Queen visits East End brollie factory under cover

THE Queen picked the perfect’ day to visit an umbrella factory as the heavens opened when she toured London’s East End today. She arrived to look round Fulton’s Umbrellas in Blackwall on a bright but rainy afternoon

ABOVE: The Queen is shown the umbrella design studio where ideas come together, then the finished product drying off on the assembly floor...

BELOW: The Queen meets the staff who add the colour in the paint-shop, then watches how they silkscreen the designs onto the umbrellas...

By Julia Gregory

THE Queen picked the perfect’ day to visit an umbrella factory as the heavens opened when she toured London’s East End today.

She arrived with Prince Philip on the second stop to look round Fulton’s Umbrellas in Blackwall, on the Thames waterfront, on a bright but rainy and windy afternoon.

They visited the family-run business which was awarded the Royal Warrant for supplying Buckingham Palace in January.

Fulton’s was one for three companies in East London playing host to the Royal couple in one of her regular away’ days and came at her request.

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The Queen, dressed in a pink coat and matching hat, was shown textile printing and umbrella assembly at the factory opened in Docklands 20 years ago.

The Queen and Duke were shown the whole manufacturing process by one of the company’s longest-serving employees, Shuresh Dayal, who has worked for the firm for 34 years and can put together a golf umbrella in seven minutes.

“The Queen’s a very pleasant and down to earth person,” he said afterwards.

“She made me feel at ease and made me relax.”

It was a tremendous hour for founder and chairman Arnold Fulton, who set the company up in 1956 and has seen it grow to one of the largest umbrella manufacturers in Europe.


He told the East London Advertiser: “It’s a tremendous honour for us to have the Queen and Prince Philip visit us. Our people are thrilled.”

“He added: “It’s good for the company and good for the local market in East London.

“The hairdressers around here have done well from our staff this week.”

The boss and his department managers were just as overwhelmed by the Royal visit as their excited staff.

Design manager Manier Ali said: “It was so surreal talking to the Queen. She was so sweet.

“I wasn’t expecting her to say anything to me and she seemed really nice.

“The Royal Warrant is prestigious and the visit means a lot to us.”


Fulton’s commercial director Tim Gambrill was speechless.

“I was mesmerised by Prince Philip,” he said afterwards. “The Queen has got a real presence’.

“Everyone was taken aback that she shook their hand. It’s real honour for us, fantastic for morale.”

The company’s see through’ umbrella became a trade mark for the Queen Mother who used them on Royal visits during bad weather, so the public could see her clearly.

Fulton’s, which now makes umbrellas for designers such as Cath Kidson, Lulu Guinness and Burberry, has seen umbrella sales up five per cent this month.

It proves, even with the recession, the public really does save up for a rainy day.’


What a clanger—public didn’t know Queen was visiting bell foundry