For 70 years, Newbridge Silverware has designed and produced homeware products, continuously innovating and producing items that are relevant to the lifestyles of each new generation of customers. The unique history of the company provides a wealth of tradition, craftsmanship and experience, while a contemporary and fresh attitude to marketing and design puts Newbridge Silverware on the cutting edge of modern living.
How it all began…
At the turn of the 20th century, the town of Newbridge, in the heart of Co Kildare was a thriving garrison community. This all changed when the British army moved out in 1921, leaving a huge economic vacuum. As Newbridge entered the 1930’s it was a town in crisis. The Irish Government, aware of the problem throughout Ireland, encouraged the setting up of new manufacturing enterprises in the non- traditional areas outside the major cities.
For Newbridge, the break was to come in the form of a local school teacher Senator Cummins, a national leader of the Labour party – William Norton and Joe McGrath Snr who previously played a major part in the historic treaty negotiation of 1921.
For the next few years, a great deal of research and correspondence was exchanged between these men in Newbridge and Sheffield, the home of cutlery in the United Kingdom as an idea was created. This resulted in five craftsmen eventually moving over to Newbridge from Sheffield with the aim of training and teaching the town a completely new trade and assisting them in establishing an industry.
The company began to grow very quickly due mainly to the quality craftsmanship with which Newbridge Cutlery has become synonymous with and partly due to the government imposing tariff barriers - banning foreign competitors to import to Ireland. In times of recession and troubles, a strong focussed board of directors and committed factory workers ensured the company not only survived but also thrived. During the war years, old tram lines from Dublin were made use of when the resources were low.
It was the 1970’s which were proven to be the biggest challenge to Newbridge Cutlery. The tariff barriers were brought down and for the first time ever the company faced competition from cheaper foreign importers. It was at this time that Dominic Doyle joined the organisation as chief executive. He steered the company to be more focussed and specialised in the area that Newbridge had excelled in. A canteen of Newbridge Cutlery became something to be coveted and treasured.
Through downsizing the business (staff members dropped from around 400 to 60) and focusing on the niche market for unique, quality tableware, the company survived this period of trouble right through the infamous recession years of the ’80s.
But it was the 1990’s that saw the re-birth of Newbridge, when the reins were taken over by William Doyle, who, ably supported by his mother Mrs.Monagh Doyle and sister Oonagh, took steps to further develop the family business. Conscious that the appeal of a more ornate look had waned, the company set in train a number of moves that propelled it back to where it belonged, as Ireland’s premier name in giftware and tableware.
Crucial to this has been the launch of the Newbridge range of jewellery in ’95, which gave the company a new canvas to etch a more modern look to its work. The success of the company’s entrance came from experimenting with scrap pieces of silver leftover from the production of cutlery. The scrap silver was a valuable commodity and some pieces had been made into pendants and bracelets as an experiment by one of the company’s craftsmen.
With an emphasis on the informal, the natural look of Newbridge jewellery quickly caught the imagination of the market and its success helped ignite the spirit for subsequent jewellery ranges.
In tandem with this initiative, Newbridge brought this same innovation to existing product ranges of cutlery and giftware and the addition of new product categories including kitchenware and wristwatches have given a new outlet for its imprint.
Newbridge Silverware Today…
A whole new generation and market recognise Newbridge Silverware as a major name in design for many aspects of their lifestyles - jewellery, accessories, gifts, kitchenware and interiors.
The brand continues to be associated with many high profile names such as supermodel and author Sophie Dahl, style icon Yasmin Le Bon, top international Rugby legend Keith Wood and legendary racing heroes Mick Kinane and Conor O`Dywer.
In recent times the company have announced Audrey Hepburn as new “face” to the brand and are delighted to be sponsors of the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund.
The Company is very honoured to have been associated with the Special Olympics for which Newbridge designed and manufactured the torch.