Finn Farm in Kingsnorth, Kent used to be owned by Freddie Laker. He had made a success of his business and we were determined we were going to do the same! Our first workshop was a tiny, tin roofed, ex-RAF Fighter Pilot Scramble Hut from a disused local WWII runway.
We fitted a wood burning stove and wired up our first ancient cast iron band saw, we made a timber rack and fitted a stereo into our tiny office. Next we wrote our goals on the end wall, they were:
- To re-introduce the rocking horse as a must have item
- To be the best rocking horse makers in the world
- To have other people discover their own creativity by working with us
Tony had served his apprenticeship so we built the first horse bodies according to Uncle James Bosworthick’s plans in Lime bought from the Lumber yard where Tony had previously worked. In fact the owners of that yard, who supplied pit props to Kent’s mining industry, bought the very first two horses we ever produced.
We glued, carved, sanded and sanded some more. Painted, stitched and polished, fitted manes and tails. Tony shared his training with me and we worked in the workshop together for 18 hours a day, often being joined by friends who stayed and enjoyed the fun and creative atmosphere of our first little workshop.
We were so excited at receiving our first cheque, we rushed into see our Bank Manager and deposit the £350. He had little faith we would succeed and did not give us an overdraft facility for many years, so it was our parents who stumped up the initial cash to start us off in our first year.
After three months we had made four horses and decided to have a Press launch and a party to celebrate. We chose our birthday 20th October 1982. To our delight, people flocked to our tiny workshop. TV and local newspapers took up the story: we were in business.