The winners of the FA Cup final between Manchester City and Stoke City beware; these chaps repair the cup. Do not drop it...
Whether it be Stoke City or Manchester City who lift the FA cup this weekend, the excitement of this cup competition will mean that footballers will put the lid on their heads, drink from it, wave the cup in celebration and probably drop it under a bus - Real Madrid recently and Chelsea not so long ago. And then over the following year the trophy will be on display and tour for fans to see and be photographed with. Though there are two replicas that will do some of the photoshoots, the real trophy gets its fair share of knocks.
In a small workshop in an industrial estate on the outskirts of London, Kevin Williams and Tony Cimmering from Thomas Lyte Silver, have been repairing the FA cup for the last 16 years, using silversmith tools and techniques that haven't changed for decades. In the hand of these skilled craftsmen the trophy is heated, reshaped and recovered with silver so that the damage is undetectable and appears ‘as new’ at the final each year.
This is the fourth version of the trophy, the original designed in 1871, was known as the ‘little tin Idol’, for its miniature footballer on the top. That was replaced in 1910 by the current design, which actually has a miniature version of the FA Cup itself on the top. The trophy that is used now, is an exact copy made in 1992 when the 1910 version became too fragile.
British silversmiths are still viewed as the worlds finest at creating the highest quality and most refined silver work. Unfortunately, most of these craftsmen are in their 50s and 60's and there is a real need for apprentices to learn the skills and keep the industry alive.
Who knows, maybe a fan of Manchester City or Stoke City will be persuaded to take up the art?
Click here to see more photos from this story on Amit Lennon's website.
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