Stoke Newington looks very different now from when Roger Taylor set up his jewellery shop there a quarter of a century ago.

But many of Metal Crumble's customers have remained the same – even when they have left Hackney for Ireland, Australia and beyond.

“After 25 years, you realize that you've passed through generations,” Roger told the Gazette. “When you've been doing something from one place for a long time, people stay with you even though they move on. It makes it feel all the more special.”

Ham & High: A Metal Crumble ring being forged in the Stoke Newington shop.A Metal Crumble ring being forged in the Stoke Newington shop. (Image: All Rights Reserved (C) Lizzy Rose Clough (All Rights Reserved (C) Lizzy Rose Clough (Photographer) - [None])

Metal Crumble specialises in handmade silver, gold and gold-plated items. The shop also sells jewellery made from locally-sourced recycled materials and amber imported from Poland. Prices start at £15-25, with something for every budget.

Roger crafts many of his wares from a workbench in the Church Street shop. He can resize jewellery, add engravings or design bespoke items like engagement rings from scratch.

“I make wedding rings or engagement rings now for people I made baby bangles for,” he said.

Roger has no formal training: he picked up metalworking while travelling Europe and sold his first pieces on the streets of Athens. Later, he set up a workshop in his parent’s garage before founding Metal Crumble.

“I love making jewellery, and it's so much a part of who I am… I've done it all my life, over 35 years.”

He sees his work as part of a continuous history of people working with metal.

Ham & High: Roger works on a piece of jewellery for his Hackney shop at Stoke Newington Church Street.Roger works on a piece of jewellery for his Hackney shop at Stoke Newington Church Street. (Image: All Rights Reserved (C) Lizzy Rose Clough (All Rights Reserved (C) Lizzy Rose Clough (Photographer) - [None])

“[Jewellery] is one of the early businesses of the world,” he said. “Its roots go back to people carving horn and bone and leather to show which tribe they belong to, thousands of years ago. And in a way, we still wear jewellery in that way.

“A lot of the work I do is the same as people did thousands of years ago really. It's a bit more advanced, but many of the tools are still quite similar.”

Ham & High: A Metal Crumble chain.A Metal Crumble chain. (Image: Metal Crumble)

This year was hard for Metal Crumble; the loss of sales left the business turning to “all the local and government grants”, shop manager Georgie Fernandez told the Gazette. But Roger said he missed socialising in the shop during lockdown.

He hopes the difficulties of the year have made people realise how bad things have become for bricks-and-mortar shops.

“Covid-19 may have done us a funny favour this year in highlighting the problems of high streets in more stark imagery for people," said Roger.

Shopping locally not only supports businesses, Roger said, it also helps to preserve an area’s culture, providing places where “we go to meet and be social with other people and watch other people being social and feel positive as a result of that”.

Ham & High: Metal Crumble earrings hand-crafted by jeweller Roger Taylor.Metal Crumble earrings hand-crafted by jeweller Roger Taylor. (Image: Metal Crumble)

“I like walking down high streets where I see a variety of businesses."

He added that when he visits high streets in the north east of England where he was born, they are "just decimated".

"I don't want to see that in a cultural vibrant city like London," Roger said.

While Metal Crumble launched an online shop over the summer, it only accounts for about 20 per cent of sales.

However, Roger said he enjoyed spending a couple of weeks developing the website and writing about the idea behind the business.

“I realised that my small humble shop in a borough of London has been going longer than everything digital - that is quite funny in a way.”

Visit to shop online or find the shop at 13 Stoke Newington Church Street.