Frederick Parker Lectures and Dinner 2024

Add to Calendar 14-03-2023 14-03-2023 Europe/UK Frederick Parker Lectures and Dinner 2024 Furniture Makers' Hall
Furniture Makers' Hall


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The Frederick Parker Collection is a unique and outstanding educational resource spanning over 300 years of British furniture making and design, from 1660 to the present day.  The Collection comprises over 200 chairs, together with an archive of related historical documents and artefacts and became part of the Furniture Makers’ Company in 2013.

We are delighted that we have two exceptional speakers for the Annual Lectures this year:

Joseph Bray – “Sylva Wood School: bridging the gap between education and practice”

Joe leads the Sylva Foundation’s Wood School and describes himself as a designer, maker and teacher. He is passionate about inspiring and supporting people to become skilled craftspeople and furniture makers. He has been directly involved in the furniture industry for the past 25 years.

After completing a BA(Hons) and MA in Furniture Design he worked as a bespoke furniture designer, maker and production coordinator, before returning to educate the next generation of furniture designers and craftspeople at Rycotewood in Oxford. He strives to develop partnerships and collaborations leading to live projects, study trips, work experience, internships and sponsorship for students.

Joe is a Churchill Fellow, in 2018/2019 he travelled to Denmark, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and the USA, to explore the future of furniture craft education. The experience was enlightening, providing the inspiration for the creation of Sylva Foundation’s workshops and development of their unique courses.

His talk will chart the development of a unique approach to teaching furniture making skills, inspired by his 14 years teaching at Rycotewood and his fellowship travels. He will then share his work to establish a programme to improve diversity across the sector

Roger Wates – “E & A Wates – a furnisher in south London 1900-2021”

Roger’s degree was in accountancy and business law at Stirling University but he spent his career in the retail sector. Cutting his teeth with Marks & Spencer in stores around the country he then worked in Peru before joining his family business E & A Wates in 1985 which comprised three stores in South London. In a career that challenged every facet of his character, he became joint MD in 1990 and loved the all-encompassing nature of the work.

Long standing businesses tend to have a wide breadth of services and E & A Wates, which was established in1900, embraced selling furniture, undertaking removals and storage, commercial and domestic furniture restoration and interior design.

Roger balanced the wonderful restoration work with the drive to purchase and create inspiring displays of new furniture. The company was at the heart of the Streatham community with many local clients and ran workshop tours, public talks and shows alongside fascinating commercial projects in London and overseas.

Roger ran his family furnishing business for 36 years until it closed in 2021. He will talk about the origins and growth of the company, his father’s talent, the personalities involved, its building connections, and the influence of war.  Roger will also examine its interesting client base and highlight the skilled work undertaken by the company’s craftspeople.

The lectures will be followed by a sparkling wine reception. We hope you will also wish to stay for the annual dinner (see booking form), which is always a popular and enjoyable occasion and an excellent opportunity to meet other supporters of the Frederick Parker Collection.  Places are limited so please reply as soon as possible using the attached application form.  All proceeds from the evening will go to support the Collection and its development as an educational resource for aspiring furniture designers.

Becoming a Friend of the Frederick Parker Collection costs £70 a year and helps to support the valuable work being done to maintain the collection and make it available to the public.  If you would like to support this valuable resource, please contact Sally Kent for further details.  The annual payment also includes an entry to the Champagne Draw to win a case of Champagne. 

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