Chamberlain King & Jones

I was about 37 years old when a firm was established in Birmingham which became a well respected manufacturer and retailer of high quality furniture.

It looks as if their shop was in Union Street at numbers 25 to 30 and in nearby Union Passage. Their factory was at 97 Kingston Road, close to the main road to Coventry, and they had a “depository” for furniture storage near to Inge Street in Suffolk Street. If you were rich enough to have carpets, they offered a “carpet-beating” service!

They went on to move their shop to 101 Bull Street after the war with Germany in the 1940s. It is most likely that they lost their Union Street premises due to bombing.

Advertisement in Kellys Directory – 1950

Here are two newspaper articles about Chamberlain King and Jones. the first was published in 1891.

This is part of an article describing the Victoria Courts in the Birmingham Daily Post, Wednesday, 22nd July 1891 (the day after the courts opened). It says: The internal wood carvings were done by Mr. H. Martyn of Cheltenham. The furniture was specially executed by Messrs. Chamberlain, King and Jones, from designs by the architect.
It is a very long article this is the relevant section.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

This next article is from the Birmingham Daily Post on Friday 30th March 1900 regarding the annual general meeting of the company.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

It seems that the last reference to the company was in Kelly’s Directory in 1956 – It is probable that they went out of business shortly after then.

This reference was found regarding the company in the Furniture History Archive:

Chamberlain, King & Jones

Birmingham, Warwickshire; cabinet makers, carpet factors, upholsterers, bed & mattress manufacturers, cabinet carvers, gilders, window blind manufacturers and decorators (fl. c.1876-1956)

The firm was listed in The Furniture Gazette Directory, 1876, 1877 & 1886, at Midland House, and 27-30 Union Street & 12 Union Passage with works at Kingston Road, Coventry Road. It was also recorded in Kelly’s Directories from 1878 to 1900 and still trading at different addresses, thereafter and until at least 1956.

It also seems that one of the directors was instrumental in creating the Birmingham & Midland Motor Omnibus Company (BMMO), otherwise known as the Midland Red. This was posted on the Birmingham History Forum blog in 2011:

As of 1883 the partners of the business were Emily Chamberlain, James King and J Alfred Jones.

William John Taylor, who by 1904, was signing himself as a director of the company, was living at 80 Bristol Road, Edgbaston. He was the foremost director in setting up the BMMO company that year.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

An invoice was found for the sale of furniture and other housewares dated the 30th November 1934. As was the rule in those days the receipt was written or stamped across a 2d stamp. By 1934 they had spread their wings into many trades as can be seen from the lists on each side of bill header.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

The company was highly regarded for the quality of its products and here is a photograph of a dining chair on sale in the year 2021.

Chamberlain King and Jones of Birmingham – Inlaid Oak Gothic Arts and Crafts Style Chair

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

But the ghost of Chamberlain King and Jones lives on under the fist floor of one of the houses in Court 15 Inge Street. A floorboard has evidently been made from a repurposed shop sign and was found during renovation of the buildings in 2021.

Chamberlain King and Jones shop sign found amongst the floorboards of Court 15 – December 2021