Two interesting early 1960s sideboards from CWS .
CWS stands for Co-Op Wholesale Society and for many years they made their own furniture with large factories in Pelaw and Radcliffe . Most of the furniture you’ll see by them is typical 1930s , 40s , 50s and early 1960s in designs that were little different to other large makers up and down the country . It was only in the late 1950s that mid-range and lower range makers started to make pieces that were individual and designed for buyers wanting contemporary style . Some like G Plan and A Younger totally embraced the style whereas others gradually started to add it to their more traditional ranges .
The largest British maker from around 1900 to 1960 was Harris Lebus who mainly made unbranded pieces for the mass market , but occasionally came up with stylish good value modern pieces . CWS generally followed the route of making and selling anonymous standard designs for the working man who were generally conservative in the taste . In the late 1960s Harris Lebus decided to change and modernise their product lines , but they didn’t get the product right and they had to radically reduce in size and sell off valuable land in north London for housing . I’m not sure when CWS closed their factories .
We recently sourced a really stylish CWS teak sideboard with laminate drawers dating to the early 1960s , and then discovered another lovely design which they made in 2 different sizes on chrome and teak cylindrical legs . We don’t as yet know who designed them , but they both have features reminiscent of Gunther Hoffstead’s designs for the go-ahead Uniflex . Neither model turns up for sale very often and must have been too radical and modern for the Co-Ops usual customer .
The one we have is the one in the main photo . The other model we’ve found came in 2 sizes and thanks to Kate at www.arc-furniture.com we have some photos of the shorter version which she currently has for sale .
In our office we have a Danish rosewood bookcase which is on identical chrome and teak legs .
As yet we have no information as regards who may have designed these smart examples of mid-century British design , so let us know if you can help on this .
British designers who liked to use cut-out handles like this include Richard Hornby who is best known for his designs for Fyne Ladye Furniture and Gunther Hoffstead for Uniflex . Further research may hopefully tell us more !