Chester; cabinet maker(1765–89)
Free 18 February 1765 after serving as app. under Philip Prestbury of Chester, cm. By 1771 had set up in business in Eastgate St. Took apps named John Formstone and Thomas Latchford (free 1784) and James Gardner (free 1790); also Edward Williams from 1775. The business continued at the Eastgate St address until March 1782 when John Cooke announced that his shop had been disposed of to a person in a different line of trade necessitating the sale of his stock. This was disposed of in a three day sale at ‘The Mitre’ in Eastgate St. The stock to be auctioned without reserve consisted of ‘Mahogany Wardrobes,
Desks and Book-cases with Glass & Inlaid Doors; double chests with and without Desk-drawers; Mahogany Bureaus and Chests-of-drawers; neat inlaid commode Side-boards; Cisterns upon frames with brass hoops and handles; Mahogany Dining Tables in sets, with round and square ends; Single ditto; Card Tables, lined and plain; Tea Tables and Kitchen Stands; Ladies’ Toilets; Gardevines of different sizes, with white square bottles; Neat inlaid Caddies and Tea- chests; Mahogany Knife-cases; Fire-Screens of different sorts; Bason-stands; Mahogany and japanned Tea-trays; Gentlemen's shaving-tables; Mahogany Night-tables and Chairs; Large Exercise Chairs, in Mahogany Frames and Springs; Tent, Camp and Settee Bedsteads with check furniture; Large easy Chairs; a large quantity of Mahogany Chairs with strip'd and plain bottoms; ditto Sofas; all kinds of Pier and Dressing Glasses, in oval and square frames; Clocks in Mahogany Cases; and a compleat Electrical Machine’. In October 1782 a further sale was held at Cooke's timber yard at the upper end of Werburgh Lane, where he also appears to have had a ‘ware room’. Apart from mahogany in planks and veneers he had supplies of oak, elm and cherry wood. Other items offered included ‘ Bed-posts and Coffin Boards’ and ‘several Benches and Working tops’. A quantity of finished furniture was included in the sale, presumably the residue of the March auctions. Despite these sales Cooke did not retire from the trade but continued to carry on his business from his house in St John's St. He was already back in business in 1782 and continued for a further seven years. He also retained his yard and workshop in Werburgh Lane. In September 1789 the sale of his household furniture and goods ‘consisting of every useful article essential for a large house’ was announced, together with the yard and workshop. [D; poll bks; app. bks; freemen rolls; Chester Chronicle, 8 March 1782, 4 October 1782, 25 September 1789] B.A.