Heritage Crafts

Silver spinning

The process of shaping flat silver disc into a hollow item using a lathe to spin the disc whilst shaping it over a wooden nylon, aluminium or steel former, known as a spinning chuck. See also metal spinning and silversmithing.
Craft category
Historic area of significance
Sheffield, Birmingham
Area practiced currently
Sheffield, Surrey, Kent, Birmingham
Current No. of professionals (Main income)
Current No. of professionals (Side income)
Current No. of trainees


Spinning produces three-dimensional hollow-ware items such as trophies, vessels and cups. Items can be made to varying scales, in quantity, in a uniform and quick way. Spinners also produce and maintain the associated tools, machinery, formers and chucks used to produce spun vessels.

In the 1950s there were hundreds of spinners, but the trade side of the industry has contracted significantly. Now very few large companies are left; most are one man or two man bands in light industrial units.


It takes practice and years of experience to learn to spin metal. Spinners understand how different metals behave and become skilled at looking at designs and understanding how best to achieve the required form.

  • Turning
  • Drafting


  • Silver plating – over recent years many platers have closed and in Sheffield and there is only one known silver plater left.

Issues affecting the viability

  • Skills issues: There is a lack of training. There is also an expense of raw materials in training and lack of large orders to create repetition for trainees.
  • Market issues: The loss of large trade companies in centres such as Sheffield, London and Birmingham, combined with cheap imports from Far East are perceived as the biggest issues facing the craft.

Support organisations

Craftspeople currently known

Individual craftspeople:

  • Stefan Coe – Surrey
  • Warren Martin – Sheffield
  • Terry & James McCann – Essex
  • Stuart Ray – Kent
  • Carl Longshaw – Birmingham
  • Paul Toland – Birmingham
  • Varis Prieditis, Stuart Ray Ltd – Kent

Part-time craftspeople:

  • Steve Millington – Birmingham, LJ Millington
  • Graham Oldfield
  • Steve Gifford – Sheffield, Camelot
  • Ian Nevin – Sheffield, British Silverware
  • Graham Nye & Son – Walsall, Swatkins
  • David Allison – Sheffield


National Lottery Heritage Fund
Swire Charitable Trust
The Royal Mint
Pilgrim Trust
Maxwell/Hanrahan Foundation
William Grant Foundation

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