Twin brothers, Marc and Tony Stevenson were inspired by their Uncle who had served his apprenticeship in the Chatham Naval Dockyard in the 1940s. Whilst there, he started making toys from off-cuts and soon built up a reputation for making rocking horses.
In 1982, the two brothers established their own business in an old shed on the family farm. Today Stevenson Brothers are still based in Kent and over the past 25 years have produced circa 6,500 rocking horses, which are universally recognised as works of art. They have reintroduced the traditional rocking horse as a ‘today’ item and their large showroom is full of interesting new and antique horses. There is even a ‘Hospital’ for those treasured steeds, which are in need of skilful and loving attention.
New horses are hand-made using only the best materials and traditional craftsmanship. Each horse is numbered and dated on a brass plate and can even be fitted with a secret compartment! Tulip wood and Oak are used for their painted horses, but they also use Maple, Cherry and Yew.
They have demonstrated their commitment to the long-term value of ‘trees’ and are very proud of their ‘green policy: “Working with hardwoods around the world brings with it an environmental responsibility – Wherever possible hardwoods are bought from suppliers supporting the code of conduct of the International Tropical Timber Organisations.The timbers used come from plantations with a sound replanting policy and as a double guarantee that the wood used in each rocking horse is being replaced, a tree is sent to each customer to plant and care for. To date some 6,500 saplings have been despatched.”
More recently, Stevenson brothers have developed a special relationship with Walnut in a ‘Limited Edition’ rocking horse.
Marc takes up the story: “A number of English Walnut Trees were planted on Runnymede Island, in the middle of the Thames, to celebrate the momentous signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 by King John. We were offered one of these ancient trees in 2002 and once milled and dried this wonderful wood has been made into ten special rocking horses. The leatherwork was specially commissioned and made by the Royal Horse Artillery and is removable to allow the beautiful grain of the Walnut to be fully appreciated.”