Heckfield Place

Manor house hotel – butlers tray, luggage rack, lectern, tiffin, retail cabinet
CLIENT – Commercial
Designers – bwt
Metalwork – Deller McClafferty
Leatherwork – Wolfram Lohr
Photography – Glasshopper
Heckfield Place is a multi-award winning grade II-listed country-house hotel set in 400 acres of parkland. Special Branch were commissioned to develop, prototype and make 110 unique pieces of furniture and speciality wooden items.

Ben Thompson and his team actively encouraged a collaborative approach between craftsman and designer. Inspiration started with the trees, gardens and surrounding parkland, along with beautiful natural materials and a pared back aesthetic.  

Retail Sales Unit 

A retail cabinet designed for the Bothy Spa. Made from limed oak, unlacquered brass with natural veg leather lined display drawer and Carl Aubock handles.


The oak tiffins are a playful hybrid of traditional and contemporary woodworking methods. A unique mix of steam-bent carrier frame parts, handmade plywood CNC’d into shape and Oak ‘swill’ weave from Cumbrian woodland. Owen Jones, who supplied the oak weave for the tiffins, was taught to make traditional oak swills by one of the last surviving ‘Swillers’ over 30 years ago. Swills are the name for an exceptionally durable oak lath basket which is unique to Cumbria. There’s no one left from that era and Owen is now the single link between then and now – keeping this regional tradition alive. Fortunately, he’s passed on his knowledge of this local trade which has remained largely unchanged for centuries and has taught many people, so it is set to live on. 

The swill is prepared from coppiced oak which is cut green and immediately boiled in a trough and then soaked in a running stream. It’s split and then skilfully bashed until the spring and summer growth separate. The harder, slower growing summer growth is then peeled off. This is what was used to weave the tiffin baskets. 

The tiffin’s were developed with bwt and then made by our traditionally trained cabinet makers at the Special Branch Furniture workshop. 


Fumed oak and unlacquered brass.

Butler’s Tray 

Twenty one meticulously detailed butler’s tray sets hand made from European oak, unlacquered brass and natural veg leather.

Luggage Rack 

European oak, unlacquered brass and natural veg leather.