It is not widely known that during the 19th century the town of Darvel was a centre for country chair making. Little evidence can be found of this industry other than the chairs themselves. There are no monuments, factories or even folk-memory. Apart from David Jones nothing has been written of them. However these chairs were well made, robust and comfortable.

Click to view a map of Darvel from 1826.

The number of chairs made over the years is open to conjecture, but a recent survey shows nearly one hundred chairs still remain. Many have been destroyed in the intervening years. However it is not unreasonable to guess that several hundred were made. The community supported the makers and the chairs were bought by all stratas of society, from mill owners to farmers, often in pairs.

Those that remain are jealously guarded family heirlooms. They have been traced to Massachusetts, Canada and New Zealand.

This site will tell you about them.

If you have a chair or know of one I would be pleased to hear from you.


This project was carried
out as a Millennium Award through the Millennium Forest for Scotland Trust

Thanks also to:
Dr D Jones,
Dr B D Cotton,
D Clough.
J Mair.
The National Trust
for Scotland,

The staff of The Dick Institute: Kilmarnock.

D Lowe,
B Nisbet.

A warm thanks to all of the chair owners who permitted me to measure their chairs.

© M8 Graphic Design as