January 2020

Harrison Spinks Helmsley Egyptian Cotton Mattress Comparison

Harrison Spinks is one of the UK's leading Natural Fibre mattress manufacturers. They supply John Lewis and other retailers with their own range models. The Harrison Helmsley Egyptian Cotton mattress is one of their most popular so we thought we would take a closer look. We're going to see how it compares to other mattresses and whether or not it may be suitable for you. Let's have a look what's inside!

Harrison Spinks is a Yorkshire based mattress manufacturer with around 600 staff. More recently they have started listing directly to the public under their own brand (formerly using their other name Spink & Edgar then ) with a range of Natural Fibre mattresses. They specialise in making mid to high-end mattresses mainly using natural fibres in their models. They also use some really nice heritage manufacture techniques which we will also focus in on.

Hand side stitching in a John Ryan By Design side panel
Harrison Spinks use some really high-end mattress finishing details. Click here to read more on mattress detailing.

The Harrison Spinks Helmsley mattress (sold by Feather and Black exclusively) features a multiple pocket spring layer which is then topped with Cotton, Hempure, British Wool, Horsehair and Egyptian Cotton. It has a medium feel in the upholstery and also boasts a no turn construction method (the part we’re not so keen on read more here). So let’s start with the spring support and work our way up!

Harrison Spinks Spring System

The Harrison Spinks Helmsley model features a humongous 7,500 Revolution pocket springs of which 4,000 are micro springs. Quite eye-watering!

You may be wondering what Revolution pocket springs are. They are a new spring innovation from Harrison Spinks. The revolution spring is a standard pocket spring that then features a smaller spring inside it. The smaller spring is encased in a larger spring.

The design theory is to offer twice the support and its certainly an interesting twist (if you pardon the pun) on spring technology. Springs work by compression and extension, based on the weight/load placed on them. They are a rather simple mechanism that works incredibly well in its simple ‘single spring’ format. The jury is still out on the Revolution spring as to its suitability & longevity over the Calico Encased pocket spring front runner. But its certainly an interesting development so hats off to Harrison Spinks!

The spings contained within the Helmsley are spunbond pocket springs; meaning they are coated in a synthetic stitch bond like our Origins mattress range. Not a bad choice but you need to factor this in when looking at the price point. Synthetic encased pocket springs are entry to midpoint whereas Calico encased pocket springs will take you to the higher levels of mattress specifications.

Spunbonded pocket springs
Spunbond pocket springs use a synthetic cover. We use these in our Origins Range click to view more.

The micro springs always cause us some concern as to the inclusion of them by other retailers to increase spring counts, which in turn can lead the consumer to simply compare based on this figure which would be erroneous. Micro springs are tiny springs that are produced in large rows. The claim is they can offer more subtle support in a mattress. However, given the fact most pocket spring mattresses have a maximum depth of 35cm their inclusion into a mattress usually means that the upholstery layers above are lower than they could be.

There's only so much you can squeeze into 35cm so as something new comes in something else must be omitted. The reason why 35cm is usually the maximum depth as anything deeper makes tufting unstable and very difficult to achieve. Above this depth is usually achieved with toppers and separate mattress parts. The issue you may find with layers of micro springs is that the upholstery on top gets smaller as smaller the more springs you include.
An increase in the layers of springs usually means a decrease in upholstery layers given mattresses have a maximum depth of 35cm
Spun bonded and HD pocket springs on the John Ryan By Design Website
Here is an example – not from Harrisons – of multiple synthetic spring layers and micro springs. Click to read more.

Hand Side Stitching Detail

The nice detail with the Harrison Spinks model is that the spring units hand sewn with side stitching. Meaning that a craftsperson has spent considerable time passing a large needle through the side of the mattress. In direct comparison with the mass-produced ‘machine side stitched’ models out there its nice to see such as well thought through detail. All of our Artisan mattresses use Genuine Hand Side Stitching like this. It helps increase edge support and provide more robustness to the mattress preventing bulging etc.

