Inside the Factory

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Series 5 - Episode 4 Mattresses



“It is reee-maaarkable!” bellows Gregg Wallace at the end of his tour of mattress production at the Harrison Spinks factory in Leeds. And even allowing for Gregg-stasy levels of excitement, he has a point: you would be hard pushed to guess quite how complicated and multilayered a big mattress is – they have thousands of springs in each one.

But as ever, it’s not just the mattress assembly we get to know, it’s how the wool for the topper pad is sheared and treated and how the steel for the springs is made at a blast furnace in Scunthorpe. For my money, we don’t see enough blast furnaces on our screens – few things look more terrifying.

And after seeing Ruth Goodman shift uncomfortably on the kind of straw-stuffed bed that did service for centuries, we learn about the man who made everything better – the inventor of the pocket-sprung mattress, James Marshall.


Gregg Wallace visits a mattress factory in Leeds, where he discovers how steel is stretched and coiled into springs and the advantages of natural fibres like hemp and wool. Cherry Healey talks to a sleep scientist about the benefits to reaction time from taking an afternoon nap, and Ruth Goodman tries out a Middle Ages mattress made out of a straw-stuffed sack.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Gregg Wallace
Presenter Cherry Healey
Contributor Ruth Goodman
Editor Matthew Reinders
Editor John Payazidis
Executive Producer Sanjay Singhal
Executive Producer Amanda Lyon
Series Director Steve Bonser
Series Producer Michael Rees
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