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British & Irish Furniture Makers Online

The Furniture History Society and the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, began a project in September 2016 to put online the exisiting 1,000 page Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660 - 1840 published in 1986. Stage One of the project is now reaching its conclusion and a free at access, fully searchable database will be published under the title British and Irish Furniture Makers Online at the end of September 2017.

The FHS is now fundraising to support the next phases of the project, involving the revision and expansion of the database to take account of new research and scholarship, and broadening the time-frame to run from 1600 to the present day, entering fields hitherto neglected such as the history of the furniture trade and its impact on Metropolitan history, a speciality of our partners at the Institute of Historical Research. 

The second phase of the project will begin in September 2017 and continue for at least five years.  Costs per year are estimated at £70,000, £365,000 in total, and the FHS has already contributed £45,000 donated to the project from the Society's 50th Anniversary Appeal and £10,000 from donations, leaving an appeal target of £310,000.  This money will be used to fund a post-doctoral research fellow, up to three or more junior research scholars, technical costs, and related FHS-run events such as study days, collection visits, annual research seminars and symposia.

This project and its related activities will help develop the study of the Furniture trade and disseminate the results of this study to a wider audience.

If you would like to donate to support this important project, please click the link on this page to download a Donation Form, or contact Jill Bace at


Christopher Rowell


Furniture History Society

British & Irish Furniture Makers Online

Early 19th century paper trade label of Timothy Walford of Colchester, Essex, circa 1825, found in a mahogany chest of drawers.  Timothy Walford traded in Colchester from circa 1784; he was joined in the business by his son Timothy Jnr. circa 1822.

In September 2016, a project was launched to construct a database, which comprises the ground-breaking Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660-1840 (1986), and records of the London Joiners’ Company, 1640-1720. Working in collaboration with the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, the project has been funded with a grant from the Monument Trust and private donors.  We are delighted to announce that by the end of September 2017, a free at access, fully searchable database, will be globally available online. 

However, the Dictionary was published thirty-one years ago and consequently needs to be updated. Our goal therefore is to incorporate new research into the period currently covered by the Dictionary (1660-1840), and to also record additional accounts from the Joiners’ Company. We then aim to expand the timeframe of the data to run from 1600-to the present day, and to add the many ancillary services provided to the furniture trade which have been previously omitted. Grants will be awarded to emerging scholars to develop and publicise their research, supporting them at this highly important stage of their careers. 

An integral part of the project is to develop a new programme of research seminars, study days and training programmes for university students, museum and collection curators, and members of the public in general. Planned to complement the research on the project, these events will be organised in conjunction with historic houses throughout the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, and in collaboration with local museums and educational institutions.  

The Furniture History Society and the Institute of Historical Research aim to use this project as a vehicle to broaden the discipline of furniture history studies, demonstrating that it is a broad church which not only incorporates art, furniture and architectural history, but also design, social, economic and political history, thus inspiring today’s youth and future generations to come.


Dr Laurie Lindey

Research Officer, British and Irish Furniture Makers Online

Institute of Historical Research

University of London