Waring & Gillow

Waring & Gillow a noted firm of English furniture makers, was formed by the merging of the famous Gillow of Lancaster and Waring of Liverpool in 1897.

Gillow’s of Lancaster were highly successful furniture manufacturers and retailers throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, but running into financial difficulties in last years of the 19th century, they formed a loose arrangement with Waring which was formalised in 1903 with the formation of Waring and Gillow.

John Waring established Waring’s of Liverpool as a wholesale cabinet making business after arriving from Belfast in 1835. He was succeeded by his son Samuel James Waring the business expanded rapidly throughout the 19th century supplying furnishing to hotels and public buildings across Europe. He also established the Waring White Building Company that built the Liverpool Corn Exchange, Selfridges department store and the Ritz Hotel. His son, another Samuel James Waring (1860-1940) continued the family firm and became Baron Waring in 1922.

Gillows had developed a reputation for fitting out luxury liners and yachts including the royal yacht Victoria and Albert and Cunard’s luxury liners the Queen Mary in 1936 and the Queen Elizabeth in 1940.

Gillows’ Lancaster site was turned over to large-scale munitions manufacture during the First World War making ammunition chests for the Royal Navy, propellers for De Havilland DH9 aircraft as well as establishing a large tent-manufacturing operation that employed 8,000 workers. They also made trench covers, ammunition belts for machine guns, nosebags for horses and gas masks.

During the Second World War, they again produced parts for the Mosquito aircraft and gliders, whilst their upholstery department produced tents, camouflage nets and kit-bags.

Unfortunately the firm went into decline and the Lancaster workshops had to be closed in 1962. They merged with the cabinet makers Maple & Co in 1980 to form Maple, Waring and Gillow and then became part of the Allied Maples Group Ltd which also includes Allied Carpets.

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