Do you have any memories of Hugh Birkett to share?
I am planning to write a paper about Hugh Birkett who lived in the Lapworth area. He was born in Solihull in 1919. He moved with his parents to live in the Lapworth at some time, possibly the late 1920s or early 1930s, at a house called Grey Gables on Chessetts Wood Road. Here he set up his own furniture making studio in the late 1940s where he worked until well into the 1960s.
What was so remarkable about Hugh Birkett was that in Lapworth, we had a truly remarkable craftsman and designer who produced furniture influenced by the Arts & Crafts Movement. His items of furniture, both large and small, were produced as individual commissions and also for the local churches at Baddesley Clinton and Lapworth to satisfy some interesting furnishing needs in an ecclesiastical setting.
I am currently working on indentifying all the furnishings (usually in light oak) made by Hugh Birkett for our two local churches. I also understand that he made a number of pieces such as chairs, tables and cabinets produced as commissions for people both in Lapworth and further afield.
I would be really interested to track down any memories people may have of Hugh Birkett. He was a ‘quiet man’ and as such someone who liked to get on with his designs with a minimum of fuss or ceremony. Anything at all about Hugh Birkett or about where he lived would be of great interest.
Equally it would be very useful to indentify any commissions, either locally or elsewhere, known to anyone who knew Hugh Birkett personally, or who may have some knowledge of his work through the trade in fine furniture.
By the 1970s, Hugh Birkett had moved to the Cotswolds were he carried on his work for many years. He died in 2002 and was buried alongside his parents at Lapworth Church. My aim with the research paper is to put together information about his work and when completed to archive copies with the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and with the Cheltenham Museum & Art Gallery.
So if you, or someone you know, could help track down the ‘Hugh Birkett story’, please get in touch with me either by telephone or email. Needless to say, I would like to be able to share some of the findings of this research with readers of the Lapworth Parish Magazine in a future edition!
Contact Peter Hill by telephone on 01564782218 or email firstname.lastname@example.org