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 weavers 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.