Whilst clearing out the attic to create more storage space, the Museum Curator and his working party discovered a very dirty, rickety and forlorn old chair. At first it was heading for the skip, but on closer inspection, it looked more interesting. It has now been professionally authenticated as having been made during the reign of William and Mary between; circa 1690 – 1710.
Stanley Churm of Lodge of Lights No.148 has been able to shed some light on the recent history of the chair. “The chair used to be in the small Lodge room next to the organ and was used as a kneeling stool for candidates. After refurbishment and decoration of the room some years ago the chair disappeared”
The chair is a typical provincial chair of its time, probably made locally by a “joiner” (traditionally a joiner made joints for furniture etc.; as distinct from a carpenter who did heavier construction work).
It would have almost certainly been made for someone such as a small landowner or businessman; for the peasantry would have been using stools or benches, while the lord of the manor would have had much more elegant upholstered seating.
The first step in the restoration process was to dismantle the chair, the upholstered seat and back splat, which were an obvious later addition to the chair, believed to be Victorian, were discarded, leaving the rest of the chair completely original. The chair had possibly been made in the green (that is using unseasoned oak which is easier to work) but unfortunately the timber had dried out over the years particularly in a centrally- heated building hence there were loose joints.
The dismantling process was fairly straightforward as no glue had been used, the chair was held together by initially tight joints and treenails (oak dowels) which could be knocked out fairly easily and the chair ended up in pieces.
I then reassembled the chair using traditional hide glue and replaced the tree nails; I made a new seat in the original style from an old oak panel given to me by Ian Boswell, which came originally from his grandmother’s dining table. The completed chair was finished by Bramhall Interior Design.