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Hull, Edward; Doveston, Bird and Hull; Doveston, Davey, Hull & Company (1840-1905)

Hull, Edward; Doveston, Bird and Hull; Doveston, Davey, Hull & Company

Manchester; cabinet makers and upholsterers (fl.1840-1905)

Doveston, Bird and Hull were successors to George Doveston at 106 King Street, Manchester, some time after 1840. The firm was not listed under this name in the Manchester directories but Edward Hull was noted at 106 King Street with works at Sackville Street and Brook Street in Slater’s Manchester Directory, 1877.

Doveston, Bird & Hull employed Bruce Talbert as a designer c.1863-1867. In 1870, James Forsyth commissioned Bruce Talbert to design a cabinet which was made by Edward Hull’s firm and they also built furniture to the designs of Alfred Waterhouse (1830-1905) prior to 1864. They supplied chairs, a dining table, a sofa and a serving table to Manchester Town Hall 1876-77 (illus. Aslin (1962), pls. 77, 80, 86, 87 & 88).

On 2 July 1880 they were incorporated as Doveston, Davey, Hull and Company Limited. Under an agreement dated 14 May 1881 between William and Franck Davey, Isobel Annie Hull and Herbert Kidson, it ‘acquired the goodwill, books and drawings of the business of cabinet-makers and upholsterers lately carried on by Mr Edward Hull, deceased, and now in the possession of Mrs Isobel Hull, and of the premises situate at no. 96 Albert Square…Manchester…’. 

The firm produced a finely carved pitch pine chimneypiece with peacock blue tiles to designs of R. E. Holding, seen below [The Furniture Gazette, 3 September 1881]. They participated in the Manchester Industrial & Fine Art Exhibitionat St James’ Hall in October 1882. Their stand was fitted up as a reception room and a bedroom, displaying a pair of carved candelabra, a large rosewood cabinet, various chairs in Chippendale style, a pair of small rosewood cabinets, a large brass bedstead, a mahogany wardrobe [The Furniture Gazette, 30 September & 4 November 1882].

Illustration in Furniture Gazette
    The Furniture Gazette, 4 November 1882, p. 306

They also exhibited at the Manchester Jubilee Exhibition [The Furniture Gazette, 1 June 1887]. The British Architect, 6 May 1887, described Doveston's stand as divided in four parts.  The hall with dark oak furniture and ceiling in coloured mica paper; a dining room of 'pure Sheraton & Chippendale design' with 'furniture in rich Spanish mahogany and coverings of buff morocco, the buffet being an especially nice piece of work with curved front and oval mirror in the back', one bedroom of French Renaissance character with a 'trace of Italian study and an elaborate second bedroom.    

Doveston, Davey, Hull & Co. Ltd was recorded as cabinet makers etc. at 96 Albert Square, Manchester in the 1886 Furniture Gazette: Classified List of the Furniture, Upholstery, and Allied Trades. However, the company did not follow the success of earlier years and it was wound up voluntarily because ‘by reason of its liabilities it could not continue in business’. The return of the final meeting was rendered on 1 November 1899. The undertaking was acquired by Doveston, Wilson and Company Limited, incorporated at 125 Deansgate on 13 April 1899. On 25 June 1901 this company was also voluntarily wound up on 21 December 1905. 

Sources: Aslin, 19th Century English Furniture (1962); Agius, British Furniture 1880-1915 (1978); Terry, ‘A Manchester Furniture Maker’, Furniture History (1970); MacDonald, ‘Gothic Forms Applied to Furniture: The early Work of Bruce James Talbert’, Furniture History (1987); Gere & Whiteway, Nineteenth-Century Design. From Pugin to Mackintosh (1993); Microulis, ‘Gillow and Company's Furniture for a Liverpool Maecenas: John Grant Morris of Allerton Priory’, Furniture History (2005).