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Visitors sit comfortably at the National Trust’s Gunby Hall

December 17 2019

Furniture-making students at Newark College have added the finishing touches to eight Regency-style chairs they have crafted for the National Trust.

The unique commission is for Gunby Hall near Skegness, where visitors who are not permitted to sit on the property's regency dining chairs, will now be able to use the period replicas. 

The learners have utilised hand-tool carpentry skills, machine work and traditional upholstery to create the high-quality chairs, which are designed to be more durable than the originals. 

Wendy Jackson, the Senior House Steward at Gunby Hall and Gardens is very happy with the finished product. She said: “The chairs the students have produced are inspired by the dining chairs we have at Gunby, although these wouldn’t have had 45,000 people sitting on them annually. The new chairs are going to stand the test of time and I think the students have done a really good job. 

“Each time I’ve visited the College it’s been great to see the designs and ideas the students have for their own projects too.” 

Furniture-Making student, Jakub Wojcik, who worked on the project said: “I have used tools I haven’t used before and it’s been a great experience for my future career. 

“Lots of people will be sitting on the chairs, looking at them and acknowledging our work, which is quite over-whelming”. 

Fellow student Richard Hadley said: “It’s satisfying to have worked on this commission for a well-known organisation. I have learned skills that will help me to develop the chairs I am making for my own project.” 

The chairs will be positioned throughout the house and visitor spaces from the start of the new season on the 1st March 2020. 

This is the second commission the College have completed for the National Trust’s Gunby Hall. It follows the Curiosity Cabinet the learners made for the Estate in 2016, which provides a hands-on experience to reveal the stories of the historic house. 

Newark college is one of only a handful of establishments that offers furniture-making courses in the UK. Find out more about this course here.

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