Timeline – Berry’s Chairworks

1519
1858
1864
1866
1870
1871
1871, 15th February
1881
1881
1881
1887
1890
1891
August, 1899
23rd August, 1902
1902, 13th September
1920s
1920
January, 1923
1923

1519

Chairmaking, cotton spinning and weaving were domestic activities in Chipping.

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1858

John Berry married and listed occupation as carpenter, couple moved to Chipping. Many carpenters and chairmakers in village – could learn trade?  (Crainer, 1984)

1864

Berry, J, chairmaker entered in Kelly’s directory as resident of Whalley (The English Regional Chair, B Cotton)

1866

Berry, J, chairmaker entered in Mannex directory as resident of Chipping (The English Regional Chair, B Cotton). Henry James born, family living Grove Row (possibly decline in circumstances – move from The Folly) – but John worked at disused chapel at the Bottoms. Chairmaking competition tough (Crainer, 1984) Henry James born

1870

Berrys had probably “started” at Kirk MiIl

1871

Building work is noted. The next owner of Kirk Mill was Thomas Marsland.  He converted the warehouse and stables to cottages and built an additional length of cottages (above Grove House).  That made “Grove Square”.  All were tiny cottages with only one entrance.  Always ruinous and unoccupied as I remember. (Muriel, Chipping Hist. Soc.) (Crainer, 1984)

1871, 15th February

A Sad Circular Saw Accident at Chipping: On Friday morning, a shocking accident occurred to Mr. John Berry, chair manufacturer, Chipping, which had resulted in the loss of his left arm. It appears that mr Berry has recently fitted a circular saw in one of the rooms of Mr Tweedie’s foundry at Saunder Rake, the motion power being a large water-wheel. About half past 10 on the morning named, the unfortunate man was cross cutting a log of timber when by some means, his foot slipped and in falling forward, his left arm came in contact with the revolving saw, almost severing the limb above the the wrist and lacerating the arm in a frightful manner. Medical aid was at once procured and Dr Pratchett, having despatched a messenger for Dr Moore of Preston, amputation just below the elbow was performed, not before, however, the sufferer had lost a great quantity of blood. After the operation, the patient seemed very weak and considerable fears are entertained for his recovery. – quoted in Riding Smyth, 1996, p.52

1881

Date from when Berrys “owned” Kirk Mill. Looks like they were in charge of a small workforce there by 1881

We think individual chairmakers, previously working at home or at other local water power sites set themselves up in Kirk Mill under Marsland’s ownership.   (we have some suspects and the first John Berry, father of HJ was probably one of them) The excellent power source would be an attraction. – (Muriel, Chipping Hist. Soc.); For the first time, the mill was being used for chairmaking, with James Parkinson and John Robinson working from the Old Mill in competition with each other. The mill also housed George Hodkinson who was now a brush stock maker and James Bond who used part of it as a small brass foundry. (Crainer, 1984)

Mid 19th Century – The Berry family have a tradition they set up first at “Saunder Rake”  having been earlier at a turning mill lower down the brook south of the village.  It is possible they used the empty Saunder Rake mill, but that building was soon taken over for a foundry (some evidence it was changing as early as 1865) (Muriel, Chipping Hist. Soc.)

1881

1881 Census

Some of the Berrys were at Kirk House . So then Berrys bought it with a mortgage partner initially.  (Muriel, Chipping Hist. Soc.)

1881

John’s daughter, Martha Jane married John Seed – also a chairmaker. Worked together (at Tweedy’s?) (Crainer, 1984)

1887

Berry, J, chairmaker entered in Slater’s directory as resident of Chipping (The English Regional Chair, B Cotton)

1890

By now, chairmaking out of the house and into competitive factory-based business. John Berry emerging as man to adapt to the change. Moved into Kirk House. Henry James now in charge (Crainer, 1984)

1891

Berry, J, chairmaker entered in Kelly’s directory as resident of Chipping (The English Regional Chair, B Cotton)

August, 1899

John Berry died, August

23rd August, 1902

Kirk Mill up for sale by auction, advertised Preston Guardian. Bought by HJ

1902, 13th September

Sale of Kirk Mill to HJ Berry: CHIPPING PROPERTY ON THE MARKET: Messrs JB Jones & Son offered for sale by auction in the Commercial Sale Rooms, Preston, this afternoon, Kirk Mill Factory, Chipping – to which is attached a large reservoir and powerful waterwheel – together with three cottages, shop and dwelling house, large stone-fronted dwelling house, farmhouse, outbuildings, warehouses, grounds, gardens and land, containing altogether about 17a 2r 16p or thereabouts. There was a good attendance and aftr spirited bidding the property was knocked down for £2,355. Messrs Buck and Dicksons of Preston were the solicitors for the vendor. – Preston Guardian

1920s

Company first known as HJ Berry & Sons. First telephone installed, with number of Chipping 6 – (Crainer, 1984)

1920

By now, 20 workers at Berry’s. 55 hour week: 6-17 (Crainer, 1984)

January, 1923

John Berry, son of HJ awarded war medals by Lord Derby (Crainer, 1984)

1923

Wheel started generating electricity to power mill – Aspin, Crainer

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