Recently landed at my house was another stunning little pre-war China officers mess cup. Perfect for that espresso. With a lovely blue and gold guilt border to both the cup and saucer and amazingly detailed RAF crest to both again, this set was produced by George Jones and Sons and Royal Daulton.
After a trip to the RAF Museum Reserve collection some time ago and viewing the catalogue of RAF issued furniture from the 1930s, I managed to stumble upon one of the rarer chairs that were issued early on in RAF history. Here we have a gorgeous folding steamer chair or as the catalogue states, ‘chair arm foldin’ stores code reference 21B/447, the 447 indicating that this is a very early pattern of furniture.
The chair has a weaved backing and vynide seat covering fastened by studs to the frame. The chair is not stamped with the AM logo rather a small WK and crown symbol that is found on other Air Ministry issue equipment including clocks and other furniture.
A lovely piece that is certainly incredibly rare and in great condition. Oh and apologies for the poor pictures. Moving home has meant a decent backdrop is hard to find.
Yesterday I arrived home from work offshore knowing I had been a bad boy with regards to my spending. Today the fruits of my off shift antics became a reality when 3 large parcels arrived at my house. Inside each box was a solitary Small mantle clock. And here they are. This time I managed to get myself on a stunning 1927 EC&W powered clock, a 1939 Elliott and gorgeous 1936 SM&Co clock interestingly also stamped with a Royal Observer corps reference number stamped on the underside. See snaps below.
Well 2016 was certainly a year to forget for so many reasons but here we go with 2017 and hopefully it will be a good one. The last few months I must apologise for being quiet. House moves and buying up clocks and furniture rather took over my time mixed in with a bit of work offshore.
Anyway. My New Years resolution is to progress my site and sell some stock.
One of the first things to arrive at chez Bell is this untouched and well worn 1941 movement and dial from a large dome too mantel clock. The bezel on this clock is the giveaway along with the large dial face. In rough condition this Elliott produced fusee movement will hopefully work up a treat once my clock maker has worked his magic. The dial is in great original condition and the glass, although separate from the bezel I’m sure can be rescued. If anyone has a spare case kicking about, pleeease feel free to get in touch.
Much to my wife’s dismay, not long after we moved a bit further north, the spare room has already become a dumping ground of sorts for the clocks I keep buying. In just a few weeks I’ve aquired another 4 and there’s another on its way. I think I may need help! Here we have a 1939 Elliott operations room clock, a 1936 SM&Co White dial, 1939 Elliot white dial, and 1938 Elliott small mantel clock all in original condition.
Recently I sent a chair to Re-loved in Manchester. With Si, the owner we came up with a plan on how to bring these gorgeous chairs back to life. The original covers and innards were all shot and past their best. Now, I know it may offend some collectors who prefer their items in original condition but to return these chairs to usable condition is far better than letting them linger. The covers were removed and innards removed. Instead of replacing with modern foam we went for traditional techniques which re-loved excel at. With springs and webbing and stuffing as originally intended the chair certainly feels different to modern arm chairs. The covers we replaced with a beautiful contemporary fabric (the name of which eludes me) and conforms to commercial fire safety standards. The frame was left as original as this chair I will be keeping for myself. A really really lovely chair expertly refurbished.
I have 7 more of theses chairs that I will be having re-worked by re-loved . If anyone would like to buy one and choose a covering to suit then feel free to get in touch.
A few weeks ago I handed over the first of my 1944 Air Ministry marked lounge chairs to be reupholstered to Si at Reloved in Manchester. Reloved was amazing Si was very passionate and interested in the chairs so I immediately knew it was the place to send the chairs.
Rather than recover them in a modern version of the green vynide they came with I have opted for some cool modern material. The innards will be traditional and the same as the battered ones that were past it but the covers will be a more modern taste. I have 7 of these chairs so will be keeping a couple and selling the rest.
The chairs originally came from the Air Cadet unit at Biggin Hill Aerodrome who had been gifted them by the station when the RAF pulled out. The cadets disposed of them to make space. After removing the coverings I found the AM stamping and 1944 date . Along with their use at Biggin hill, these chairs have a fascinating history.
A recent trip to the RAF reserve collection also confirmed their use as an anti room chair in an officers mess.
More pictures of the builds will follow.
Slightly ahead of schedule I have just made airministrybybuttons.co.uk LIVE so my first few items are now up for sale. Apologies for any mistakes or difficulties that may be encountered. I am very new to all this interweb stuff so mistakes will happen aplenty I am sure. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the new site.
Follow the link http://www.airministrybybuttons.co.uk
Hurrah, finally an Air Ministry item from close to home. This gorgeous chair popped up on eBay recently and being from nearby to me in Thornton Clevelys, I simply had to have it. The chair is in original condition with its original dark finish and is still very sturdy. There is some wear and tear but what can one expect from a chair produced in 1939 and presumably flung around an RAF base most of its life. It may have even come from a local station such as Squires gate, Weeton or Kirkham.
Stamped in the usual manor underneath with the AM and crown and also the makers name D Haines and date 1939. A lovely chair indeed. Originally given the stores reference 21B/108 this makes the pattern of chair one of the earliest in the RAF inventory.
I picked it up from the amazing Anita at ‘The Emporium’ on George’s lane in Cleveleys. Go check them out. Well worth a visit.
As war progressed in Europe, material shortages were ever present. This like most things translated into changes in the presentation of clocks constructed for the RAF. Elliot’s for example made large mantel clocks from spare mahogany back boxes that were then vanerred in oak. Surplus dials and hands were also used hence the ornate hands of these dome top clocks. This clock I recently purchased is missing it’s glass sadly but is in original condition. The internals of the clock show how the old back box was plugged and old hatches and peg holes were covered over with the vaneer. The rear door is made of unvarnished tiger oak. This clock has a 1941 Elliot movement.