Bellerby Globes/Britannia Globe
A few weeks ago I introduced TMR readers to Gift Atelier, a brand new online company. Now I want to tell you about another great British business -- Bellerby Globes. This is a company started by founder Peter Bellerby in 2008 when he couldn’t find a traditional-style globe for his naval architect father’s 80th birthday. What did he do? Bellerby went about making one himself from scratch.
Peter tells TMR: “This was quite a difficult undertaking as I had no experience in this area. I was a businessman who had previously sold rights at ITV before setting up a retro club called Bloomsbury Bowling in central London, with a bit of property developing on the weekends. But I was determined to perfect the art of globe-making and in the last few years my small company has produced a range of precision-crafted globes, all manufactured and meticulously painted by hand.”
Once, the proud owner of a stately home would make sure that he had the symbols of class and style: a sweeping Cedar of Lebanon gracing his lawn, and in his library he would have two large globes (Terrestrial and Celestial), set in custom-designed cradles. It was the sign of learning and travel and on the Terrestrial globe the owner could point to the Grand Tours he had made, or to the outposts of the then British Empire.
In the twentieth century, globes fell out of favour, except as cheaper classroom examples, and a once valued craft disappeared. That is where Peter stepped in and revived globe-making. Now his stunning range of exquisitely made globes is in demand. Four were specially commissioned for the new Martin Scorcese film Hugo, where they can be seen in the father’s workshop and the boy’s bedroom.
Peter has to be secretive about other buyers who demand confidentiality - they include artists, entertainers, superyacht-owners and numerous international buyers. He says: ”With the recession hitting, it wasn't the best time to start a brand new business and it has had to swim against quite a strong tide, but we are starting to get noticed and our sales are on an upward path. The process is incredibly time-consuming and with such attention to detail, it is impossible to offer low-priced products.
"We are trying to re-invent the globe with new ideas about how they are structurally supported and work, and with designs people really want. What we are trying to do is redefine the globe. We wanted to provide an educational and informative item that is also incredibly cool and tactile, and will set off any room, and we are in the process of patenting several methods of production, the result of two years research into papers, epoxies, resins, and composites. All of which allow a globe to rest on metal bearings without damage, and thus make a completely new interactive experience.
“The most expensive design is the Churchill Globe (left) which costs £25,000, others are priced from £2,890, but we have just launched a desk globe at £590 (top left picture)- perhaps a great Christmas gift for the person who has everything. The first edition of 250 globes has sold over 100 in its first month of launch.”
For more information go to Bellerby's website.