Barlow Tyrie is approaching 100 years since starting as a specialist manufacturer of Teakwood outdoor furniture. We are known and respected in developed markets worldwide having progressed from humble beginnings in East London to be the oldest remaining manufacturer of this very traditional English product.
This is our story.
Victor Tyrie joined the Royal Marines as a drummer boy in 1912, aged 14 years. This studio photograph was taken just before he deployed to the Western Front in 1917. Victor was eventually invalided from the service in 1919 following the loss of his left thumb, still clearly evident here.
In 1919 following service in the First World War, Victor Tyrie and Frederick Barlow were employed by The Castles Shipbreaking Company on a government subsidized training scheme making outdoor furniture from Teak, which was sourced from the breaking of old timber ships, the foundation of the teak outdoor furniture industry. This employment ceased when the subsidy finished after one year. Further interesting information is available on the Castles Shipbreaking website, in particular chapter 8.
In 1920 Victor and Frederick together with a few others started their own business in London, initially in Walthamstow and shortly afterwards moving to a small horse stable no longer required behind a terrace of Victorian houses in Leytonstone.
In the early years our outdoor furniture was made almost entirely by hand with the only machine being a saw-bench we made ourselves from an electric motor, steel shaft, bearings and with a wooden table. Production, including planing the teak and cutting the mortice and tenon joints was all performed using hand tools and it took the most efficient worker at least a full day to make one teak seat.
The business prospered based on a quickly earned reputation for quality and value. The following pages from our catalogue in the 1920s shows the Rothesay and London design seats that we still make today. The retail prices shown evidences the inflation since that time of more than 200 times.