Fa­mous name that sits com­fort­ably whether out­doors or in

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Sally Coulthard

THE first glim­mer of sun­shine peeped through my win­dow this morn­ing and I dared to al­low my­self the brief hope that warmer weather might be on its way. It’s been a long old win­ter and the prospect of a bit of sun sent me near giddy with ex­cite­ment. It ob­vi­ously doesn’t take much.

One of the best things about the ar­rival of spring is the chance to think about get­ting back out­side, en­joy­ing the gar­den and snatch­ing a few quick cups of tea al fresco be­fore the heav­ens in­vari­ably open again. It’s also the time of year when you do a stock-check of your gar­den or con­ser­va­tory fur­ni­ture and re­alise that it’s time you chucked out that hor­ri­ble plas­tic set and treated your­self to some­thing al­to­gether smarter.

In the process of leaf­ing through end­less homes and gar­den mag­a­zines (oh, the chore of it) it’s struck me that one Bri­tish fur­ni­ture com­pany is en­joy­ing some­thing of a come­back. You can barely turn of page these days with­out stum­bling upon a Lloyd Loom chair or sofa, whether it’s dress­ing an el­e­gant court­yard or bunched around a kitchen ta­ble.

The his­tory of the com­pany is fas­ci­nat­ing. Lloyd Loom fur­ni­ture is made from “paper wicker”, a process in which paper is tightly twisted around a steel wire. The idea, which emerged at the be­gin­ning of the 20th cen­tury, came from the en­ter­pris­ing and en­er­getic Amer­i­can in­ven­tor Mar­shall Burns Lloyd who ini­tially used his new Lloyd Loom weave to make up­mar­ket baby prams for smart Ed­war­dian mums.

Mar­shall soon saw the po­ten­tial for paper wicker fur­ni­ture and in 1919 he of­fered the man­u­fac­tur­ing patent for sale in Europe. A London mer­chant, Wil­liam Lusty, ap­plied for the UK patent and his son Frank was packed off to learn the se­crets of the busi­ness. A suc­cess­ful deal was bro­kered and Frank re­turned to set up a UK fur­ni­ture op­er­a­tion in 1921.

The pub­lic re­mained to be con­vinced, how­ever. They loved the Lloyd Loom baby car­riages but couldn’t get to grips with the idea of paper wicker fur­ni­ture; af­ter only five years the fac­tory was on the verge of col­lapse.

Sal­va­tion came in the un­likely form of London North East­ern Rail­ways, when they be­gan to use Lloyd Loom fur­ni­ture in its ho­tels. Fi­nally de­mand took off and soon Lloyd Loom fur­ni­ture was grac­ing both the in­te­ri­ors of royal yachts, ocean lin­ers and the royal boxes at all the ma­jor sport­ing events. Tea-rooms, restau­rants, ho­tels and fi­nally peo­ple’s homes soon fol­lowed suit. As with all good sto­ries, dark times were ahead. In 1940 dis­as­ter struck. The fac­tory in Bow in East London took a di­rect hit from a Ger­man Luft­waffe raid and was de­stroyed. No-one was in­jured, for­tu­nately, but the bomb­ing spelt the end of large scale Lloyd Loom fur­ni­ture man­u­fac­ture in the UK. Un­til re­cently.

The for­tunes of Lloyd Loom fur­ni­ture took a turn for the bet­ter in 1985 thanks to Lin­colnshire fur­ni­ture maker, David Breese. David had al­ready been sup­ply­ing a grow­ing de­mand for re­con­di­tioned pre­war Lloyd Loom pieces and, af­ter painstak­ing re­search of the old tech­niques, David was soon ex­per­i­ment­ing with his first pro­to­types recre­at­ing the orig­i­nal de­signs.

For­tu­nately, in the in­ter­ven­ing years the pop­u­lar­ity of Lloyd Loom fur­ni­ture doesn’t seem to have waned. The new com­pany, now rather grandly called Lloyd Loom of Spald­ing (www. lloyd­loom.com), has been an un­mit­i­gated suc­cess, ex­port­ing to far flung cor­ners of the world and pick­ing up awards.

Jill Atkin­son, who sells Lloyd Loom fur­ni­ture in her Olive Branch shops, has wit­nessed for her­self the resur­gence of in­ter­est in this Bri­tish clas­sic. “Lloyd Loom is a van­guard of Bri­tish time­less dura­bil­ity and style,” she ex­plains. “Their fur­ni­ture looks amaz­ing in ei­ther a mod­ern or tra­di­tional set­ting – it used to be only suit­able for indoor use but they’ve de­vel­oped a new highly durable range of out­door ta­bles and seat­ing.”

And who knows, you might just be buy­ing an an­tique of the fu­ture. Orig­i­nal an­tique Lloyd Loom pieces now com­mand eye-wa­ter­ing prices – hun­dreds, if not thou­sands of pounds.

You can find Lloyd Loom of Spald­ing fur­ni­ture in the Olive Branch, Main Street, Ad­ding­ham 01943 830123 and Mar­ket Place, Eas­ing­wold 01347 823402.

COME­BACK: Lloyd Loom fur­ni­ture has been re­vived.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.