Sitting on a fine chair industry

THIS week’s Archive Corner picture highlights Worksop’s historic links with the manufacturing of Windsor chairs.

There have been several firms in Worksop which specialised in making Windsor chairs, including Allsop and Gabbitas.

This photo shows a Mr Kelk, who died in 1948 at the age of 86.

He was apprenticed to the firm of Allsop but later started his own business at Shelley Street where he also made cricket bats.

Richard Allsop in Cheapside was listed as a chair maker in business directories from 1832 to 1895.

In 1822 John Gabbitas moved from Gamston to the common at Worksop. After his death in 1839 his son Frederick and brother Henry continued the business.

Chairs were marked I Gabbitas until 1839 and then E Gabbitas for John’s wife Elizabeth.

The firm took over the timber yard formerly used by Benjamin Garside but by 1898 the company had closed.

Other chair makers included the Gilling family on Carlton Road who operated from 1853 to 1916.

At some point it merged with Gabbitas because in 1902 the firm of Gilling and Gabbitas was advertised as a wholesale Windsor chair maker.

William Brammer had a chair factory on Eastgate but it was reportedly destroyed by fire in 1890, when he moved to the Priory Mill.