Who is Patrick Grant? Lancashire based star of the Sewing Bee which starts again tonight

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The 10th series of Sewing Bee returns to BBC One tonight at 9am and judging the contestants will be Lancashire resident Patrick Grant - but who is he?

52-year-old Patrick Grant is a renowned Savile Row king, fashion designer and co-judge of The Great British Sewing Bee, a show which sees amateur sewers compete to be named Britain's best home sewer.

He now takes up residence in Lancashire but that’s not where it all began, read his story so far below..

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Early life

Born in Edinburgh to Scottish parents, Patrick attended primary and secondary school in the Scottish capital before becoming a boarding pupil at Barnard Castle School in Durham and later a student of material sciences at Leeds University.

Following graduation, he relocated to the United States where he worked as a ski instructor, counsellor at a summer camp, a nanny, a landscape gardener, and a model agent.

Patrick then returned to Britain in 1995, aged 23 to take up a career in marketing, first at cable-makers BICC and Corning then optical components manufacturer Bookham Technology in 2000.

Between 2004 and 2005, Grant studied for an MBA degree at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford and his thesis concerned the regeneration of luxury fashion brands, being titled "Is Burberry's formula for brand revitalisation replicable?".

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Patrick Grant attends The RHS Chelsea Flower Show at Royal Hospital Chelsea on May 20, 2024. Credit: Jeff Spicer/Getty ImagesPatrick Grant attends The RHS Chelsea Flower Show at Royal Hospital Chelsea on May 20, 2024. Credit: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images
Patrick Grant attends The RHS Chelsea Flower Show at Royal Hospital Chelsea on May 20, 2024. Credit: Jeff Spicer/Getty Images | Getty Images

Fashion career 

Whilst studying his MBA, Patrick learned that the bespoke tailor Norton & Sons was for sale and by December 2005, he bought the London based company using funds acquired by selling his house, car, various other possessions and by borrowing from a bank, friends, his grandmother, and his former chief executive at Bookham.

In 2009, Richard Grant relaunched the defunct Norton subsidiary E. Tautz & Sons, a ready-to-wear brand which earned him the accolade of being named Menswear Designer of 2010 at the British Fashion Awards.

In April 2013, he relaunched another Norton subsidiary, Hammond & Co, a ‘ready-to-wear’ line available exclusively at Debenhams.

Richard also worked with Barbour as Creative Director of their Beacon Heritage line in October 2012 and throughout his career has worked with various other designers, including Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane.

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His career turns towards Lancashire

In 2015, Patrick purchased Blackburn clothing manufacturer Cookson & Clegg - which was founded in 1860-, saving the factory from closure. 

Cookson & Clegg began as leather curriers and manufacturers of boot uppers but by the end of the 20th century, it became a major supplier of military outerwear, legwear and other sewn products to the British Army and other armed forces. 

Today, under the direction of Patrick and his younger sister, Victoria, the Lancashire firm manufactures outerwear, in both traditional woven and modern technical fabrics, jeans, and chinos for UK clothing brands.

The Cookson & Clegg factory in Blackburn, Lancashire.The Cookson & Clegg factory in Blackburn, Lancashire.
The Cookson & Clegg factory in Blackburn, Lancashire. | Google Maps

In 2016, Patrick also founded the Blackburn based clothing brand and community enterprise, Community Clothing, which produces clothing staples using ethically sourced materials, in order to provide consistent employment at  British mills factories and reduce clothing waste.

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In March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Patrick moved from London to Lancashire to run his Blackburn factory, where he was making personal protective equipment (PPE) for the NHS.

Speaking to John Lewis soon after his relocation, Patrick said: “I came up here with one bag. I spent two months in a friend-of-a-friend’s granny annex on a farm, where the newly-retired owner would make my tea every night and do my shopping. I recently went back to London to sort out my house, let the removal company in and now I’m settled in a proper rental.

“Spending more time outside has kept me sane. I’ve connected with nature a lot more than before lockdown. I go out on my bike into the Lancashire hills on the weekends and weeknights if I finish work before 9pm. I’ve been seeing the dawn, seeing the sunset.” 

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After moving to Lancashire, he sold the majority stake of Norton & Sons (but still remains a minority stake holder in the company) in 2021- the same year he closed down E. Tautz & Sons and Hammond & Co.

Patrick now divides his time between London, where his girlfriend - a dentist he met in 2022- lives and Lancashire.

Joe Lycett, Esme Young, Patrick Grant pictured for series seven of The Great British Sewing Bee. Credit: BBC/Love Productions/Mark BourdiJoe Lycett, Esme Young, Patrick Grant pictured for series seven of The Great British Sewing Bee. Credit: BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdi
Joe Lycett, Esme Young, Patrick Grant pictured for series seven of The Great British Sewing Bee. Credit: BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdi | BBC/Love Productions/Mark Bourdi

Media career

Patrick has been a a judge on the BBC television series The Great British Sewing Bee since 2013.

He also competed in the BBC cooking show ‘Celebrity MasterChef’ in 2021 and has appeared as a guest on various television and radio programmes.

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Last year, in May 2023, Patrick then presented the documentary Coronation Tailors: Fit for a King (BBC Two) about the preparation of military dress on display during the Coronation of King Charles III.

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