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Charlie Groves

Trugs are all handmade

in the Holmes Hill shop

charlie groves handmaking a trug image
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your own Sussex Trug... 


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About Me, My Trugs and Trug Making

Thanks for taking the time to look around my site - just in case you didn't know, my name is Charlie Groves. I started making trugs in July 1991 immediately after leaving college, at what was Thomas Smith’s trug workshop in Herstmonceux village. I spent 3 years there then in March 1994 I left to work at the Truggery.

In February 1995 The Truggery workshop was closed and my colleagues and I were made redundant. With encouragement and help from my family and a colleague The Trug Store was founded that March.

I am very proud of the Trugs that I make and over the past thirteen years my baskets have been sold in Canada, America, France, Germany, Japan, Australia. Past customers include Monty Don, Sarah Raven, Alan Titchmarsh, John Lewis, The Highgrove Estate and the RHS.

Because we are a small, local business (even if our clients sometimes aren't!) The Trug Store is still a family owned and run business, using high quality, locally harvested willow and chestnut.

About The Baskets

With a history spanning over two centuries the Sussex Trug and how it is made has barely changed thanks to simple design and the common sense use of native local materials. Young coppiced Sweet Chestnut, split and seasoned, makes a strong and light frame for the basket, then flexible and light willow boards give it a body. Two lengths of Chestnut are cut to appropriate lengths, then shaved by hand with drawknife before being steam bent around their corresponding formers, one for the handle and one for the rim. These make the frame of the trug.

The boards to fit are sawn from clefts of willow. These are then cut to the correct length and width before being shaved thinner either end, soaked in water and pressed into the frame and pinned into place with cut copper tacks. Small willow feet are added for stability and with a coat of linseed oil the Sussex Trug is then ready for years of faithful service.

"The trug I bought for my Mum was so beautiful I had to keep it and buy her another one!"
Michelle E, Eastbourne, Sussex