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Where did it all begin for Fritz Fryer Lighting?

15 / Oct 2019

Antique Lighting

As lighting specialists we understand the value of experience. Without knowledge how can we pass on accurate advice? We cherish our heritage - it’s the heart of our business. 

# Where it all began....

Back in 1982 Fritz Fryer Antique lighting opened its doors in Ross-on-Wye. Four pennies band member, Fritz with his partner Joan grew the business into a successful, reputable antique lighting store. 

# A few years later...

In 1999, Karen and Simon moved to the area and whilst renovating their cottage visited the shop to buy some lights, they were served by the lovely Margaret (who is still here today).

In 2004, when Fritz and Joan decided to sell the business, Simon and Karen received a letter with the news of the sale, this was a serendipitous opportunity.

# Time for change....

Under the new management of Simon and Karen it was time to move premises and build on the reputation that Joan and Fritz had established. Karen and Simon along with existing staff members Margaret and James (now Head of Restoration) began the next part of the journey together. 

Margaret now looks after the restoration of antique lighting, providing valuable advice for customers and the FF team. Every single piece of crystal hanging from the chandeliers has been hand pinned by Margs! When she is not transforming a light she is working on the new chandeliers and helping design many things like the Sellack Lantern for example. Not only resourceful she is the ultimate troubleshooter.

James was also part of the original team, his experience was in furniture restoration and whilst his sister worked for Fritz and Joan, he would visit. He became interested and his intrigue and curiosity lead him to transition from furniture to lights - that was just over 20 years ago! James and Margs are a dynamic and well respected duo.

# Sharing the knowledge…

Working in such a specialised field as antique lighting, presents many interesting conversations. Margaret and James learnt by listening to Fritz, reading many books and talking to other experts in the trade. Over time they were able to share this knowledge with Simon and Karen. 

A greater depth of understanding by initially travelling to the French flea markets, and trawling the antique fairs in the UK provided even more valuable knowledge which they invested into the business.  

# The Potential of a light…

Presented with an old dilapidated box filled with broken parts, crystal wrapped in ancient newspaper and a stem of a light that has more cobwebs around it than the rotten shed at the bottom of the garden, does not put James and Margs off - not one little bit, because they have seen just about every type of light fitting, in just about every type of condition!

Have a look at the before and after of this absolutely cracking British Alabaster Chandelier for an example of exquisite restoration.  

# Vision and Passion…

Proudly situated alongside the antique lighting hangs the confident Fritz Fryer Contemporary collection. From the varying forms of the antique lighting are the beautiful shapes of the hand blown glass shades - in clear, ribbed, skinny ribbed, smoked and white glass.

This carefully designed and curated collection is the work of Simon and Karen and their team at Fritz Fryer, consolidating the depth of experience built over the 3 decades to produce a tuned in, cohesive collection designed for longevity. It is undeniable that the antique lights have inspired the lights of today and the dynamic approach to design.

# Name Dropping…

The diversity of the business presents many opportunities and one opportunity was the enormous task of cleaning and restoring the exquisite Chandeliers in Cliffe Castle. James recalls the size of the one Chandelier which stood around 7ft high by around 5ft wide, this was a memorable year long project. There have been many exciting projects including; The Pittville Pump Room in Cheltenham, and a restoration project at The Princes Arcade in Piccadilly

Margs has worked on a great many Chandeliers to include a bag Chandelier with a fantastic provenance… she was trusted with the huge task of restoring the Chandelier that had come from RMS Mauretania - a year long project which she invested so much of herself in. The result was an extremely happy owner and a stunningly restored light fit for another 100 years!

“Just when I think I have seen and worked on a very special light, low and behold something comes along that ticks all the boxes and exceeds the previous experience. It is just magic to work on magnificent lights.. This doesn’t have to be an ornate chandelier, it could be the simplest of lights that presents a great restoration project for me” Margaret.

# Future…

The heart of the business is indeed the antique lighting, we can also argue that it is the passion for all lighting, the pursuit of producing sublime quality lighting. A company that respects the past and understands what it stands for in the lighting industry. It is heritage and authenticity - and you can only get that from people that care!

# Insta…

Follow the unique and diverse collection of antique lights on the designated antique Instagram feed @fritz_fryer_antique
You can tag #fritzfryerantique to be featured.