A trolley and tray-making company on the Old Kent Road is celebrating receiving a Royal Warrant.
Kaymet London Limited started life in 1947, in the basement of an Elephant and Castle radio shop owned by the Schreiber family, producing metal casing.
The company achieved success after WW2 making metal products including cocktail sets and ash trays, but became best known for their signature trays and trolleys, made from spun, anodised aluminium, which gained popularity throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Five years ago, 55-year-old Mark Brearley, wife Ivana Milanovic, and brother John Brearley, took over the business after a chance encounter saw Mr Brearley visit the Kaymet factory and buy a tray for his partner.
At the time, Mr Brearley was working on a project for the London Mayor’s office, listing London’s independent businesses, and his research took him to the tray-maker.
A few months later, the company’s owner Ken Schreiber, got in touch asking if he was interested in taking it over.
Five years later, sales have tripled, and Mr Schreiber is still working as general manager after an overhaul saw the company change tack and focus on building its reputation as a heritage brand, celebrating its history of iconic designs.
An array of brightly coloured Kaymet trays are now stocked in high-end retailers like Fortnum and Mason and Harrods, and used in restaurants and hotels like the Ledbury in Notting Hill.
The company was awarded its royal warrant this month, after committing to continue producing high-quality products that are as environmentally and socially sustainable as possible.
They also produced evidence their trays and hot plates had serviced up food to the royal households, including Balmoral and Buckingham Palace, and on the royal yacht, SS Gothic, as part of Elizabeth II’s world Coronation tour in 1954.
Mr Brearley says Kaymet is believed to be the sixth Southwark company to be given a royal warrant, with others including Patey’s hat makers, who featured in the News earlier this year, art shippers Constantine, silversmiths Grant MacDonald based in Bankside, French polishers Michenuels in Peckham, and audio goods provider Richer Sounds in Borough.
The factory is based on Ossory Road, near Asda, off the Old Kent Road, in an area where industrial space is increasingly jostling with housing developments.
Mr Brearley, who lives in Forest Hill, said: “Kaymet are proud to have a history of supply to the royal family tracing back nearly 70 years, and now we are delighted to have been granted a royal warrant.
“Soon the royal arms will be on our products, and we look forward to them going up on the Peckham factory, hoping the lion and the unicorn might scare off planners and developers who seem to want rid of us and other industry in Southwark.”