Antique specialist Andrew Brooker-Carey from Droitwich was treated to a walk down memory lane when he was asked to refurbish oak furniture in Kidderminster Town Hall.
Kidderminster-born Andrew spent a day restoring 16 hand-carved chairs crafted by Robert “Mouseman” Thompson, a leading light in the Arts and Craft movement in the early part of the 20th Century.
The set which is in the King Charles Room, carry the artist’s signature mouse, carved into a leg of each of the chairs. The table was manufactured in the late 1920s and bears the town’s crest as well as a mouse.
Kidderminster Town Council purchased the furniture in 1958 for the princely sum of £405, 11 Shillings and one penny.
Andrew, from Star Yard Interiors, said: “The furniture is so beautifully carved and well-made, it really is a great asset for the Town Hall.
“It was an honour to carry out the refurbishment – and working on the restoration brought back many very happy memories of when my family lived in Kidderminster and I would be brought into the town hall.”
Councillor Sally Chambers, Wyre Forest Council’s cabinet member responsible for cultural services, said: “I think it’s fair to say that the council bagged itself a real bargain back in the 1950s.
“The table was second-hand even then and the furniture has been in continual use ever since by members of the council and the public using the King Charles Room. More recently the table and chairs feature in civil wedding ceremonies providing a stately backdrop for the happy couple.
“It is important we play our part in protecting these pieces for future generations and we are delighted with the work that has been carried out.”
Robert (Mouseman) Thompson (7 May 1876 – 8 December 1955) was a British furniture maker. He lived in Kilburn, North Yorkshire, where he set up a business manufacturing oak furniture, which featured a carved mouse on almost every piece.
It is claimed that the mouse motif came about accidentally in 1919 following a conversation about "being as poor as a church mouse", which took place between Thompson and one of his colleagues during the carving of a cornice for a screen. This chance remark led to him carving a mouse and this remained part of his work from this point onwards.