From the beginning of the 1800s the Windsor Chairs developed in England into a mammoth industry that supplied the rapidly expanding population as the Industrial Revolution took off. They have become famous across the world since then and are still providing many owners with quality comfortable seating.

On a smaller scale but equally significant in Scottish Chair Making terms is the Chair Making Industry which arose in the Irvine Valley during the 18c. The ‘Valley’ is a fertile glaciated valley at the upper reaches of the river Irvine in Ayrshire. There was a long tradition of flax growing much encouraged by legislation after the union of the parliaments in 1704. By the end of the century there were 13 water-powered mills for waulking the flax, grinding corn or sawing timber. The main industry was weaving which was carried out in a room of the individual weaver’s cottages.

Click to view a map of Darvel from 1820.

As prosperity increased other industries and trades were established. Small communities had to be self -sufficient and skills developed in order that local needs could be satisfied. From the early 1800s whole families of tradesmen arose to form the basis of what was to become generations of skilled workers. Many of these families are still operating 200 years later.

ca.1800 The Burns Chair.

One of these skills which developed was chair making.
As the fashions changed, patterns altered and the later chairs are much more in keeping with the Victorian style with its love of complicated turning and decoration, than the early ones.

The History of the Darvel Chair