With over 170 years of brush making experience, R Russell Brush Manufacturer has been ever-present within the brush making trade and has evolved throughout its long history, changing with the demands of global markets and in so doing, come a long way from its founding roots.
Originally selling handmade brushes from the family run pub, Charles Russell went on to open the business's first workshop and began trading as one of multiple competing brush makers in Chesham.
His son George Russell was listed as a brush maker and beer retailer along with his two sons Harry and Robert in the 1891 census. The business continued gaining a reputation for making quality handmade products which allowed the rustles to remain competitive.
Robert continued growing the business and by 1935 the decision was made to purchase a property on Townsend Road with the intention of running the business from a workshop built on the site.
[From left to Right] Stanley and Bob Russell with a local worker Owen Caudrey & Stanley with his mother Sarah circa. 1937.
Still a small operation in comparison to other local brush makers, a large part of the Russell's brush making was outwork completed by a small number of employees within Chesham. Joined now by his son, Stanley Russell, this is the way in which the business was run for the rest of Roberts working life.
Bob Russell joined his father and later took control of the business in the 1950's. The Townsend Road property was renovated and out working began to be fazed out and replaced with onsite workers for the first time.
During this period Bob had the foresight to divert the business's attention onto handmade specialist brushes that ensured the business remained relevant in an increasingly automated industry. Resin setting techniques that were developed during this time are still used in the business today.
Bob was later joined by his sons, Robert and Alan Russell, who together continued to develop the business in order to combat the pressures of manufacturing in the modern age.
[From left to Right] Bob Russell with his sons Robert and Alan in 1987.
The business continues to operate in this same flexible manner today. Now run by Alan and eldest son, Alistair, R. Russell prides itself on being the only remaining brush manufacturer in Chesham.
Still operating from the Townsend Road site, R. Russell Brush Manufacturer continues to represent true British craftsmanship and remains a respected firm in the brush making trade.
[From left to Right] Alan and Alistair Russell in 2017.