About Us

Trainspotters is perennially committed to minimising the impact of our business activities socially and environmentally.Buy Once Buy Well” is at the heart of who we are and what we do.  The result is lighting that will last for generations – sustainability with style.

We started out dealing in nothing but reclaimed fixtures and fittings and a significant proportion of our lighting is still reclaimed and reused. Sustainability and re-use is something that has always been hardwired into our thinking, and always will be.  

In addition, all of our sales are linked directly with the B1G1 (BuyOneGiveOne) Business For Good scheme which ensures a percentage value from each light purchased is specifically allocated to solar lighting kits for off-grid homes in Kenya or Malawi, which is helping improve literacy rates and therefore the future prospects for children who are now able to read after dark.

Salvaged lighting
White Pendent Lights

Trainspotters – Established 2003

We at Trainspotters Lighting have been doing this since the early 2000s, a dark age when the lighting market was largely bland and generic, the industrial lighting aesthetic being just a twinkle in a few forward-thinking designer’s eyes.

Trainspotters Founders and Owners Jesse Carrington and Tony Brook first met eyes across a crowded bar in a pre-gentrified Shoreditch. Working for architectural salvage pioneers Lassco they spent their days scouring the underbelly of London for interesting reclamation, filling a crumbling warehouse off the back of Old Street with everything from piles of humble Victorian door handles to reconstructed Georgian panelled rooms.

Alongside the booming architectural reclamation side of the business they started to take an interest in the runs of industrial lighting they would occasionally come across. Back then it could be bought cheap. But then again nobody really wanted it. So it remained something of a labour of love until the pair decided to go it alone in 2005, setting up Trainspotters to break away from the generalized salvage mould and specialise in industrial salvage and lighting.

Why Trainspotters?

There is indeed a railway related provenance to the name, going back to the time when co-founder Jesse Carrington would daily commute 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.

Our initial enquiries were met with bewildered surprise from the scrapmen, however we were soon salvaging hundreds of luggage racks, rescued from the jaws of the crusher, confident that others would see in them the stylish retro design that we did.

Trainspotters Lighting
Lighting in Trains
Trainspotters industrial lighting
Trainspotters Lighting founders Jesse Carrington and Tony Brook

Early Days

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.

Trainspotters founders Jesse Carrington and Tony Brook
rare and pristine industrial lighting

Looking East

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 casino’s and Hollywood movies to providing practical lighting over countless family dining tables.

Looking Ahead

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 brings his impartial ethical financial expertise to the team. Poppy Chandler also joins the Advisory Board to again provide grass roots input to the Board of Directors’ key decision making.

westward flow of Eastern Bloc factory lighting
westward flow of Eastern Bloc factory lighting
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