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NH Chapman Ltd, household furnishers and upholsterers

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Date: 1920-1997
History: The business was founded by Swalwell-born cabinet maker Hedley Chapman (1814-1895), who established his own business in North Shields in 1847. In 1871 a new showroom was opened at 83 Northumberland Street, Newcastle. This was one of the first shops on what was then a residential street. The founder was succeeded by his son, Hedley (junior) (1845-1916), and grandsons Hedley (III) and Norman H Chapman (1884-1972). The third Hedley Chapman died young, leaving Norman to lead the family firm. Until this time, Chapmans made their own furniture at the North Shields workshops, but these closed during the First World War. Thereafter, the company concentrated on the retail business. Goods were sold under the 'Siesta' brand, registered in 1920. The Northumberland Street premises were extended in the inter-war period, with the purchase of a former Wesleyan Chapel in Prudhoe Street. Eventually the main focus moved around the corner onto Prudhoe Street. Following World War Two, the property was sold to Marks & Spencer (who still occupy the site), and Chapmans moved to 26-28 Great North Road, opposite the Hancock Museum. This was the company's headquarters until 1970, when plans for the Central Motorway forced a final move to Market Street. By this time, control of the business had passed to the fourth and fifth generations of the family, Robert H Chapman and his brother Donald, with Robert's son John becoming Managing Director in 1990. The firm finally closed in September 2012 when, with the leases of both Newcastle and Carlisle showrooms nearing renewal it was felt unrealistic to continue in business. From the early 20th century, regular exhibitions and furnished model houses ('Siesta Homes'), took the Chapmans name and 'Siesta' brand to potential customers across the region. The firm's longest-surviving branch in Carlisle developed from one of these furnishing exhibitions in the early 1930s. Short-lived branches were also established in Whitley Bay and Morpeth (1930s), and Alnwick (1970s-1980s). Besides their business activities, several members of the family also achieved civic distinction. Norman H Chapman was on Newcastle Council from 1936, serving as Sheriff (1949/50) and Lord Mayor (1950/1).
Places:
  • North Shields, Northumberland
Functions, occupations and activities: Timber and furniture > Furniture and upholstery
Name authority reference: GB/NNAF/C233053
Collections
  Description Held by Reference Further information
1
c1920-1997: memorandum and articles of association, press cutting books, photographs
Tyne and Wear Archives
See Annual Return 2012

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