‘To create something original, you must first fully understand the past’ – this is the maxim behind bathroom company Catchpole & Rye, a major player in the industry and one of the UK’s most prestigious brands.

It explains perfectly how it was born out of a love for British and French antique bath and sanitaryware. Founder and MD of Catchpole & Rye Tony O’Donnell started the company by enamelling cast iron baths. Quite quickly he began visiting France to buy antique sanitary and bathware (many pieces, such as the impressive canopy baths which came from stately homes or castles, were from the UK). These antiques would otherwise have been discarded but he recognised their beauty and history and carefully restored them to their former glory. Many of the timeless cast-iron and bateau baths that the company makes today are replicas of the original antiques that it still holds.

Catchpole & Rye produces much of its cast-iron bath collection at a foundry in Kent – meaning that it can react faster to customer requirements and show them first-hand how an order is progressing (many like to receive photos of their freshly painted cistern or bespoke metal bath finish). The baths are poured using the same techniques that have been employed for the past 100 years. For example, the original Bain de Bateau bath was made over 120 years ago, but the design and methods used to produce the bath today remain unchanged.

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    Catchpole & Rye Uncoated Vingt Neuf Polished Sloane Bath Filler Front with Table

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    Catchpole & Rye Solheim Bath Filler Brushed Brass Copper Bateau Angled

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    Catchpole & Rye Sentinel Freestanding Shower

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    Catchpole & Rye Empress Double Basin on Frame Silver Nickel

The company invests time and effort into employing and training local craftsmen to produce the highest standards possible and many of the pieces are finished by hand. It takes a highly skilled polisher a whole week to hand-polish one of the cast-iron baths to achieve its signature glimmering sheen. Catchpole & Rye is fully equipped to offer a bespoke and customisation service for customers, from casting emblems, names or logos onto baths or cisterns to even designing and manufacturing an Art Deco inspired bath for a specific project. The company also offers a full design service, as well as site visits to ensure a beautifully designed bathroom.

Although many of the products are classed as classic in style, the variety of marble and stones on offer, and different types of metal finishes, mean that they complement nearly all types of design schemes (the freestanding Copper Bateau bath, for instance, looks wonderfully contemporary when paired with some concealed or modern taps).

As well as tapping into new design trends, Catchpole & Rye are setting them: this year they have added a number of new products to the collection including the Le Vingt-Neuf bath, its largest double-ended bath to date, which was designed in response to customers asking for a bath that they could properly lie down in. Other new products include The Solheim Lever Tap, The Empress Double on Frame and The Sentinel Shower, an innovative freestanding shower and glass enclosure.

Catchpole & Rye’s showrooms are larger than most and each one displays the full collection – a real help when customers are looking for bathroom inspiration. Having said that, it’s hard to truly understand what it means to own a Catchpole & Rye bath until the first time you take the plunge.

Catchpole & Rye, 282-284 Fulham Road, London, SW10 9EW. +44 (0)20 7351 0940

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