Chester, Cheshire; cabinet maker (fl. 1765–89)
Free 18 February 1765 after serving as an apprentice to the cabinet maker, Philip Prestbury of Chester.
By 1771 Cooke had set up in business in Eastgate Street. He bound four apprentices [apprenticeship and freedom rolls]:
- Edward Williams (from 1775)
- John Formstone (free 1784)
- Thomas Latchford (free 1784)
- James Gardner (free 1790)
The business continued at the Eastgate Street address until March 1782 when John Cooke announced that his shop had been disposed of to a person in a different line of trade necessitating the sale of his stock. This was disposed of in a three day sale at ‘The Mitre’ in Eastgate Street. The stock to be auctioned without reserve consisted of ‘Mahogany Wardrobes, Desks and Book-cases with Glass & Inlaid Doors; double chests with and without Desk-drawers; Mahogany Bureaus and Chests-of-drawers; neat inlaid commode Side-boards; Cisterns upon frames with brass hoops and handles; Mahogany Dining Tables in sets, with round and square ends; Single ditto; Card Tables, lined and plain; Tea Tables and Kitchen Stands; Ladies’ Toilets; Gardevines of different sizes, with white square bottles; Neat inlaid Caddies and Tea-chests; Mahogany Knife-cases; Fire-Screens of different sorts; Bason-stands; Mahogany and japanned Tea-trays; Gentlemen's shaving-tables; Mahogany Night-tables and Chairs; Large Exercise Chairs, in Mahogany Frames and Springs; Tent, Camp and Settee Bedsteads with check furniture; Large easy Chairs; a large quantity of Mahogany Chairs with strip'd and plain bottoms; ditto Sofas; all kinds of Pier and Dressing Glasses, in oval and square frames; Clocks in Mahogany Cases; and a compleat Electrical Machine’ [Chester Chronicle, 8 March 1782].
In October 1782 a further sale was held at Cooke's timber yard at the upper end of Werburgh Lane, where he also appears to have had a ‘ware room’. Apart from mahogany in planks and veneers he had supplies of oak, elm and cherry wood. Other items offered included ‘Bed-posts and Coffin Boards’ and ‘several Benches and Working tops’. A quantity of finished furniture was included in the sale, presumably the residue of the March auctions [Chester Chronicle, 4 October 1782].
Despite these sales Cooke did not retire from the trade but continued to carry on his business from his house in St John's Street. He was already back in business in 1782 and continued for a further seven years. He also retained his yard and workshop in Werburgh Lane.
In September 1789 the sale of his household furniture and goods ‘consisting of every useful article essential for a large house’ was announced, together with the yard and workshop [Chester Chronicle, 25 September 1789].
Source: DEFM; originally written by Brian Austin