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Apropos this chair ...
by Bob Adamthwaite
This chair was probably made in High Wycombe which was an important centre for the making of furniture. High Wycombe is directly west of London on the Oxford Road which is the main arterial road out the Paddington area of London from where my branch of family originated around 1800.
The Chair was purchased circa 1930 for 7/6d (37.5p) by Charles Frederick Adamthwaite, my grandfather, who lived at 66 Greyhound Road, Kensal Rise. There he lived with his wife Florence (Woodroffe) and family, the eldest of whom was my father who was named after his dad as the first born son. They lived on the first floor of a terraced house which was a typical “one up and one down” dwelling found all over London. No bathrooms were provided and the toilet was in the back yard and was shared by the all the occupants of the house. The front door was also shared.
Charles senior worked at Old Oak Common Sheds where he was a Crane Driver working on GWR steam engines. He started as a labourer, not a nice job when you consider that they had to work in confined places like the fire boxes of these engines to clear out all the cinders and dust to allow maintenance work to be done.
He used to sit in his Dancer type chair in front of the kitchen range and he teased his children and grand-children unmercifully much to his own amusement and not always to theirs.
One day he decided to paint the chair, and possibly as green paint was readily available at work being the GWR livery colour of the steam engine, the Chair sported a new colour which my Uncle Steve Kelly described as Apple Green.
Granddad died in 1942 at the age of 56 from TB - possibly accelerated by damage done to his lungs from the dirty work he had done for years. At this time my family were living in Hillingdon and my father Charles Frederick Adamthwaite Jr. inherited the chair which according to Uncle Steve was transported to our house at 80 Sutton Court Road on a greengrocer’s horse and cart. No doubt other items came with it on the ten mile journey from Kensal Rise.
Some time later my father decided to strip the green paint from the chair and brought it back to the natural wood finish it has to this day.
The Chair was positioned just inside the living room door at no. 80 and I have a clear memory of my eldest sister Doreen sitting in the chair having just come back from the local pub with my parents where she had just been introduced to the benefits of gin and tonic. She and my sister Jean had a fit of the giggles which ended up with Doreen bursting into tears. A normal result when getting tipsy on Gin for the first time.
The Chair remained at Sutton Court Road until my mother and father moved to Norfolk around 1974 to a place called Stratton Strawless. Later on when my sister Janet moved to Vernon House, Norwich Road, Ditchingham near Bungay my parents moved in with her and her husband Maurice. There The Chair remained until on a visit I noticed that it was missing and was told that it had been put in the loft during a re-organisation. I asked my father if I could have it and he agreed so it was threaded into the back seat my car and taken to our home to 32 Tudor Way, Waltham Abbey, Essex.
There it remained until my mother in law became infirm and I suggested that the chair would be a help to her as it was firm and high had strong arms. It was therefore moved on loan to her house at 7 Cotswold Close, Uxbridge, Middlesex.
The Chair was taken with us when we moved to Shepherdswell in Kent where we lived for 29 years and is now in daily use at our home in Cannock Wood, Staffs.