Our History

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The history of Sowerbutts House Furnishers Clitheroe dates back to the middle 1800’s.

Building on our history in Clitheroe, Sowerbutts have been selling furniture in three different centuries.

The history of Sowerbutts house furnishers starts with three Sowerbutts brothers, James, William Henry and John who in the middle 1800’s commenced a partnership as ironmongers, tinplate workers, carpenters and cabinet makers, in various addresses in Clitheroe town centre. By 1870 James had bought the title deeds to 3, Moor Lane and was carrying on a business of Cabinet Making and Funeral Director. The brothers partnership was dissolved in 1883, although all three continued to trade independently in Clitheroe thereafter.

History tells us that James’ marriage produced 3 children, John and Susannah and Clara. John joined his father in the family business on Moor Lane and as Susannah never married she developed a boot and shoe shop from the same premises. Clara married Tom Dixon and took no further part in the family businesses.

By the 1920’s the Cabinet and funeral side of the firm required larger premises and moved to part of  Victoria Buildings on10 King Street, an old animal feeds mill, allowing the shoe shop to expand, as by now John had three sons, two of whom joined the furniture and shoe shop. Harry joined his father on King St, whilst Horace went to work for his aunty at the shoe shop in Moor Lane, and continued the business there until his death in the late 1970’s. Interestingly the doorway to 3 Moor Lane still has a mosaic floor depicting the family name, thus preserving a link with history to the nineteenth century home of Sowerbutts house furnishers.

During the Second World War Harry, a married man with 2 children was seconded for essential work in the aero industry, and most of the male staff was away fighting for King and Country, leaving John and his wife to maintain the business. With the return to peacetime the business began to expand again as the workforce increased, and in 1949 Harry’s eldest child Allan joined the business, his younger sister still being at school. After

National Service Allan was instrumental in developing the upholstery and re-upholstery side of the business, now that mass production was beginning to take over from the cabinet making side of the business. Cabinet making and funeral directing ended in the late 1960’s although by then the fitting of carpets and upholstery production had redeployed most of the staff.

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