The antiques scene in Lancashire is synonymous with the name of Gillow, Robert Gillow. Robert Gillow was a Lancastrian cabinet maker who lived in the Eighteenth century and crafted fine antique cabinets and other antique furniture that survives today as original Lancashire antiques.
Gillow was born in Singleton, in Lancashire in 1704 and he founded the Lancashire furniture company ‘Gillows’, which was based in Lancaster. It is believed that Gillow moved from Singleton to Lancaster so that he could be near his imprisoned father, who was incarcerated in Lancaster Castle.
Gillow’s antique furniture was mostly from imported West Indian mahogany. It is believed that he first encountered West Indian mahogany when he worked as a carpenter on a ship which travelled to the West Indies There Gillow decided to bring some of the wood back to the UK so that he could use it to make cabinets; antique cabinets that are now highly prized.
Over the years Gillow began to import a great deal of West Indian mahogany to Lancashire, and often exported some of his furniture back in return. His work is considered to be some of the finest examples of antique furniture ever made.
Gillows expanded when Robert Gillow was joined in his furniture company by his three sons.
Gillows didn’t just hand craft some of today’s finest antique furniture in Lancashire ; it is also believed that they were responsible for the creation of the billiard table.
Their work was so exalted that they made custom furniture for some of the most important people in the world including presidents and Queen Victoria herself; Victorian dining tables and Victorian dining chairs are still popular today.
Gillows was eventually closed down in 1961 after being taken over, which only further ensured that their antique furniture became even more valuable.