Posted by: kbenoy | September 19, 2012

Phillips and Jones

This week we have a guest blog post by Frank Lockley one of our volunteers about his research on the Furniture Manufacturers and Retailers Phillips & Jones.

My latest contribution to the Taking Account of our Past project has been to research the company of Phillips & Jones who were furniture retailers in Wolverhampton, located in Darlington Street.

The only documents from the company in the collection are two ledgers, one of which still needs a lot of conservation work.

The earliest reference to the company that I could initially find was in the 1897-98 Wolverhampton Red Book directory where a rather elaborate advert for them describes them as “Designers and Manufacturers of High Class Furniture” as well as being “artistic upholsterers, carpet warehousemen, decorators and furnishing soft goods in French Tapestries, silks and cretonnes”. At this time they are located at 37 Queen Square and Cheapside.

Advert from Wolverhampton Red Book 1897

Their 1914 Wolverhampton Red Book advert further describes them as cabinet makers and highlights their workshop in Temple Street (that is heated by hot water!).

Advert from the Wolverhampton Red Book 1914

A number of photographs of Queen Square form the early 1900’s in the Archives online catalogue show the shop premises, usually identified by the window awnings.

Phillips and Jones Shop in Queen Square
Note the Tram on the left with the Phillips and Jones Advert
P/5103

The one available ledger, that covers the period 1949 – 1966, provided a number of clues to put together a history of the company, the most important of which concerned the death of Mr. A.E. Chard, the managing director, in 1952.

His obituary in the Express & Star revealed that Albert Edward Chard was a partner with the late Mr. C.J. Phillips and had previously been with the company of Sidneys & Sons of Queen Square.

Searching the 1911 census I found a Mr. Charles John Phillips living in Tettenhall Road, occupation “Home Furnisher” and born in Bridgnorth. Tracing him back through census records I found him working as a furniture salesman in London in 1891 and as auctioneer and furniture shopkeeper at the same Wolverhampton address in 1901.

Further research suggested a possible death in 1948 that was confirmed by his obituary in the Express & Star of 10th March 1948. This describes how Charles John Phillips along with Mr. W.E. Jones purchased the home furnishing company of Sidneys & Sons and established Philips & Jones in Queen Square around 50 years previously. Both Messrs Phillips and Jones had previously been with the famous London furniture maker and retailer Schoolbreds. The obituary also states that the company moved from Queen Square to Darlington Street about 14 years previously.

Queen Square in 1910 with Phillips and Jones shop (with the awnings) the Electric Cinema and National Provincial Bank
P/4934

The ledger appears to suggest that the company was originally based in showrooms at number 28 Darlington Street till 1948, then moving to number 80. The company occupied the same premises in Darlington Street until the mid 1970’s when they appear to have closed.

The one major remaining piece of the jigsaw was to try and identify Mr. W.E. Jones.

Another random check on the online catalogue unearthed a reference from 1898 to “Charles John Phillips and Walter Ernest Jones T/A Phillips & Jones”.

Searching through census and birth, marriage and death records identified Walter Ernest Jones as being born in Liverpool but brought up in Bridgnorth after his father died and his mother remarried. 1901 sees Walter living in Wolverhampton with wife Kate (having married in Kingston Surrey in 1893) and two young children. However the final piece in this jigsaw is the early death at 39 of Walter in Barnstaple, Devon in 1906.

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Responses

  1. Thank you for this blog. I have a beautiful piece of theirs, a large Armoir. I mean big, 3 door center is a mirror with decorotive panels in all 3 door, with 2 drawers behind one door and one big drawer behind the double doors. All with wall sliding hangers and rod. I was trying to find out more about it. Do the ledgers describe the pieces? I was wondering when mine was created.

    • Hello David,
      Unfortunately, the records we hold for Phillips and Jones relate to the running of the business and do not give details of individual pieces of furniture. I would recommend contacting a furniture restorer such as http://www.timothybrownfurniture.co.uk, who could probably date your piece with a photo. I am not aware that any records of their furniture production have survived.
      Kind regards
      Kimberley

  2. Congratulations on your research. We have a fine rosewood dining set bought from Phillips and Jones expensively in the 1960’s. It closely resembles Archie Shine designs. Is it possible the company retailed this maker’s furniture?
    Brian Cook


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