This amazing chest was made by a Sheffield pattern maker, Ernest Warrington, when he was just 18 years old. The book traces Ernest’s family history, explains the trade of pattern making and its context in Sheffield, and tells the story of how the chest passed down the family.
The chest still contains a good proportion of the kit of tools used by its pattern maker owners and these tools are discussed and their makers identified.
The chest itself is discussed and drawings of the chest are included in the book. The marquetry is examined in detail and the techniques used are explained. The book is copiously illustrated with more than 100 colour illustrations, plus black and white illustrations, maps and drawings.
The following was written in November, 2016 by the owner of The Warrington Chest in the UK who obtained it through an auction.
“2 years 9 months and 43 days ago (I’m good with numbers) I was lucky enough to be the winning bidder on this remarkable tool chest and on the day of its arrival at my home I decided to open the chest (for the very first time) with one hand whilst holding
a video camera in the other; very nearly a big mistake because what I saw almost made me drop the camera! The sunlight coming through my living room window was shining directly on the gorgeous marquetry work of the inside of the lid and the tills revealing all the colours of the veneer work in all of their beauty. I felt like I’d just opened a treasure chest!
I’d bought what proved to be a unique piece of workmanship, and furthermore, it contained a time capsule of tradesman’s tools from Victorian times. This is the story of what has come to be known as “The Warrington Chest” and the people behind it… I love it!
The tool chest was made by Ernest Warrington a young 18-year-old Sheffield foundry patternmaker in 1888. The chest was placed in storage in 1955 but was now being sold complete with all of the original maker’s tools and realising its historical importance I managed to beg and borrow enough money to buy it – auction lots of chests and tools are often bought by someone who breaks them up to sell on eBay, and I was determined that this remarkably important find was not going to suffer the same fate.
Because of the obvious historical importance of the chest and the Warrington family tools within (think Seaton chest but 19th rather than 18th century) it seemed essential to me that everything should be recorded in a book. I contacted my friend, Andy Tuckwell, a fellow TATHS member, and antique woodworking tools enthusiast, and over the next few months, we were able to gather together a wonderful team of co-authors and contributors, and together after many hundreds of hours of painstaking research we finally came up with the book and it’s now been published by the Trades & Tools Historical Society.
The list of co-authors and contributors below reads like a who’s who in the list of woodworking and antique tools enthusiasts, and all of them did it just for the love.
My thanks and gratitude go to Andy Tuckwell, Hugh Thompson (research and writing) Nick White (technical drawings) Jack Metcalfe (marquetry work) Simon Barley (Sheffields 19th-century industrial history) Jane Rees (editor), and Derek Jones (proofreading).“