Martin, with his business partner Philip, run the last remaining cloth warehouse in Spitalfields, East End, which used to be the center of the cloth trade in London. Their business was recently burned to the ground and they thought it was lost forever. Recently they have garnered a lot of local support and have now rebuilt their business back from the ashes.
This film is part of 1000 Londoners, a five-year digital project which aims to create a digital portrait of a city through 1000 of the people who identify themselves with it. The profile contains a 3 minute film that gives an insight into the life of the Londoner, as well as their personal photos of London and some answers to crucial questions about their views on London life. Over the course of the project we aim to reveal as many facets of the capital as possible, seeing city life from 1000 points of view.
1000 Londoners is produced by South London based film production company and social enterprise, Chocolate Films. The filmmakers from Chocolate Films will be both
producing the films and providing opportunities to young people and community groups to make their own short documentaries, which will contribute to the 1000 films. Visit chocolatefilms.com
It was 1946 when I first started work in this business when there was coupons on fabric, there was utility fabric and I've been handling fabric since those days. So I think I know a little bit about it. My first job was working for Mark Bass, was the name of the company, that was my uncle. I hated it because all these men were coming in and using foul language that I'd never heard and it was in the centre of Soho, i mean, it was a terrible place, but that became part of my life. That's where I started. When I first joined Crescent Trading, Philip and I, I'd known Philip, I knew Philip's father, I mean, I've known him since he was a child and we happened to meet up and certain things happened and we joined forces. Now, when we first started we were selling thousands of meters to other merchants and to clothing manufacturers and, you know, we were just buying parcels and selling parcels. That does not exist today. They called it the rag trade. I personally do not class what we do as rags or shmutters. When we're looking at all wool, beautiful fabrics made in England, that's not a shmutter, it's a beautiful bit of cloth. That's what we sell and that's what we trade in. Not shmutters. There are no clothing manufacturers, there are very few merchants left and we now deal with students and we cut rolls of cloth which we never did before. You cannot teach anyone really, people have to handle things for years to learn themselves. You can show them; whether they'll listen to you or not is another point. But we will try. It's the only thing I've ever done so it is in my blood and I like it. When you understand things and you're good at what you do, you like it. So I really enjoy what I do.
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