Liveryman Cherrill Scheer FCSD FRSA FInstSMM has been awarded the inaugural Stanley Wharton Award for her exemplary services to the UK furnishing industry by The Furniture Makers’ Company, the City of London livery company and charity for the furnishing industry.

The award is a new prize that lauds and celebrates the contribution a member has made to the sector with the awardee chosen by the incumbent Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company. It is named after the Company’s first Master, Stanley Wharton, a director of Maples, who led the then Furniture Makers’ Guild from 1952 to 1954.

Cherrill, who has been a member for nearly 20 years, was selected to receive the prize by Immediate Past Master Dids Macdonald OBE in 2020, but due to the pandemic had been unable to be formally presented with the award in the past livery year.

David Woodward, Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, presented Cherrill with the award during a special lunch at Furniture Makers’ Hall, London on Tuesday 27 July 2021.

Dids Macdonald OBE, Immediate Past Master, said: “Our first Master, Maples director Stanley Wharton and other leading pioneers of their day were the architects of what is now a progressive livery that, nearly seven decades later, represents all that is excellent about the UK furniture and furnishings industry.

“Leading lights need to be recognised and Cherrill Scheer’s contribution, over many decades, as the doyenne of the office furniture world, selling 40 million units of the Hille Polypropylene chair, the iconic 1963 classic, is seismic. Hille – 75 years of British Furniture was published for the V&A exhibition in 1981 and, because of Cherrill’s forward-thinking global design strategy, has achieved a significant international reach. Her tireless support of the Design Guild Mark has helped it to become recognised as one of the very highest standards in the design of furnishings for volume production today.

“Her work and motivation around the publication of a book commissioned by Lesley Jackson and launched at the V&A to commemorate Modern British Furniture since 1945 cannot go without acknowledgement. The publication has subsequently inspired thousands of school children who have received the book.

“Cherrill is quite remarkable and richly deserves the Stanley Wharton Award in recognition of her extraordinary career.”

Cherrill Scheer said: “I feel overwhelmed to see my peers recognise my contribution to The Furniture Makers’ Company. My drive has always been to encourage good design, design education and innovation within the furniture and furnishings industry.

 “I was born into a family of furniture manufacturers who received many awards for design and their great contribution to the industry. Since joining the Hille Group, much of my professional life has been spent encouraging young designers and promoting the furniture industry and design education. I am delighted to have been able to pursue these aims with the success of the Design Guild Mark and the production of the book, with the V&A, on ‘Modern British Furniture since 1945’.”


Notes for editors

Cherrill Scheer biography

Cherrill Scheer was trained as an architect at Kingston School of Art and the Architectural Association, but decided to join the family business, Hille Group of Companies. As marketing director, she was instrumental in promoting their products Worldwide, including the iconic Robin Day Polypropylene chairs, of which over 40 million have sold in forty overseas countries.

She worked with many designers to develop and market their products and her student design competition resulted in Fred Scott becoming another Hille designer. His work included that of the ‘Supporto’ chair. In 1981 Cherrill organised the ‘Hille-75 years of British Furniture’ exhibition at the V&A museum.

Cherrill’s strong belief in good design has attracted many organisations, young people and students to seek her advice. Cherrill Scheer & Associates was formed in 1991 to enable her more time to focus on these aims, whilst advising companies in the industry. It also enables her to explore other areas that would benefit her aims. Her varied career has led to her organising a trade mission, for the DTI, to the USA; Design Renaissance, an international design conference for 1,000 delegates in Glasgow; a National Furniture Forum for the WCFM. She was also the congress organiser for Scottish Arts Council arts building conference and helped to set up the ‘Design Guild Marks’ for The Furniture Makers’ Company. For many years she kept in close contact with design schools to create a flow of ideas between manufacturers, colleges and students.

Cherrill holds fellowships from the Chartered Society of designers, and the Royal Society of Arts, as well as an honorary fellowship from the Arts University Bournemouth. She has also received a Mixology Life Achievement award. She has been a Chairman of the Design & Industries Association, a Governor of London Metropolitan University, and Liveryman of The Furniture Makers’ Company.

About The Furniture Makers’ Company

The Furniture Makers’ Company is the City of London livery company and charity for the furnishing industry. It fosters the industry by supporting those in need, nurturing skills and expertise and inspiring excellence. It provides support and assistance to those in need who are working or have worked in the UK furnishing industry. It supports students and young people with grants, training and mentoring in order to foster talent and safeguard the future of the industry. It encourages the highest standards and best practice in the design, making, marketing and selling of all kinds of furniture and furnishings throughout the UK, recognising quality through the award of its Guild Marks and Awards.

For further information, contact George Cooper, or 020 7562 8522.

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