Spring Tensions

This model is available in 4 spring tensions which will relate directly to your bodyweight. To make it easier we have included a table below so you know which tension to choose.

Spring TensionWire diameter (Gauge)Weight Range
Soft1.2mmBespoke Tension (Please Call)
Medium1.4mmUpto 16 stone
Firm1.6mm16 stone plus
Extra Firm / Orthopaedic1.9mm20 stone plus

Remember: Spring support is dictated by your body weight and is not an indicator of how the mattress will feel. The comfort layers of the mattress provide the feel and these are made up of the upholstery placed on top of the spring system. Onto the upholstery next!

The Harrison mattress uses Hand Side stitching a beautiful detail.
The Harrison mattress uses Hand Side stitching a beautiful detail.
Sadly they don't disclose the GSM of each layer and the mattress is one sided
Sadly they don't disclose the GSM of each layer and the mattress is one sided

Split Tensions & Zip Links

The Harrison Helmsley is available in split tensions or a Zip link option. This is a great choice for sleepers of different weights who both need different spring tensions. We’ve written extensively here about Zip & Links and why they can offer both sleepers the perfect support (click here to read more). We offer Split Tensions and Zip & Links on our entire Artisan range meaning there’s no need to compromise on support.

A split tension is available in the following:

  • Soft/Medium
  • Medium/firm

The reason why Soft and Firm split tensions are not offered is that there is too much of a jump between the spring gauges, meaning a ridge can form in the centre of the bed. As there is no separation in the centre between the springs as the support changes one side can sink further than the other given the difference in tension. However, in a zip and link (which are two separate beds) this is not an issue as both beds have their own perimeter support removing this potential dip issue.

A Zip & Link is available in the following:

  • Soft/Medium
  • Medium/Firm
  • Soft/Firm
d link mattress on a base
Zip & Link Mattresses are great for differently weighted sleepers as different tensions can be made as one bed. Click to find out more

Harrison Helmsley Mattress Upholstery

The next area for our review is the upholstery layers which provides the mattresses true comfort feel. To be able to accurately and precisely compare mattresses you need to know the grams per square meter of any upholstery contained within a mattress. Sadly Harrisons and its retailers don’t disclose this for their models, making it really difficult for you the consumer to make meaningful comparisons or work out the value of a mattress.

Higher-end mattress makers like Vi-spring and Savoir do disclose this as do we. It’s a shame all retailers don’t join the club of showing exactly what’s inside a mattress. We would love it if Harrison Spinks followed suit to help them showcase their models.

The Helmsley mattress upholstery features the following fibres:

Egyptian Cotton & Cotton Layers

As we have said without the GSM its really difficult to say exactly what this layer comprises of. We do however know that Egyptian cotton is very soft premium fibre. As with Cotton though its got very high loft but also high compression meaning usually it’s blended with another fibre to keep its loft. We would guess it may have been blended with the Hemp fibre to allow it to bounce back more easily. In this top layer, you would expect a 1000GSMEgyptian  minimum amount for the comfort layer.

1200 gsm blended wool and cotton cross section
Egyptian Cotton and other soft fibres are often blended with another fibre to help keep their loft. View Natural Fibre mattresses here.

Hempure Layer

Hemp is a wonderful natural plant fibre that is highly breathable and resilient. Often blended with wool to soften hemp it brings resilience to a blended fibre or increases its loft. It’s been used for over a thousand years and is a great low carbon footprint option as it captures Co2 as it is grown. Without specifics from Harrisons we don’t know whereabouts this is used in the mattress. More than likely as a mid-layer maybe 300gsm, again we are having to estimate without further specifics.

British Wool Layer

This fibre is both soft and breathable making for an excellent comfort layer in comparison to cheaper polyester blends you see. Harrison Spinks have their own farm where they source some of their wool from for their mattresses. Wool gives a softness to a mattress as its incredibly forgiving this layer could be anywhere between 500GSM to 1200GSM.

