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We spotted some more Gratnells trays on the TV this week.  The team from Salvage Hunters were at Kimbolton School in Cambridgeshire and spent some time in the Science Lab. Celebrity antiques dealer Drew Pritchard spotted an old collectors’ cabinet that he considered an antique. In the background is a bank of tray storage units (clearly the real treasure!)

Salvage Hunters is broadcast on Quest TV in the UK and follows Drew Pritchard as he criss-crosses the country to search for derelict gems that can be given a new lease of life back at his antiques yard with the help of wife Rebecca, sidekick Tee and his team of renovators, wood carvers, upholsterers and guilders.

You can watch the episode on catch-up here and you can read more about the show here.

Kimbolton School which is featured on the show wrote about the experience on their blog where you can see some behind the scenes photographs.



Educating the East End

We’re enjoying the latest ‘Educating’ Series. Educating the East End follows the day to day challenges of Jenny Smith and her staff at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow.  As always we spend as much time spotting Gratnells trays in the background as we do watching the stories unfold.

Starring Gratnells Trays!
Starring Gratnells Trays!


You can find more information about the show here.

Times article on Wooden Furnitiure Manufacturer, Ambic

Although this article ran a while ago in the Times we have only just spotted it.  It’s a very interesting article about School Furniture Manufacturer Ambic Ltd who were facing problems with cash flow as their business is very seasonally biased to the summer holidays (as is ours).  Schools place orders at the end of the school year and then want their new products delivered in time for the new term in September. So additional resources need to be employed to meet the temporarily heightened demand. Ambic used a funding circle instead of a more traditional expensive bank overdraft to raise the funds for increased production.  An inspiring story and you can read the full article here 

It could almost be a Gratnells picture!
It could almost be a Gratnells picture!

Buying legend retires

Not sure about the colours!
Not sure about the colours!

It is a fond farewell to Alan Roe who is retiring from YPO after many years kicking furniture manufacturers about. Alan has been one of our buyers and point of contact for most of my time at Gratnells. He will be missed. His retirement also coincides with the company’s 40th birthday. YPO is the UK’s largest public sector buying organisation, established in 1974 by local government authorities to help combine their procurement demands and hopefully achieve efficiency savings. I managed to get a slice of the birthday cake

BETT’s off!

We’re at the BETT show this week before heading off to the Toyfair in Germany next week.  We are showcasing two new products at BETT, our new SmartCase which has a carry handle and fits in our storage frames and trolleys, and our new Computer Club trolley with a special lowered top for storing and transporting larger equipment like monitors.  If you’re at BETT I’m there all week so do drop by our stand and say hello. We’re on Stand B1.  If you’d like any more information on the SmartCase or Computer Club trolley just drop me an email.


New science water bath with Gratnells Tray

I was very interested to see a new product from Irwin Science Education at the ASE Conference last week. They have developed a School Science dept water bath using one of our trays so it can easily be stored in a trolley or prep room.  It’s always great to see a new use for a tray and this one is very impressive.  If you would like more information contact Irwin.

water bath clear water bath 2

From A to B..

So last week we enjoyed ourselves at the ASE Annual Conference. It’s always a good way to start the year – not only meeting many of our customers but also catching up with some of our fellow exhibitors. Our Ping Pong challenge was a success and we’ll definitely be doing this again.

The Gratnells ping pong challenge at ASE
The Gratnells ping pong challenge at ASE

You can see all of our pictures from the ASE Conference here.

Now we’re gearing up from A to B – the BETT Show next week.  This will be our third time exhibiting at BETT and this year we are excited to be launching two new products.  If you are going to BETT you can be one of the first to see our brand new Computer Club trolley and our SmartCase.  Just make sure you pop by stand B1

BETT is the world’s leading Education Technology show and runs from 22nd to 25th January 2014 at Excel in London. More information can be found here.


Ping Pong at the ASE Conference

This week I’m in Birmingham for the annual ASE Science Technicians Conference. It’s always our first outing of the year and this year we are doing something a bit different.  Following on from our Prep Room Ping Pong video in the summer we are issuing all Science Technicians a challenge! Test your physics know-how and your ping pong skills and see if you can win prizes.  It looks simple but it’s actually quite difficult.  If you’re going to be at the conference drop by stand D27 and have a go!




The ASE Conference runs from 8th to 11th January 2014 in Birmingham.  More details can be found here.

Gratnells Science Technician of the Year is a ticket to paradise

When we launched the Gratnells Science Technician of the Year Award back in 2009, we had no idea just how popular it would become – and also how it would impact on our winners too.

Tracey Padgham, a Senior Science Technician from Cavendish School on the sunny South coast in Eastbourne was our very first winner. A popular winner and highly regarded by her colleagues, her nominator for our Award said At Cavendish we’re constricted by the curriculum – Tracey is only restricted by her imagination. How right he was.

We’ve kept in contact with Tracey over the years – bumping into her at the National Science Learning Centre (NSLC) in York from time to time, and she’s even been on the judging panel for our Awards. But when we caught up with her at the Gratnells stand at the National Technicians Conference in July, she had some exciting news to share – she was off to the Cayman Islands. Yes, she’d just landed a top job as Senior Science Technician at one of the few schools on the island. ‘I was told that there had been loads of applications for this post’ (we wonder why!?) ‘and that the school only employs you if they think you’re really good. So I think the profile of being the winner of the Gratnells Science Technician of the Year – and all the CPD I’ve done through the NSLC – has stood me in very good stead!

As soon as she was settled in to her new role, she sent us a photo and a message. ‘Here’s me with a rum and coke raising a glass (sadly not in my Gratnells mug I got in York, which got broken in transit) to celebrate my new job. Thank you Gratnells for your help.’


 Here’s to you Tracey!