Best of British: 60 things that make Britain great

Imagine you're cut off in a far-off land. What longings would be uppermost in your mind? Here we celebrate those aspects of life that make our islands distinct and beguiling.

23. Skilled artisans

An old barn being re thatched in the Dorset village of Symondsbury, Dorset UK

From saddlers and silversmiths to forgers, thatchers and sandcasters, there are master craftsmen at work throughout this creative island. Skill sets have waxed and waned with fashions for imports and cheaper alternatives—particularly during the 19th and 20th centuries—but the exciting news is that the appetite for quality craftsmanship made and produced in Britain is on the rise. Buyers of a high-end New York apartment development recently opted to have the handmade joinery for their new kitchens shipped in from Wiltshire, spurning local alternatives. Despite advances in technology, such as 3D printing, nothing can replicate something made by the human hand—if that hand is a British one, then the future for our skilled artisans looks bright.

‘When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece’
(John Ruskin)

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