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My great-grandfather, John Harper, was the manager of Chamberlain, King and Jones [ie. Census 1901] and lived next door or on the premises with his 7 children and extended family. We still have some of their furniture. It was quite a large and prestigious business. Members of the family, and probably the firm too, were responsible for some of the carving at the Birmingham Law Courts.
I would have thought from the practical standpoint, cabinet making and upholstery skills would be an essential requirement in building vehicles of that genre. Wood was a major component in coach building being phased out in the 1950/60s; before we started travelling faster and crash testing became imperative. We still bow to it in our luxury cars today with either plastic or genuine wood veneers.
Sorry not to have been more help but will watch out for any more news on the CKJ front!
Will try to track down a photo of the work force.
I have no information about the company, but just thought I'd add one for the workforce: Charles DeMain, son of Robert (a cabinet maker), worked as a french polisher all his life, and is listed on the 1911 census aged 74, working at Chamberlain, Kings & Jones.
I realise that it is sometime since you left this message but I have only just seen it. My great-grandfather was also John Harper, who my Mother always said managed Chamberlain, King & Jones. She also said her father, my grandfather, had done some of the carvings at the Birmingham Law Courts. I would be interested in any photographs but also to chat more about the family.
In post #5 it is mentioned that William John Taylor is a director of Chamberlain, King and Jones in 1904.
I have found an article about W J Taylor (assuming it is the same man) becoming a director there in 1900. It says Messrs. W J Taylor and Co. had carried on a business for 28 years in the adjoining premises and the two businesses had been amalgamated - allowing Chamberlain, King and Jones to secure the valuable lease of a building Messrs. W J Taylor was having erected by the City Arcade Co., on the corner of Union Street and Union Passage.
Birmingham Daily Post, Friday 30th March 1900.
harpers - I don't know if this is any help to you in establishing if your relative was involved in the carvings but there is an article describing the Victoria Courts in the Birmingham Daily Post, Wednesday, 22nd July 1891 (the day after the courts opened).
The internal wood carvings were done by Mr. H. Martyn of Cheltenham.
The furniture was specially executed by Messrs. Chamberlain, King and Jones, from designs by the architect.
It is a very long article so I have just posted the relevant section.
New to this forum and came across this thread via a google search. I was looking for info on this office chair which I aquired many years ago from the Bluebird factory at Hunnington. Thought these pictures may be of interest and maybe someone can give me an idea of its age? I am not a native of the midlands and was born and bred in Huntingdonshire but, that doesnt stop me being interested in this site. No idea why the pics are side view they are vertical on my pc.
Gosh this is an old thread! I have just joined.
My grandfather (who was an apprentice with the Austin Motor company) bought a house content from Chamberlain King and Jones in 1915 - I have a copy of the hand written bill to £380 8shilling 3 pence.