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Harrison Spinks velocity 8750 mattress review: Can a 180-year-old company beat the hybrid-bed boom?

We put this luxurious, Yorkshire-made model to the test

Steve Hogarty
Monday 04 October 2021 11:25
<p>This spring mattress wants to lure you back from the land of memory foam</p>

This spring mattress wants to lure you back from the land of memory foam

A good mattress is life-changing. More so than any other part of your bed – from your pillows and your duvet to your choice of sheets – the humble mattress is the key to unlocking the perfect night’s sleep.

It’s an exciting time to be in bed. A sudden proliferation of bed-in-a-box start-ups has promised convenience and reassurance for mattress shoppers who have neither the time nor the inclination to test out dozens of beds in a cavernous showroom in some industrial park outside of town. This new wave has produced many of the best mattresses you can buy, but traditional bedmakers aren’t out of the picture.

Harrison Spinks is one of the oldest producers of mattresses in the country. Founded almost two centuries ago in Yorkshire, the brand leans on its heritage, experience and eco-credentials to set it apart from younger and international rivals.

Its mattresses are handmade using wool and flax from the company’s farm near Leeds. Developed in-house, the company’s proprietary pocket springs use no glue or harmful chemicals, and 100 per cent of the mattress can be recycled. And yes, it can be delivered to your bedroom tomorrow, in a box – well, as a vacuum-sealed sausage at least.

The Harrison Spinks velocity 8750 won the coveted “Bed of the Year” award at the most recent National Bed Federation awards ceremony – basically the Golden Globes of sleeping – so naturally we were keen to take this highly decorated mattress for a spin.

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How we tested

We tested the Harrison Spinks velocity 8750 double mattress over two weeks on a Roscoe slatted bed frame (£449, Made.com), sharing with a partner.

We paid close attention to comfort and the quality of construction, also taking into account the ease of delivery, the unpacking process and how quickly the mattress was ready to sleep on. Our tester compared the level of support and overall quality of sleep to one other spring mattress in the range, the Yorkshire comfort (£749, Harrisonspinks.com), as well as the tester’s own Simba hybrid (£789.21, Simbasleep.com) mattress.

Harrison Spinks velocity 8750

Buy now £1,249, Harrisonspinks.co.uk

  • Sizes available: Single, double (tested), king, super king
  • Mattress depth: 23cm
  • Material: Wool, flax, hemp, recyclable springs
  • Feel: Medium
  • Trial period: 60 days
  • Guarantee: 5 years
  • Rating: 8/10

The velocity 8750 is a dual-sided pocket-sprung mattress and one of the few last remaining stalwarts of the old guard of traditional spring mattresses, bravely holding its own against the rising tide of memory foam invaders. Even the name, Harrison Spinks, evokes a feeling of cosy nostalgia, that sense of wandering aimlessly around a National Trust house in the Cotswolds on a warm September evening. Harrison Spinks. You can almost hear the rattling of the teacups. It’s a surprise when your mattress shows up and it doesn’t smell like fresh scones.

Harrison Spinks is still a family-run business, like if Succession was about a ruthless dynasty of luxury bed makers. It has a 300-acre farm near its factory in Yorkshire, where it rears sheep for wool and grows the hemp and flax used to craft its mattresses by hand. That might sound twee and old-fashioned in comparison to space age, all-foam, mattress-in-a-box rivals, but Harrison Spinks has an eye for techy innovation and sustainability too, proudly touting its proprietary, eco-friendly, micro-spring technology and 100 per cent recyclable parts.

The self-proclaimed “NASA of bedmaking” is 180 years old, but is anything but an old dog. Some of the new tricks it’s learned lately have come straight from the Eve and Casper playbook, such as direct-to-consumer sales, next-day delivery, super-compact vacuum packaging and a 60-night, no-fuss guarantee.

Design and features

Unlike mattresses that only work one way up, the velocity 8750 is dual-sided, meaning it’s built with identical comfort layers on the top and bottom. This helps to prevent dips and sags as the mattress settles over time and effectively doubles the mattress’s lifespan in the process, as it flips over and rotates.

