At the risk of putting an age to the ever-youthful, fun & effervescent business you know and love as House of Marbles, may we tell you our age?!
We are telling our friends and family (a.k.a. you) that we are ’50 years young’ this year. No, we don’t want a fuss, except that we do want to be able to celebrate 50 years of YOU, our loyal customers, one-time visitors, tourists, and pit-stop vacationers, as you are the ones who have helped us to get this far.
This year will see us celebrating with many little surprises and events along the way, with a very special 50th Anniversary Afternoon Tea in the pipeline. Our best range of vintage products will return in 50th Anniversary packaging. Like our peers who may or may not be turning 50 (or 49 again) this year, we’d like to keep our options open, so we recommend our friends keep up with our antics on our socials if they want to get involved. One thing is for sure we want you to be at the centre of each little celebratory event.
First, though let’s take a look back and show you how far we’ve come:
Way back in 1973, when we first started, there was just an idea, a dream even, of what might be to come. We started making quality wooden boards for games like Marble Solitaire out of a warehouse in Chudleigh. We were not yet known as House of Marbles, but this is undoubtedly where we began, much like when a child comes into the world waiting to be identified with their forever name.
This went on for several years, starting with sales at craft fairs and growing all the time. Then came a challenge – perhaps not the most significant issue by modern standards, but who would want to buy a marble solitaire board when the main component parts are scarcely available? And thus, a gap in the market revealed itself that allowed us to overcome adversity in the best way: We needed to start making marbles! In 1987 a glassworks was created to fulfil this great need, and so, out of a relatively minor (but rather essential) issue, two companies emerged from the figurative flames: House of Marbles and Teign Valley Glass.
In 1990, a new site was acquired with both the space to grow and unusual character. Even though the place was derelict, it was too much of a temptation to surpass, despite the substantial investment of time and funds needed to make it inhabitable. Local youths have since reported gaining access to the abandoned site to practice skateboarding inside its many spacious rooms, a feat that today would prove quite tricky given the many new features that have since been installed over the years.
Where there were holes in the walls, barbed wire and scaffolding, now there are museums, marble runs, glassworks, a restaurant, a shop and a games garden. Much like looking back to one’s adolescence, it is strange to see how far we have come and how much we have grown, all whilst remaining, devoutly and deep down, the same House of Marbles that started in that Chudleigh warehouse with a few sales at craft fairs.
We want to tell you so much more about our rich and varied story as there is far too much to share in just one sitting, so will you join us over the next few months as we reveal our other nuances from across the ages?
We have the time and the tales (after all, what more do you gain after 50 years than a bit of wisdom and a great deal of wit), so if you fancy a little more, we invite you to join us for the ride.