Hurrah. After a few weeks away my upholsterer at the amazing Reloved Upholstery in Manchester has come up trumps again. These two gorgeous chairs will be for sale through the Reloved upholstery website shortly. The chairs came from the ATC unit still at Biggin Hill who were disposing of surplus items some years ago. They had been gifted the chairs from the RAF station as it closed. I acquired these chairs and have had them in storage until now. The old destroyed coverings were removed and the internals renewed and replaced like for like where required to keep as much of the chairs original as possible. The frames were all stamped with the AM mark and some a 1944 date. An original example of the chair can be found at the RAF museum reserve collection at Stafford. These chairs have been covered in London Underground coverings and conform to all modern fire standards etc. The frames have been stripped and repolished. Really lovely chairs expertly restored.
I was looking through my photo albums on the ipad today and I came across some pictures I took of the first Air Ministry item of furniture I bought. This was the chair that got me hooked on the history and background of old furniture from the RAF. I purchased this chair and a further 7 just like it from a young lad in Bromley, London who had bought them from the Air Cadets at Biggin Hill. Seeing these on his blog I was a little dubious as to their history as items from Biggin Hill often appear on the interweb which are nothing but fakes or telling porkies about their past. By putting ‘Biggin Hills’ good name to items inflates many an items value. But after some enquiries they turned out to be just what he described them as. From the cadets at Biggin Hill. They had been gifted them by the station when it closed down and in order to make space they subsequently sold them on. Anyway. After getting the chairs home, I set about repairing them. Most of them were far from immaculate and the years had not treated them well. Much of the Vynide coverings on them had been torn, ripped and damaged so I took the decision to strip all but two – which are still ok – to restore them, keeping as much of the original parts as possible. Vynide is no longer made as a covering but I have found a company that still makes the exact material, just not with all the nasty chemicals in. On stripping them down I also came accross the AM marking stamped into the frame. And so began my fascination! All the chairs have this stamping and 1944 date inked on. The chairs were produced by the Scottish Co-operative wholesale society.
I am currently waiting on a re-upholsterer to start work to restore them to their former glory. All the spring bodies are in good order and will be re-used with only fabric coverings and padding etc being replaced. I even kept all the original tacks to hopefully salvage some of them for re-use.
Anyway here are some snaps.q apologies for the scruffy house in the background!