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High chair

High chair

  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (made)

  • Date:

    1942-1952 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Varnished beech and pine wood

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs J C Frost

  • Museum number:

    B.86-1993

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This chair is the Utility version of a very similar high chair made in the 1930s. The original design was calculated to appeal to the buyer with traditional rather than modernist tastes. Its relatively simple lines and proportions and plain appearance all made it a good candidate for continued production under the UK government's Utility scheme, which was introduced in 1942 to achieve efficient use of materials (such as wood) in short supply during World War Two. Utility designs aimed at combining economy of production with effective design.

Physical description

High chair of varnished beech and pine wood. The chair has a beech frame, with a horizontal cresting rail; stick back; dowelling stretchers; and squared uprights, arms and splayed legs. The seat and the horizontal board of the tray (which is pivoted on screws and fastens with a curved wire at the sides) and the baseboard are of stained and varnished pine. The adjustable footrest is of varnished beech, mounted on a metal rod, and has a notched back peg which clips on to the top front stretcher. The legs are hinged halfway down at the front, so the high chair can be folded out and up into a table and chair (with the tray folded back). The underside of the baseboard becomes the table, and has six painted wooden beads (in red, white, blue, yellow, green and orange respectively) mounted on a metal rod in a beech frame at the back edge.

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (made)

Date

1942-1952 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Varnished beech and pine wood

Marks and inscriptions

"Utility" mark CC 41

MH 163
probably maker's identification

Object history note

Bought 2nd-hand by the donor and her husband, and used by their children Christopher John (b.04/01/1956), Stephen Michael (b.26/12/1957), Penelope Jane (b.30/03/1960) and William James (b.09/05/1967), as well as by the children's cousin David Roberts and other child visitors. (Register Packet holds photographic prints of Christopher & David in the chair). The donor states in her letter "In 1956 we were hard pressed financially. We had just built our own bungalow and there was no money for furniture. My husband was an architect with the local authority. Our home, therefore, was furnished with relatives (sic) unwanted items and things we bought through the small ads. in the local paper. The furniture for the children was all purchased that way. We paid £1 for the cot and bought a mattress, £6 for the pram and £1 for the high chair. A couple of years later we bought the rocking horse (Victorian) for 50 shillings ! I have no recollection of the house from which the high chair came except that it was somewhere in Gloucester...As with the cot and the rocking horse and our family cradle, I had kept the high chair for potential grand children (sic). However though sturdy and well made it is difficult to keep clean. Once chewed up food is well and truly rubbed into the wood, the only way to clean it is to take it outside and scrub it! My daughters in law prefer hygienic plastic."

Descriptive line

Baby's high chair of beech and pine woods; made in the UK under the Utility Scheme, 1942-52

Production Note

Made under the UK Government's Utility Scheme

Attribution note: Based on a 1930s design with a more detailed finish, e.g curved cresting rail, turned uprights, as in an example held at Tenterden Railway Station (preserved steam railway).

Materials

Beech; Pine

Categories

Children & Childhood; Furniture

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Museum of Childhood

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