W. Birch and Co
William Birch, furniture maker, of High Wycombe
1840s According to family tradition Birch began chairmaking in the 1840s
1853 First appeared in trade directories.
1883 William son's Walter started his own chairmaking business in Castle Street, after beginning some years before at the back of The Woolpack pub in Oxford Road.
By 1888 Another son, Charles, had started a furniture factory in Queen’s Road and carried on in business until World War One.
1895 Walter took over his father’s firm as Birch and Company with premises in Denmark Street.
1898 The Denmark Street factory was rebuilt according to the latest modern specifications. The factory burned down very soon after it was built, despite being designed to be fire-proof.
By the end of the 1890s, Birch's was supplying furniture for Liberty's and other prestigious London stores
Around 1900 the firm seems to have been one of the first to branch out into making general furniture in addition to chairs alone.
Pioneered the development of Arts and Crafts-influenced furniture locally, and employed well-known designers such as EG Punnett, George Walton (who worked with Mackintosh) and Whitehead
Birch’s opened a second site in Wycombe at Leigh Street
1931-5 The whole business concentrated in Leigh St.
1938 Employed 350.
1950s Made range called Birchcraft
1954 Acquired by E. Gomme
Sources of Information
- Furniture Makers of High Wycombe