Our Story

To create something truly original, you must first fully understand the past.

“Like so many businesses the birth of Catchpole & Rye came about by accident. A cottage we purchased in 1990 featured an old claw foot tub.

The restoration of this bathtub lead me on a merry journey through the salvage yards of Kent and thus ensued a passion for antique sanitary ware and it’s manufacture. I quickly realised there was a forgotten heritage within Britain and set about understanding the origin of these plumbing products and how they were made.”

Tony O'Donnell, Founder & Managing Director.

Find out more about how we make our products

Our Origins

Catchpole & Rye has been in business for over 30 years, evolving and expanding into what it is today.

In 1999 Tony and his wife, Elaine, bought what was a run-down Dairy farm in Kent with a vision to turn it into the epicentre and manufacturing base for the business they were just starting. From what was old cattle sheds and agricultural outhouses, today stands a collection of fully renovated buildings and an impressive Showroom totally over 40,000 sq ft. 

Continuing to expand, the site also had a new warehouse erected just last year to house our new brass foundry, due to be installed sometime next year.

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Saracens Dairy, Pluckley Kent, 2019.
Tony & Elaine pictured with their son, Jack.

The Foundations

It was a single Bathtub that started a business and ignited a passion for Victorian plumbing.

Tony’s original bathtub from the home he purchased on the Kent coastline back in 1990 and the catalyst of Catchpole & Rye’s creation. 

It’s design was dated back to 1904 and was an original Jacob Delafon. The detailing on the cast metal feet was hand-carved by metal sculptors from the famous French Foundry La Foundrie. The enamel, having peeled away over the years, needed urgent attention and the metal body was badly corroded in places. Tony made it his mission to set about restoring the piece to its former glory. Little did he know it was the start of something much bigger!