Express & Star

Jobs lost as historic Walsall saddlemaker Jabez Cliff goes into administration

Historic Walsall saddlemaker Jabez Cliff has gone into administration, ending 200 years of leather working and causing the loss of 26 jobs.


The shock move was revealed today, bringing more than 200 years of leather working history to an end.

The company, one of the UK's most respected saddle makers and more widely known for its Barnsby brand, had been struggling against tough market conditions for many months.

But attempts to turn the business around and restructure it were unsuccessful and it has been closed down.

Andy McGill, partner at the Birmingham office of Smith & Williamson, the accountancy and investment management group, has been appointed as administrator for the 221 year old company.

For full reports and bacground, see Wednesday's Express & Star

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All the saddles made by the company, which held a Royal Warrant as a supplier to the Queen, were hand-made. Barnsby saddles are used by The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, The Household Cavalry and many elite equestrian riders.

Andy McGill said: "The directors have worked very hard during the last six months to try and turn the business around. It had been hoped that it might be possible to boost international sales but unfortunately market conditions have proved too tough and opportunities have not matched their expectations.

Following the closure of the business, he said the directors had 'no option' but to make their 26 staff redundant and to place the business in to administration.

McGill added: "It is always extremely sad to see a heritage brand such as Barnsby endure such difficulties. I hope that the strength and reputation of the brand will generate interest to ensure that the Barnsby name continues as an important part of the equestrian market."

He continued: "We are working to sell the assets of the business, including the respected Barnsby brand, in order to maximise the realisation for creditors including employees."

In January it emerged Jabez Cliff and Company had made seven redundancies from its sales, office, factory and warehouse departments.

The company had agreed a Company Voluntary Arrangement, meaning creditors have agreed to reduce their debts with the firm to manageable levels.

Bosses at the firm, in Aldridge Road, said at the time they were confident they could grow profitably this year despite making cuts, but self-employed saddle fitters risked losing their company vans.

In 2011 the the former Jabez Cliff and Co site in Lower Forster Street was wrecked in a severe fire and later demolished. The firm moved to Aldridge Road in 2009.

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