Our family business originated from Stratford, East London, established in 1864 by William Gadsby and his son, Robert.
We moved to Burrowbridge, Somerset, during the Second World War, when another William Gadsby (grandson of the founder) relocated the business there from Stratford, due to the constant bombing. The reason why he came to the Somerset Levels was that he had been buying Willow from this area for making the Baskets in London.
The company made large quantities of Airborne Panniers (these were Baskets which were dropped from aeroplanes with provisions for the troops) and despatched them from our Burrowbridge premises to Athelney Station, about a mile and a half away, where they were transported by rail.
The present owners can remember four Basketmakers working on site and four at another site at Stathe. Basketmakers used to be paid by piecework.
We have always sold both Somerset-made Baskets and quality Baskets from abroad – meaning that, as far as we know, we have the largest selection of Basketware in the UK.
Unfortunately during the winter of 2012/13 we suffered with flooding with levels of up to 4 foot of floodwater in the premises for many weeks. In May 2013 we opened the doors to a premises in Langport, 5 miles away. It was indeed a good thing we did 'temporarily' move as the terrible flood of the Somerset Levels during the winter of 2013/14 caused 8 foot of flooding in our Burrowbridge premises for 3 months. This was the year when media coverage of the area was high and our local villages made the headlines of the news for many days.
You may think it is a mistake for us to return -as we did in May 2018 - to our premises in Burrowbridge. However, we feel confident with our move back and it is wonderful to be here in Burrowbridge again. Lower overheads, owing to the fact that we still own this building, means that we try to keep our prices as fair as possible and with so much of our history connected to this place - we definitely feel at home. We look forward to meeting all customers (old and new) at this easy to find location on the main A361 between Taunton and Glastonbury, near the beautiful Burrow Mump.
Ruth (who runs the business with her husband, Steve) represents the 5th generation of the family business but their children seem to have their own careers – Hannah is a Priest and Matthew is a composer and involved in sound for films.
Our sales nowadays come both from the shop and from our very successful internet site.