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March 2019

Why We Use Only British Wool in Our Luxury Natural Fibre Mattresses

There’s been a shift in the market over the past 5 years from synthetic memory foam mattresses to more Traditional Natural Fibre Pocket Spring mattresses. This in part is down to the limited lifespan of foams, the issue with them being incredibly hot to sleep on and the compression rate issues. All of which has caused you the consumer to turn your back on these fad foams and look for a more durable quality mattress type. A Natural Fibre mattress provides a far cooler sleep experience and can last vastly longer than chemical-based Memory foams which we are about to explain in this guide.

A Natural Fibre Pocket Spring bed should contain the best, most resilient, supportive and comforting high-quality fibre fillings you can afford. In order to give you the soothing sleep experience you deserve every single night. Compared to cheaper synthetic Man-Made Fibres, these Natural Fibres are also far more breathable, responsive and can actually last longer saving you money in the long run.

Wool is a wonderfully versatile Natural Fibre, and can be used as a top comfort layer, or further down the mattress layers for a resilient support layer. It’s no surprise then, that for our Natural Fibre mattresses we only use British Wool, because we believe that British woven fabrics have always proven to be of the highest quality.

A demand for locally sourced fibres

Swaledale Sheep

Knowing exactly where your fibres have been sourced from is just as important as how they’re used within your new mattress. And as far we’re concerned, British woven fabrics have always had a reputation as the best quality given our traditional British loom skills. Reducing the carbon footprint and also supporting British farmers. We believe this is why there’s been a significant shift in the high-end mattress market, towards locally sourced fibres.

This demand is understandable, as locally sourced fibres are widely recognised for their comfort and durability, especially when compared to cheaply made alternatives. In particular, Swaledale Wool, which we use in our ultimate sleep experience, the John Ryan Legacy, is sheared from sheep in Yorkshire. It’s then scoured, cleaned and needled by traditional fibre merchants. This ensures that we get only the highest grade of British Wool for our Wool upholstery, which has been Certified Gold standard by the British Wool Board.

A celebration of British heritage

Speaking of traditional fibre merchants, one of our British Wool suppliers Edward Clay are 4th generation Natural Fibre suppliers, having been established since 1870. Initially starting out as a handloom weaver, they have continued to work from their historical original mill that processes our Legacy wool, ever since.

Not only do we want to celebrate this great British heritage through using this fine British wool in our Natural Fibre mattresses, but we’re also proud to support the UK farming and textile industry. The distance the material has to travel is significantly reduced, making the process much better for the environment.

When you don’t really get Wool

Swaledale Wool Mattress Fibre

Unfortunately, you will find that there are many manufacturers who will claim their mattresses contain ‘natural wool fillings’, when this isn’t really the case. Instead they will likely turn out to contain only a small percentage of wool, sometimes only 3% with the rest being a polyester/white fibre blend. This isn’t really wool at all, and you would be able to feel the difference in quality as you try to sleep. This blend will be far warmer and will compress at a far faster rate than Wool meaning potential dips and sags.

Wool should not be mixed with synthetic foams, as they are heat retentive, and therefore will negate any beneficial properties you would have gotten from it. It could also contain a paper thin amount of wool, such as 50 GSM sheet, which would be pretty pointless in terms of providing you with a quality comfort layer.

It’s always best to know the GSM and quantities of the wool used within the mattress, this way you’ll be able to see if a manufacturer is offering a few measly fibres, or if they’re using the wool in a correct mattress manufacture method.

What to expect for your money with Natural Fibres

Natural fibreCost / Availability
AlpacaVery expensive (low supply chain)
Bamboo Average price (good supply chain)
CamelVery expensive (low supply chain)
CashmereExpensive (good supply chain)
Cattle HairAverage price (good supply chain)
CoirAverage price (good supply chain)
CottonVery expensive (good supply chain)
FlaxAverage price (good supply chain)
HempAverage price (good supply chain)
Horsetail Very expensive (low supply chain)
Horsehair Less expensive (good supply chain)
SilkVery expensive (low supply chain)
VicunaVery Expensive (Most expensive natural fibre in the world)
WoolModerate to expensive (good supply chain)
How much to spend on a double mattress?What can I expect for my money?
£500Will not get you much at best a 13.5 gauge open coil / cage sprung with a thin polyester layer.
£750Could get you a fairly OK orthopaedic mattress or the beginnings of a basic pocket springs with 800 – 1000 count. No substantial amount of filling other than foams and synthetic materials
£1000Should get you away from most low-mid ranges and into the basic pocket spring models
£1250Should get you an average pocket sprung mattress.
£1500Should get you many manufacturers mid-range models.
£1500-£2000Should get you a hand made primarily Natural Fibre Mattress
£2000+You should expect 100% Natural Fibres and traditional construction methods
£5000+A bespoke hand made sleep system, high end spring units & featuring the Worlds Most Luxurious Natural Fibres

The benefits of British Wool

As well as meeting the demand for locally sourced Natural Fibres and celebrating British heritage and craftsmanship, we also only use British wool because it provides a number of fantastic benefits to you as the sleeper:

  • It’s incredibly breathable – allowing for any moisture to be wicked away from the sleep surface and distributed away from you; helping you to regulate your temperature.
  • It’s high loft – which means that it possesses very effective heat exchange properties, making it warm in winter or when placed against a colder body, or cooler in the summer or when it’s against a hot sleeper.
  • It’s naturally fire retardant – making it safer than many synthetic fibre alternatives, which can often ignite easily without the correct Fire Retardancy chemical treatments which if untreated burn at an alarmingly quick rate.
  • It’s very durable – and resilient compared to synthetic fibres, meaning it can last for years.
  • It’s soothingly soft – when used as the top comfort layers of your mattress, and can give you that gentle, soothing, slightly sinking feel as you’re cradled by the fibres.

Some of our wool mattresses

john ryan legacy wool mattress

We use the best of British Wool in a variety of our Pocket Sprung Natural Fibre mattresses, all of which contain up to 100% natural fibres and are crafted to the highest specifications, including:

  • The Artisan Naturals, which has 1200 GSM Blended British fleece wool and cotton. It’s our most popular model with 85% natural fibres.  
  • The Artisan 1500, which has a final luxurious layer of 500 GSM Wool. This handcrafted natural and man-made fibre mattress provide exceptional comfort and support for the price.
  • The Artisan Luxury, which is our softest wool filled mattress, containing 1200 GSM Blended British fleece wool and cotton, with 1000 GSM Pure British wool.
  • The Artisan Bespoke, which actually has the firmest upholstery feel. It contains 500 GSM Pure British wool and 1200GSM Blended British fleece wool and cotton along with Pure Horsetail and White Cashmere which gives it the firmness.

Want to know more about Natural fibres or ask for a tailored mattress recommendation? Please get in touch with our small team of mattress experts on 0161 437 4419 or [email protected]

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