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Burkle, D. & Sons (1881-1992)

Burkle, D. & Sons

London; furniture makers (fl.1881-1992)

Philip David Burkle was an immigrant from Schmiden, near Wurtemberg in South Germany, who arrived in London in 1874. At the time of his arrival he was aged 30 and married with 2 children. By 1881 he had established his own business at 138 Hampstead Road, near the Tottenham Court Road retailers who were probably his first customers.

The Furniture Gazette (1 September 1883) published an advertisement for Burkle’s drawing room, dining room, bedroom and library furniture of ‘first class design and workmanship’.  Further details of Burkle’s work including sideboards, cabinets, bookcases, dinner wagons and bedroom suites, often with marquetry, was described in The Furniture Gazette, 1 March 1886, illus. a renaissance style walnut sideboard.  His products were deemed as of ‘effective design, sound workmanship and superior finish’.   

The Furniture Gazette (1 March 1886) recorded Burkle had over 50 pages of novelty furniture designs and also made up furniture to the special designs of architects and others. He continued to advertise in The Furniture Gazette until at least 1887.

He became a naturalised British citizen in 1884, by which time seven children were noted on the Government certificate. Burkle was recorded as a cabinet maker and art furniture manufacturer at the Hampstead Road address in the Furniture Gazette: Classified List of the Furniture, Upholstery, and Allied Trades (1886). His sons, Charles and Richard, joined the business in 1887, and in 1896 the company employed approximately 100 staff. The impressive, bound catalogue of 1900 illustrated a very wide range of Rococo-style furniture, highly carved and ornamented, which showed the German design influences. It adopted the anglicized ‘D Burkle & Sons Ltd’ in 1907, and the company frequently moved around the Euston area as it expanded until it finally settled in Elthorne Road, Holloway, in 1929. During the First World War the company worked for the Admiralty and the Second World War saw a further period of military production, at which time they employed 150-200 staff. Between the wars Burkle manufactured high quality specialist joinery including panelling and bank fittings, which was sold exclusively through architects and specified retailers. David & Robert Burkle were the fourth generation of the family to run the company and the firm closed in 1992.

Source: Massil, Immigrant Furniture Workers in London 1881-1939 (1997).