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Blain, Arbuthnot; Blain, A. & Son (1835-1883)

Blain, Arbuthnot; Blain, A. & Son

Liverpool, Lancashire; cabinet makers (fl. c. 1835-83)

Five late Regency-style mahogany chairs bearing stamps on rails, are deeply impressed with the maker's name, ‘A. BLAIN, LIVERPOOL’, and faintly, ‘C. CHATHAM’, possibly the firm for which he worked. A mahogany Canterbury, c. 1835, stamped ‘T. & A. BLAIN, LIVERPOOL’, possibly relates to Thomas Blain, who was in partnership with A.T. Blain, 1835–37The A. Blain was Arbuthnot and not as previously thought Arthur.

Arbuthnot, was born in Donegal, Ireland c.1796, and married Laura Jones (a widow, nee Hughes) on 10 July 1839 in Caernavon, Wales at which time his profession was recorded as an upholsterer at 18 Paradise Street, Liverpool; his father, Charles, was a farmer. The 1843 Liverpool directory gives his business address as 35 Paradise Street.

Census records listed Arbuthnot as a cabinet maker and upholsterer, living with Laura in Little Woolton, Prescot, Lancashire (1851) and Arbuthnot as a timber merchant employing nine men and three women, and farmer of fifty acres residing in Wheathill Farm, Roby, Lancashire (1861). By 1861 their eldest son, William Hughes Blain (b. 1842) was working as a cabinet maker. 

Arbuthnot, described as of ‘Liverpool & Roby’ died on 28 June 1868. In 1879, when his younger son, Thomas Hughes Arbuthnot, married for the second time, his father was described as a deceased cabinet maker. It would appear that William continued his father’s business because census records listed him as a cabinet maker living in Huyton with Roby (1871); and a master cabinet manufacturer living in Croft House in the same town (1881). Two of his sons, William A. & Arthur both also followed in the family trade. William Hughes died in 1909.

The business of the cabinet maker, Arbuthnot Blain, was listed at 25 Paradise Street in 1848 [Slater’s Directory] and at 35 Paradise Street as a cabinet maker & upholsterer in 1860 [Gore’s Directory of Liverpool].

A. Blain & Son were listed at 35 Paradise Street & 28 Atherton Street, Liverpool, as cabinet makers in The Furniture Gazette Directory (1877). The Furniture Gazette (22 May 1880) reported that the firm supplied furniture and fittings to ships and hospitals at Cork, Plymouth, Portsmouth & elsewhere and in the same publication on 5 May 1883, announced that Blain was supplying furniture to the ‘Junior’ Headquarters of the new Conservative Club buildings in Dale Street, Liverpool.   

Source: DEFM

The original entry from Dictionary of English Furniture Makers, 1660-1840 can be found at British History Online.