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Firm a British brand


A Long Bennington company that makes horse-drawn carriages has been included in a book celebrating British manufacturing.

Bennington Carriages is included in Made In Britain, The Best of Quintessentially British Companies, which gives details about truly British companies, such as JCB and Marmite Ltd.

The author, Mr James Fielding, has researched 80 firms for his book, which produce a wide-range of goods from corsets to lava lamps.

Mr Michael Mart (64) a joint managing director of Bennington Carriages, said he was pleased Bennington Carriages was featured alongside well-known companies in the book.

Mr Mart grew up in Orston and started working as an engineer apprentice in Nottingham.

He moved to Long Bennington in 1964 and from there founded the company, Artistic Iron Products Ltd, which specialised in making wrought iron gates, horseboxes, trailers and carrying out agricultural work.

It later became the parent company for Bennington Carriages and another business called Bennington Metal Furniture.

The idea behind the carriages business came when his two daughters were children and the family owned a Shetland pony that was reluctant to let anyone ride it. To give the pony some exercise, Mr Mart designed his first carriage.

Mr Mart decided to expand the business into designing professional horse-driving carriages, which can be used for competing in horse-driving trials.

One of his daughters, Miss Sue Mart, who is also a joint managing director of the company, competes in the equestrian sport nationally and internationally.

Miss Mart said the carriages could be adapted to suit the customer, and the companycould carry out any alterations or repair work from Long Bennington — an advantage compared with overseas companies.

Miss Mart said that being featured in the book was a credit to all the staff.

Bennington Carriages was granted a Royal warrant in 1979 to build carriages for the Duke of Edinburgh, and has built carriages for him ever since.

The company has also made a carriage that is used for weddings at Disney World in Florida.

Mr Mart said the company was currently working on a light, carbon fibre carriage for horse-driving trials.

They have also created a carriage suitable for wheelchairs.

The book provides the history and pictures of each company. It is published by Summersdale Publishers Ltd.

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