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Gillows of Lancaster, Waring & Gillows

Waring and Gillows Ltd

Gillows of Lancaster, Waring & Gillows

Following his apprenticeship, Robert Gillow founded his business in 1731 cabinet making and finishing furniture. The firm grew with Robert’s two sons joining the business and tapped into the wealthy London market gaining a reputation for some of the very best cabinet making of their time.

Utilising only the finest of materials, their furniture was crafted from slow grown timbers imported from the West Indies on ship’s they personally chartered to do so. Developing a portfolio of ‘Gillows’ furniture, the firm also produced furniture to the designs of the Chippendale, Sheraton, Hepplewhite and others and were pioneers in the development of items such as the telescopic extending dining table, revolving top library tables and the Davenport.

As a premier name in interior design, Gillows of Lancaster not only produced furniture such as chest of drawers, tables, linen presses and chairs but extended their skills to metalwork, stained glass, wallpaper and upholstery. In the late 19th century, under pressure from the new mass produced furniture, Gillows merged with Waring of Liverpool, later becoming Waring and Gillow in 1903. The firm thrived for a time maintaining their reputation for quality and also by diversifying into the luxury end of the ships liner market.
Eventually the bubble burst and the firm went bankrupt and were bought by Maple & Co. to become known as Maple, Waring & Gillow. 

Rare to find, the earliest Gillows marks were in the form of a printed label ‘Gillow and Taylor’. The ‘Gillows Lancaster’ stamp was seen from the 1780s - 1850s/60s, when it was changed to just ‘Gillow’. From around 1860 it is common to find an ‘L’ followed by a serial number, whilst late Victorian pieces carry the stamp ‘Gillow & Co’ , later still 'Waring & Gillow’.

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