My interest in upholstery started when my parents had their three piece suite recovered. After looking at it for a while, I thought that I could of done a better job. For some practise, my grandmother let me recover the arm pads on her chairs. My father and brother-in-law recovered an armchair at home which raised my interest further. When I was 15, I started my apprenticeship at Drummond Manufacturing Company. The company was owned by Maples and was where all of Maples furniture was made.
In my spare time, I worked for an antique shop in Finchley Road owned by a Mr and Mrs Scheck. While they were acquiring another shop for me to work in, I worked for 4 weeks at a piecework shop in Camden Town called Harris’s. In my last week at Harris’s, I earned £20, which was £4 more than the top men at Maples. After 4 years working in a basement, I decided to go self employed. I found a small workshop in Golders Green which cost £5 per week. With the £20 I was already earning, I had to earn £25 a week to break even. In the first week a lady knocked on the door and asked me to recover her two arm chairs. I charged her £70, this was less than a weeks work. I was now in business!
Although my main trade was upholstery, I also made Headboards, Bedspreads and Curtains. I had other upholsterers to help me when I was busy, and used outworkers to make the curtains. This helped the business grow until I could then employ a full time upholsterer. After a year in Canada, I returned and purchased a lease on a shop in Harrow where I did the Upholstery and made Curtains.
About 1980 I was specialising in Fabric Walling and Ceilings. I gained a 5 month contract to work on Palaces being built for the King of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh. After I returned I started working for some top London Designers. This took me to places such as Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany Austria and 4 trips to Southern Russia. I also had a 6 month contract in Kuwait where along with other specialists we Fabric Walled 123 rooms. When these rooms were finished we set up a workshop to manufacture the furniture for these rooms. I also gained a contract to Fabric Wall the Dunedin Casino in New Zealand. During this period I have also Fabric Walled about 12 Galleries in the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. Other places I have worked are Les Ambassadors in Park Lane, Sothebys, The Royal College of Art and The Dorchester Hotel all in London.
I hope this has given you an insight to my inspiration and experiences throughout the first years of my career. Please feel free to enjoy the galleries of only a part of my work.