Victorian era at Needle Rock – reminisce with times gone by at Needle Rock…

This week’s post, Victorian era at Needle Rock, is inspired by a photograph recently shared on our Llanrhystud Community Forum Facebook page.  The photo shows a gathering of ladies and gentlemen from the Victorian era, sat on the beach along Pengarreg. This is where ‘Needle Rock’ got its name!  

Victorian ladies and gentleman on the coastline where Needle Rock got its name.

This photograph is believed to be from the 1880’s, dated by the clothes and the straw boater hats worn by the men.  At the end of the beach the cave is clearly visible, along with the large outcrop of rock at the end known locally as ‘Carreg ti puw’ or ‘The Stack’. 

The ‘Gulls Needle’ from which Needle Rock got its name must be further along this stretch of coastline.   As the rock itself has long gone, we’ll probably never know the exact location. 

Gulls' Needle, Llanrhystyd, Cardiganshire C.1900
Gulls’ Needle, Llanrhystyd, ca 1900.

A large proportion of work undertaken in the Needle Rock workshop is on chairs and sofas from the late nineteenth Century, through the Victorian and Edwardian eras.   We never know what’s coming in the door next at Needle Rock – and as we remove layer by layer of the previous upholstery, these long-lived pieces of furniture certainly have stories to tell.  

Here’s a few photos from recent activity in the workshop:

Childs ‘Twtty’ Chair

This beautiful child’s chair arrived at the door this week; such an old little chair – at least 100 years old, maybe even 150 years old!   It has raised a smile on everyone’s face who has had the pleasure of seeing it this week. 

It is the smallest functional chair we have ever had the delight to work with – Ali photographed it with her basket so you can get an idea of size as it really is ‘twtty’.  

The ‘twtty’ chair on arrival at the workshop; on the bench to get the upholstery removed; new wood portions as it was rotten with woodworm.

Gordon has spent many hours this weekend carefully removing the side rails which were riddled with woodworm.  We try and keep as much original wood as possible, but sometimes old portions can not be saved.   

So, to move this chair into its next chapter, three rails have been replaced.  This chair will now be thoroughly cleaned, using our special hand-made “restoring elixir”, and waxed to bring the woodwork back to life.   Then the upholstery rebuild will begin, a new seat using traditional materials including horsehair, and finished with a real leather top covering.  It will soon be ready for the next generation to love and enjoy, as no doubt many little people have already done so. 😊

Victorian Tub Chair

Recently, we’ve also worked on this Victorian tub chair.  This chair was broken – the front rail on the frame had snapped, along with a break in its back.  A castor was missing, and the other castors were no longer round – some portions had become quite square.   

Chair in state of disrepair; new coil-sprung seat; broken front rail.

The chair owner had a very clear idea of what she wanted this chair to look like – she took quite a while until she found just the right fabric – a fabulous hand-printed ‘Wren’ linen from St Jude’s Fabrics in Cornwall.   

Once the structural woodwork had been repaired, the rebuild on the seat began, using coil springs and traditional materials and methods.   We bought new castors and distressed them a little to make them look old; re-using the original castor cuffs. Due to the curved nature of the inside back of the chair, buttons are often used to keep the fabric taught across the back.  The customer didn’t want any buttons, so a few small stitches were required to pull in the fabric.  Why add frills when the chair is perfect as it is?  We hope you love it as much as we do. 

The finished chair – restored to its full potential and beautiful once again!

Here’s what the customer had to say: The stitching is excellent – mostly invisible. This was a very old chair. Framework, springs, castors … everything about it needed attention. Now it is transformed: Ali has turned it into a throne’.

Check out our shop page…

for your very own piece of Victorian furniture at our online shop.

Do you have…

a piece of vintage furniture that needs ‘brought back to life’ then get in touch for a quote and hopefully you too will have something wonderful to show off!

A nursing chair is a chair that’s comfortable when nursing an infant. In Victorian times the nursing chair was a low seated partially upholstered chair. Nursing included caring for children as well as breastfeeding. The low seat of the chair allowed the mother, who would have been wearing a stiff corset, to interact with small children without bending over. This chair form was particularly popular in England and found primarily in upper class homes. Nursing Chair. The types of wood most frequently used were oak, rosewood or walnut. The seat was often sprung and could be button decorated or adorned with a circumferential braid or pair of braids. The chair legs were frequently of a cabriole style or a straight-legged spindle design. Needle Rock upholstery repair refurbish new vintage period piece.

Contact Dr Ali Wright: [email protected] 07534 216297

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