Horsehair Layer

Horsehair acts as a secondary spring unit in a mattress and also doubles up as an excellent spring insulator in mattress construction. It provides a firmer feel to mattress upholstery so we would imagine this has been used directly on top of those Micro springs and Revolution springs. We would imagine this is a 500GSM -1000GSM.

1200 gsm horse hair
Horsehair makes an excellent insulator and can help firm up softer mattress upholstery. Click to view horsehair mattresses

One-Sided Mattress Issues

The main issue that we have with this mattress is the fact it’s still only one-sided. Meaning you can’t turn only rotate this model. The drawback with this is that you’re putting all the stress on one side of the bed. This can lead to issues with quicker settlement and the fact you’re not able to fully even out wear.

At this price point of £1470 for a kingsize (Feather & Black) you should be really looking for a two-sided model like our Artisan Range.

How to Compare Mattresses
We compare to the Harrison Spink Helmsley Mattress

Comparing mattresses side by side can help you work out both the suitability and the value of any given mattress. Once you know the internal components, such as upholstery and spring units you can then do a line by line comparison to other models. However, the retailers don’t always make this easy for you by hiding away certain key details.

Our nearest comparison to the Harrison Spinks Helmsley mattress in terms of over overall feel is our Artisan Latex. There are, however, notable differences in the construction method, GSM fillings and other mattress details. All of which will allow you to directly compare to the Harrison Spinks model.

They are both a medium feel mattress but the Artisan Latex is both 2-sided and 100% Natural using Plant Based fibres. We use a single layer of Vanadium coated Calico Encased pocket springs which are available in 3 spring tensions depending on your body weight.

Containing Coir Coconut fibre, Organic Flax, Talalay latex, Rebound Cotton and Natural Bamboo this mattress provides deep comfort for the sleeper. The comfort layers are responsive to the sleeper wanting a cushioning sink before the 1500 Pocket spring unit provides the support.

Our Latex Mattresses are ideal for sleepers looking for progressive support or those who have been used to a moulding foam mattress before. This range will allow a slow sink into the mattress but progressive enough to allow ease of movement, unlike memory foam.

Featuring a huge 3150GSM of 100% Natural Fibre fillings this mattress is unbeatable in terms of comfort & value.

Two rows genuine Hand Side Stitching & Hand Tufted.

The Woven Viscose mattress cover is completely Chemical-Free using a Natural plant-based fire retardancy protection.


Artisan Latex
Artisan Latex
Artisan Latex Helmsley Egyptian Cotton
1 200GSM Bamboo 1000GSM Egyptian Cotton & Cotton Blend (estimated)
2 1500GSM Rebound Cotton 300GSM Hemp (estimated)
3 3cm Talalay (60% Natural 40% Synthetic) Latex (Graphite Free) 500-1200GSM British Wool (estimated)
4 450GSM Organic Flax 500GSM -1000GSM Horsehair (estimated)
5 1000GSM Coir Coconut Fibre Aas insulator NA
6 1500 Calico Encased Vanadium Pocket Springs (Soft, Medium or Firm Gauge) 4,000 Micro Springs + 3,500 Revolution Springs
Total GSM 3150GSM 2300-3500GSM
Sides 2 1
Price £1370 £1470
Rated Excellent Trustpilot

Harrison Spinks make some really lovely models with some lovely traditional mattress detailing such as Hand Side Stitching and the use of Natural Fibres. The only improvement we can see with this model is making it a two-sided model so you can get more wear out of your mattress.

Another suggestion would be for Harrison Spinks, along with all other retailers, to disclose the full GSM of their fibres. This would help consumers compare and also work out exactly how their models will feel based on the fibre details.

If you need further help in choosing a new mattress why not get in touch with our small expert team on 0161 437 4419.

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