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Carr & Day & Martin

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Carr & Day & Martin have been manufacturing in the UK since 1765. We are proud to hold the Royal Warrant for the supply of quality saddlery products to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II; our first Royal Warrant was granted in the reign of George IV, when it all began.

During the reign of George IV, the solid, carefully fashioned and costly footwear reflected the spirit of that particular era, yet despite their originality of design and beautiful workmanship, none of the shoes were ever polished! Soles were oiled and the uppers varnished, but polished, never! It fell to two of his humble subjects to bring about a revolution by making a ‘Blacking’ to polish leather. The preparation, they invented, led to the creation of a world famous business originally known as Day & Martin.

It all started in 1765 when Mr Day, a Doncaster hairdresser, met an old soldier who gave Day a recipe for making boot blacking which he had developed to polish the boots of his superior officers. “Make it like this” said Martin the solider “and you’ll make a fortune!”

Very quickly Mr Day realised how good the product was and together they opened a little shop at 97, High Holburn, London in 1770.

The blacking was mixed at the back of the shop and sometimes in Mr Day’s kitchen. Demand increased so rapidly that eventually the little shop gave way to a palatial building covering the same site and much of the surrounding area.

Mr Day had a flair for publicity and splendid black horses were used to draw the Day & Martin carriages as they delivered their products throughout 19th century London. It is said that these same horses were borrowed for the state funeral of the Duke of Wellington. Apart from the horses themselves, the firm had wonderful stables and equipment and used to take all the prizes at local shows and events. An interest in equestrian products thus ensued and with the first equestrian product made being Belvoir Bar Soap. Still made to the original formula, it remains the first glycerine bar soap on the market to this day.

By the time the company was sold in 1923, they had established world-wide overseas trade and the product range now also included floor polish, harness composition, metal polish and ‘shoe and leather dressings of every kind’. The new owners, Carr & Son were an equally famous firm although not quite so old, having been established in 1837, the year that Queen Victoria came to the throne.

By 1950, Carr & Day & Martin as it was now known, had re-designed the packaging of their entire product range. The new tins were said to be ‘bright and pleasing and the lettering clear; the illustrations have received careful treatment and the whole represents a well-balanced design’.

Product development continued and Carr & Day & Martin became known for their innovation and during a tin plate shortage in the 50’s launched a general purpose oil in a disposable tube.

Up until the 1900’s, the Carr & Day & Martin equestrian product range consisted mainly of leather care products including saddle soap, polish and oil. However, thanks to the subsequent launch of products such as Canter Mane & Tail Conditioner, Gallop Shampoo and Vanner & Prest Hoof Oil, Carr & Day & Martin is firmly established as the Number One horse care brand in the UK, with global appeal.