To help with the flipping, there are soft-fabric handles on either side of the mattress. And you’ll need the help. The velocity 8750 is a particularly heavy bed, and because it’s relatively soft and flexible, it’s floppy and unruly when moved around or flipped. Our tester just about managed the flip by themselves, but we’d advise enlisting the help of a friend.

It arrives vacuum sealed and rolled up tight like a burrito, which can be easily manoeuvred onto the bed frame before being unpacked. Harrison Spinks also offers to take away your old mattress and properly recycle it for an additional charge, and unlike a pure foam mattress, there’s no waiting around between decompressing it and being able to use it.

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The outermost layer is a chemical-free cover, woven in-house at Harrison Spinks. The tufts – the proper name for those divots pierced into the mattress to hold the layers together – are deep and finished with soft fabric buttons. Switching from a flat memory foam mattress to a traditional tufted one takes some getting used to, but the velocity 8750 doesn’t feel uneven or spongy and the soft buttons are entirely undetectable.

Beneath that we get the comfort layers – one made of a wool viscose blend and another wool layer blended with flax and hemp grown on the aforementioned Yorkshire farm. The farm is also home to a herd of sheep, who kindly contribute their coats to the construction of these comfort layers. They rest on top of a cooling layer made of cotton, which we’ll come back to later.

At the core of the mattress you’ll find a sheet of 4,000 micro-springs on top of a central layer of the manufacturer’s patented, glue-free and fully recyclable pocket springs. Dig any deeper than that and you start coming out the other side of this flippable sandwich: 4,000 more micro-springs, cooling layers, comfort layers and a woven cover.

Comfort and performance

Spring counts are to mattresses what megapixels are to digital cameras, which is why manufacturers like to include as many micro-springs (or high-density, “HD” springs) as they can to boost their numbers and make their mattresses more appealing to the spring-minded shopper. But micro-springs are more than just a gimmick: they offer an additional layer of compression between your body and the larger pocket springs, dispersing your weight more evenly across the surface of the bed and reducing wear over time.

Of the 8,750 springs that give the velocity 8750 its name, 8,000 are these micro springs, and in this mattress they smooth out the forces of each individual pocket spring to produce an even firmness and a supremely comfortable night’s sleep. If you’re a light sleeper who tends to toss and turn, you’ll sleep better on the velocity 8750 than a memory-foam alternative – the softness of the comfort layers combined with the support of thousands of springs makes turning over in your sleep much easier and far less likely to wake you up.

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Similarly, the careful construction of the spring layers means that not much motion is transferred across the bed, which is good news for anyone with a restless partner who likes to do somersaults in the middle of the night. There were no more disturbances than usual on the velocity 8750 when compared to the Simba we usually sleep on.

One notable difference we found between memory foam and this pocket-sprung mattress is temperature. The velocity 8750 is a touch warmer than we’re used to, and on the first few nights we’d wake up fuzzy-mouthed and blindly reaching for a glass of water in the dark, or sticking various limbs out from beneath the duvet to help radiate away some of the heat we’d built up. This is all relative of course – all mattresses require an adjustment period before your capricious human body accepts the change.

If that cooling layer is doing anything, it’s at least regulating our temperature evenly over the course of the night to prevent fluctuations in comfort from the moment we put our heads down to the moment our alarm rings. The bed feels neither too cold nor too warm by the time the sun comes up.

The verdict: Harrison Spinks velocity 8750

Returning to a “proper” spring mattress, having been wandering in the memory foam wilderness for so long, takes some getting used to. The Harrison Spinks velocity 8750 is an immediately inviting bed; a sumptuous layering of thousands of micro-springs and pocket springs that lightly support your supine form in a way that flat and spongy foam cannot.

Our tester has a preference for a firmer and cooler mattress, but once settled with the Harrison Spinks velocity 8750, it delivered one great night’s sleep after another. This is a luxurious and well-constructed spring mattress, with the convenience of bed-in-a-box delivery.

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