Catalogue description Waring and Gillow Ltd, company records

This record is held by City of Westminster Archives Centre

Details of 2233
Reference: 2233
Title: Waring and Gillow Ltd, company records

Company records including accounting and sales records, staff records, company histories and property records

Date: 1807-1986
Related material:

This deposit supplements existing material relating to Gillow of Lancaster, Accession 1344, Accession 735 and Accession 2221. These records also contain Waring and Gillow, financial records (1898-1932), 344/49, 62, 64; Estimate Sketch Books (1898-1905), 344/132, 134, 135, 136, 140; salaries books (1911-1931), 344/81-82; Lancaster order book (1900-1902), 344/88.

Held by: City of Westminster Archives Centre, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Waring and Gillow Ltd, furniture maker and decorators

Gillows of Lancaster, furniture maker

Physical description: 100 Files
Immediate source of acquisition:

Records were donated by Guy Baxter, Archive of Art and Design, 23 Blythe Road, London, W14 0QF, originally forming part of Allied Maples Group archive transferred from the Judges' Lodgings Museum, Lancaster, via Lancashire Record Office.


Please note that Acc 2233/21-23, 59-63 were received with Accession 2221 in March 2000 and Acc 2233/5-19 were originally purchased along with Accession 344 in December 1966.

  • Furniture
Administrative / biographical background:

The firm of Gillows of Lancaster can be traced back to Robert Gillow (1704-72) in 1730, having served an apprenticeship as a joiner. During the 1730's he began to exploit the lucrative West Indies trade exporting mahogany furniture and importing rum and sugar. Following his death in 1772, the business was continued by his two sons, Richard (1734-1811) and Robert (1745-93). In 1764 a London branch of Gillows was established at 176 Oxford Road, now Oxford Street, by Thomas Gillow and William Taylor. The firm rapidly established a reputation for supplying high quality furniture to the richest families in the country.


During the final years of the 19th century the company ran into financial difficulty and from 1897 began a loose financial arrangement with Waring of Liverpool, an arrangement legally ratified by the establishment of Waring and Gillow in 1903. Warings of Liverpool were founded by John Waring, who arrived in the city from Belfast in 1835 and established a wholesale cabinet making business. He was succeeded by his son Samuel James Waring who rapidly expanded the business during the 1880's, furnishing hotels and public buildings throughout Europe. He also founded Waring-White Building Company which built the Liverpool Corn Exchange, Selfridge's department store and the Ritz Hotel.


Gillows had established a reputation for the outfitting of luxury yachts and liners, including the Royal Yacht "Victoria and Albert", liners "Lusitania", "Heliopolis" and "Cairo", RMS "Queen Mary" (1934) and "Queen Elizabeth" (1946) for Cunard. During the First World War the Lancaster factory was turned over to war production, making ammunition chests for the Navy and propellers for De Havilland DH9 aircraft and during World War Two produced parts for gliders and the Mosquito aircraft, while kit-bags, tents and camouflage nets were made by the upholstery department. However, the business of the firm began to decline and the Lancaster workshops closed on 31 March 1962. In 1980 Waring and Gillow joined with the cabinet making firm Maple & Co, to become Maple, Waring and Gillow, subsequently part of Allied Maples Group Ltd, which includes Allied Carpets.

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