We are immensely proud to announce that Trainspotters is now a certified B Corporation.
As a B Corp, we’re part of a global community of businesses that meet high standards of social and environmental impact. Trainspotters is counted among businesses that are leading a global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy.
You can find our official press release, with comment from Chris Turner, Executive Director of B Lab UK here
The Story So Far…
Our journey started in 2003, a dark age of the lighting industry which was largely uninspiring and generic and the industrial lighting aesthetic was a mere twinkle in a few forward-thinking designer’s eyes.
Trainspotters Founder Jesse Carrington had been a Director at architectural salvage pioneers Lassco and had been spending his days scouring the underbelly of London for interesting reclamation, filling a crumbling warehouse with piles of Victorian and Georgian fixtures and fittings.
Alongside this architectural reclamation there was a fledgling interest in industrial lighting and back then it was relatively inexpensive but actually not many really wanted it, so it ultimately remained his labour of love until 2003 when Jesse decided to go it alone… He packed up his things, moved back to Stroud and Trainspotters was born.
Setting up Trainspotters meant a break away from the generalized salvage model and a shift toward the idea of carefully considered industrial salvage. Initially this was fixtures, fittings and some furniture but Jesse soon recognised that his passion for lighting was growing in others too and in 2005 he took the plunge and incorporated Trainspotters Limited.
Jesse packed up his things, moved back to Stroud and Trainspotters was born. Setting up Trainspotters meant a break away from the generalised salvage model and a shift toward the idea of carefully considered industrial salvage.
Initially this was fixtures, fittings and some furniture but Jesse soon recognised that his passion for lighting was growing in others too and in 2005 he took the plunge and incorporated Trainspotters Limited.
Fast forward to 2023 and Trainspotters is now one of the leading suppliers in salvaged vintage lighting worldwide. Perennially committed to minimising the impact of our business activities socially and environmentally, our mantra of “Buy Once Buy Well” has always been at the heart of who we are and what we do.
To be able to recognise this through the B Corp assessment process and be officially recognised is an incredible moment in our story, it gives us a solid foundation on which to take the business forward, using it as a force for good.
For customers, this means buying lighting that will last a lifetime, all with the confidence that people and planet are being considered equally alongside profit. All your purchases are linked directly with our giving – we have made a formal commitment to give 2% of turnover each year and you can find out more about this on our Social & Environmental page.
Thank you for joining us on this journey and here’s to many more years of love, life and lighting!
About Us FAQs
There is indeed a railway related provenance to the name. Going back to the time when co-founder Jesse Carrington would commute daily in and out of London Bridge station. With standing room only he’d grab hold of the overhead luggage racks and would admire their stylish design. At the same time these 1950’s carriages were gradually being taken out of service and scrapped. After some persistent investigation it was established that the racks, mostly flanking each first class compartment, were being scrapped at two facilities, one in Immingham and the other at the MOD base in Shoeburyness. Initial enquiries were met with bewildered surprise from the scrapmen, however we were soon salvaging hundreds of those luggage racks, rescued from the jaws of the crusher, confident that others would see in them the stylish retro design that we did.
Where do you find your stock?
The early days involved a lot of driving around the UK, early morning trips to antiques fairs and trips up to the north of England, loading the hire-van to the gunnels with old workbenches, vintage industrial storage units and rakes of factory lighting. The big break came when two of the largest English factory complexes went under the wrecking ball, the Longbridge Rover factory and Fort Dunlop, both in Birmingham. The scrap metal gold rush was in full steam and the demolition guys had no interest in saving the huge amounts of rare and pristine industrial lighting that lay in the way of the bulldozer. So it was a case of running ahead of them with a cherry picker removing as much as we could. We salvaged thousands of lights, but it doesn’t bear thinking about how many still went down amongst the rubble.
Why is a lot of your stock Eastern European?
As the nascent interest in industrial lighting grew into full-scale demand, we expanded our attentions to the abandoned factories studding the once communist belt of Eastern Europe. After a number of fruitless trips, where our enquiries were met with miscomprehension if not outright suspicion, we finally located some like-minded folk in the demolition trade. And so the westward flow of Eastern Bloc factory lighting began, soon filling a large warehouse in Stroud. These lights have ended up taking some often unlikely journeys to new homes across the world, from lighting Vegas Casinos and Hollywood Movies, to providing practical lighting over countless family dining tables.
What’s next for Trainspotters?
Trainspotters is perennially committed to minimising the social and environmental impact of our business activities. As such we are reviewing all aspects of our operations and collaborating with independent organisations and individuals to ensure our impact is checked and measured.
Good corporate governance is an essential component of running a financially viable and successful business and maintaining the ethical integrity, social and environmental impact, and inclusion of an organisation.
Scott Johnson is our latest Advisory Board member and the world’s first Certified B Corp accountant , he brings his impartial ethical financial expertise to the team. Trainspotters Team Member Poppy Chandler also joins the Advisory Board to again provide grass roots input to the Board of Directors’ key decision making. And Jesse, leading by example, with generosity and a great sense of humour! This crack team will be keeping a close eye on the company’s overarching social and environmental commitments and look forward to using the business as a force for good.