat makers with Warsop Stebbing Bats, construct bats by hand. 6) Partially complete bats stand awaiting sanding in the small workshop of Warsop Stebbing Bats, and 7) Wright examines some of the finished cricket bats made by the companies he supplies with willow clefts on June 30, 2009 in Chelmsford, England.

(Photos by Julian Herbert/Getty Images)
















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