Monday 9 December 2019


Have you ever found yourself in a situation and thought that it reminded you of something that you had previously seen or read? This feeling of “life imitating art” is not uncommon but it is more surprising when it relates to a whole lifestyle change. As we grow older our goals, aspirations, and outlook on life alter. What we once saw as important we may now regard as trivial. This was the situation that ex-actor Jim Baker found himself in and his solution was to start Heritage Soap. The Northumberland company is every soap lover’s dream and it should definitely be under every Christmas tree this year.

When Jim Baker appeared in the BBC Television adaptation of The Tripods back in 1984 he played the fresh-faced character of Henry. The story saw mankind dominated by alien machines and reduced to subservient puppets through the process of “capping”, which happened on a person’s sixteenth birthday. All technology had been removed and, as the first episode started, we saw a horse drawn cart alongside a caption that read “July, 2089 AD”. It was this stark contrast of an inforced return to simpler times that, thirty years later, would re-emerge in Heritage Soap and prove that life really can imitate art.

I’ve written many times about my love of soap and it truly is a product that is undergoing the most incredible revival. However, as I’ve also said in the past, a fashionable item is often exploited with ridiculous price tags and its only when you see artisan producers creating it for a fraction of the price that you can truly appreciate this. Jim Baker started making soap as a hobby before it became a full time business. He told me, “I have firm principles of purity, freshness, and nothing artificial. It ensures a long lasting bar that is a joy to use.”

Jim gave up acting shortly after appearing in The Tripods, which many in the industry saw as a great shame, and he chose to go in a completely different direction. However, his creative talents eventually returned in the form of Heritage Soap and he is now one of the dedicated producers that are trying to reduce the public's reliance on plastics, and partly return us to a simpler time such as that glimpsed at the beginning of that first episode back in 1984. I was lucky enough to try four soaps from the range and, whilst they were all genuinely wonderful, there were two that absolutely stood out as examples of soap making at its best.

Lemon Bourbon uses the citrus aspects of lemongrass but mixes them with an earthy geranium to create a delicately aromatic fusion that leaves the hands feeling invigorated. The green quality also adds an intrigue to this uplifting scent. Winter Warmer is, as the name suggests, the Heritage Soap festive scent and takes orange as its central theme but wraps it in cinnamon and clove. A note of tonka bean and elegant cedarwood makes using it a joy. Jim Baker has used a blend of coconut oil, olive oil, cocoa butter, and shea butter to form a bar that holds its shape but is also wonderfully nourishing.

Heritage Soaps are available from the website at priced at £4 for each 75g bar. [Samples provided by Jim Baker]

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