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F 56-1

Collection

FUR

Brief description

Dining chair with a stained oak, birch ply, birch and ash frame and drop-in seat upholstered in light brown rexine, model 3A from the 'Chiltern' range of the Utility Furniture Scheme, marked on the seat 'CC41 255', manufactured by Moss Partners (London) Ltd., Enfield, c.1943-1948.

Title

3A
Chiltern

Object name

dining chair

Object number

F 56-1

Production person

Edwin Clinch (designer)
Herbert Cutler (designer)

Production organisation

Moss Partners (London) Ltd (manufacturer)

Production date

October 1942 (designed)
1943-1948 (manufactured)

Production place

England (designed)
Enfield (manufactured)

Period

Twentieth century (1900-1999)

Material

rexine
oak
birch
plywood
ash

Technique

joined
upholstered
stained

Physical description

This Utility dining chair has a stained oak frame, with a birch ply seat and birch and ash seat rails, and a drop-in seat covered with brown rexine. It has four legs, of square cross-section, braced front to back on each side and once from side to side. The frame of the backrest is curved at the top and has three vertical splats within it. The underside of the drop-in seat is stamped with a Utility mark 'CC41 255'.

Dimensions

Height: 80cm
Width: 46cm
Depth: 50cm

Website keywords

seating
dining furniture

Object history note

This chair was previously catalogued as having a stained oak frame; following its examination in 2009 by Adam Bowett, independent furniture historian, the description has been updated to an oak frame, with a birch ply seat and birch and ash seat rails.

This dining chair is model 3A from the Utility Furniture Scheme. The scheme was devised by the Board of Trade in 1941 as a way to modify furniture production during the war and in the immediate post-war period in order to cope with timber shortages and massive loss resulting from bomb damage. The first designs for the scheme were selected by the Utility Furniture Advisory Committee. They were by two High Wycombe furniture makers, Edwin Clinch and Herbert Cutler. They then designed the whole range which went into production in 1943. The range remained unchanged until 1946 when some new designs were added. In 1948 ‘Freedom of Design’ introduced which allowed manufacturers to design their own products provided they adhered to strict guidelines imposed by the UFAC. The scheme came to an end in 1951.

Comments

Adam Bowett, independent furniture historian, examined this object on 8 June 2009. He noted that this chair has an oak frame and seat. F 56-1 has a birch ply seat and birch and ash seat rails, and F 56-2 has a birch ply seat with beech and oak seat rails.

Label

Caption for Exploring 20th Century London website:
This chair was made in Enfield by the firm Moss Partner (London) Ltd under the rules of he Utility Furniture Scheme. This scheme governed furniture manufacture during and immediately following the Second World War. It meant that furniture could only be made using a small set of designs approved by the government so that quality and price could be guaranteed. Many people lost their homes and possessions in the Blitz so demand for new furniture was high. Most of the raw materials available had to go towards the war effort so furniture had to be carefully designed to use as little wood as possible. It also had to be easy to make because many skilled furniture makers were fighting in the war or working in munitions factories so unskilled workers were enlisted to make it.
 
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