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Waring, J S (1850-1900)

Waring, J S

Liverpool & Oxford Street, London; furniture makers & retailers (fl.1850-1900)

The Waring family originated in Norway and emigrated to Ireland at the beginning of the 19th century where they became successful linen manufacturers in Belfast. John Waring or his son, Samuel James Waring, opened a branch in Liverpool in 1835 and became wholesale cabinet makers.

Samuel James Waring rapidly expanded the business during the 1880s, furnishing hotels and public buildings throughout Europe. He also founded Waring-White Building Company which built the Liverpool Corn Exchange, Selfridge's department store and the Ritz Hotel and from 1898 also furnished the Carlton Hotel salons. In 1893 S. J. Waring’s son, Samuel Waring junior, moved to London and established the Waring business in Oxford Street. In 1900 as Waring and Gillows (a loose association from 1897), the company exhibited at the Paris Exhibition, furnishing the Pavilion of the British Commission in Elizabethan style (illus. Meyer (2006), p. 304) as well a main display in Les Invalides. This included a bedroom suite of satinwood in the Sheraton revival style, a bed in oak inlaid with ebony and a Jacobean-style dining room suite. At this time Warings had their workshops and showrooms in Lancaster, Liverpool and Manchester, and a branch in Paris. 

The partnership of Waring and Gillow was legally ratified in 1903, with a capital of £1 million, and at the same time they took over Hamptons house furnishers and estate agents. In 1906 they opened the huge Waring & Gillow emporium in Oxford Street which remained their headquarters for the next 65 years. New initiatives followed, including the interior decoration show in 1930 of Frank Brangwyn designed furniture, carpets, pottery, light fittings and textiles. After the collapse of the firm in 1931 and the appointment of a receiver, a new company, Waring and Gillow (1932) was formed. The Liverpool factory was closed and the Lancaster factory concentrated on its most marketable products and reproductions of antique furniture. The company reached a low ebb again in 1953, at which time it was taken over by Great Universal Stores and broken up. Waring & Gillow won control of Maples in 1980 and following more unprofitable years, 1988 saw the purchase by Allied Carpets of 48 of the 87 Gillow-owned stores and nine related properties together with the sole rights to the trading and brand names of Gillow, Maples and Waring & Gillow.

Sources: Aslin, ‘Changing Taste and Influences, English Design 1900-1940’, The Bulletin of the Decorative Arts Society 1890-1940 (1977); Collard, ‘The Regency Revival’, The Decorative Arts Society 1850 to the Present  (1984); Barty-King, Maples Fine Furnishers, A Household Name for 150 Years (1992).