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BIFMO Appeal Donation Form

The Benefits
of Society Membership

Find out more about the benefits of membership including annual journals, lectures, study weekends and overseas tours.

British & Irish Furniture Makers Online

The free at access, fully searchable BIFMO database is now live and online. Visit to view.

Advancing Furniture History - BIFMO is now on the Apollo website


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.

The Furniture History Society and the Institute of Historical Research are delighted to announce that BIFMO is now freely available to view online at

The initial phase of the project has seen the construction of the BIFMO database comprising information on English furniture makers drawn from the definitive 1986 guide to the trade, the Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660 – 1840, as well as from the London Joiners’ Company apprenticeship and freedom records, 1640-1720.

The database will contain detailed biographies of British and Irish furniture makers from the sixteenth century to the present day, providing a rich resource for historians of social, economic, political, art, furniture and material culture, as well as to collectors, connoisseurs and the art market. The second phase of the project is undertaking new research to explore key historical questions surrounding the furniture making industry, including a case study on the role of British and Irish women in the nineteenth century: where they lived, their occupational roles, how they sold their wares, and their clientele.

In addition to extending the chronological dates of the database’s biographical data, our aim is to broaden the contents of BIFMO to visual materials, as well as the reproduction of a wide range of primary sources. Ongoing development to the BIFMO website will introduce new ways of engaging with the data. This includes the development of new software programmes to allow visualisation of the location and growth of furniture makers’ manufacturing and retailing networks in cities, towns and parishes across Britain and Ireland. Thorough 3-D and virtual reality technology we can recreate tradesmen’s workshops, salesrooms and neighbourhoods, based on artefacts and the information recorded in tax and parish records, inventories, business ledgers, newspapers, diaries and personal correspondence.  

The BIFMO project will provide opportunities for post-graduates to research data connected to the project, to write biographies and case studies about the history of furniture manufacture, trade and patronage, and to present their scholarship at academic seminars as well as to wider audiences.

BIFMO is an ongoing project, with separate but integrated research, resource-creation, public engagement and training strands. If you would like more information about the project, or the database, or getting involved, please do get in touch:


Dr Laurie Lindey

Research Officer, British and Irish Furniture Makers Online

Institute of Historical Research

University of London