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Pedder, Richard (1759-1790)

Pedder, Richard

Kendal, Westmorland; upholsterer, mattress maker (fl.1759-1790)

Son of Philip Pedder of Kendal, he became a freeman of Preston, Lancs. in 1782 and returned to Kendal. By this date his father was dead.

In 1759 took an apprentice named Starkie. As well as working on his own behalf, Pedder (and after his death his widow) purchased furniture from Gillow’s from 1762 until the 1790s. During the 1760s Pedder covered dozens of loose seat frames or ‘bottoms’ for the firm including the one illustrated in Stuart (2008) pl. 91, inscribed ‘Gillows’ in pencil on the seat frame. He took delivery of Windsor chairs from Gillows ordered on 6 August 1764 (2 Windsors at 7/- painting ditto green 3/-) and 9 May 1774 (8 Windsors at 6/9 Total £2 14s).  By the early 1770s, if not before, the two firms had made a formal agreement to pay in kind and balance their books annually.

However, an imbalance developed as Pedder's trade increased, mainly because of a high demand for mattresses for export. In three weeks alone in 1771 the Gillow brothers bought £44 worth of mattresses yet Gillows were only able to offer him less than £l worth of chair bottoms to upholster. In January 1773 the firms had their differences over accounts which had not been settled for more than two years. Eventually, after Gillows owed Pedder nearly £30 more in goods than he had spent with them, in September 1774 Richard Pedder requested payment in money. Richard Gillow replied: ‘With regard to our connections in trade we did not expect that you would have called upon us for a remittance but that you would have taken the value out in goods otherwise we should not have exported on our own account so many mattresses as we have done as we ship’d ’em chiefly to encourage our own manufactry & and you said it was a convenient time with you which was another inducement. However we have no objection to allow you 10 % upon about £29 wich we think is the sum you’ve paid us in money more than we’ve paid you since the last agreement provided you take out what we now owe you in furniture or if it will oblige you more shall remit you a bill to make what we’ve paid you equal to what you've paid us since our last agreement’. Gillow’s wanted to clarify the terms of their agreement and continued: ‘...and for the future shou’d be glad to know upon what terms we trade together that whether it will be agreeable to you to take our manufactury for anything we want in your way as usual as we presume that will be eligible plan for both sides... If you are afraid that we shall want more in your way than would be convenient for you to take of us you may in future limit the sum per annum to be traded for...’. As a sweetener Pedder was offered two dozen chairs to be ‘stuffed over the rails’, brass nailed and upholstered in the best hair-cloth, a more lucrative job than upholstering chair bottoms. Eventually Gillow’s suggested that their trade be divided into the ‘chair way’ to be paid in kind and the bedding line to be paid in cash with a discount for prompt payment. Gillow’s, as the larger firm, had the whip hand and Pedder was obliged to comply. When overseas trade slumped because of the American War of Independence, Pedder complained about lack of work, to which Richard Gillow replied in 1781: ‘We have endeavoured to send you all the work in our power and are willing to do it as you are to receive it... the chairs for home markets are chiefly stuffed over the rails, which are out of our power to send to Kendal to be done on account of carriage &c...’.

Sources: DEFM; Bowett, ‘The Jamaica Trade: Gillow and the Use of Mahogany in the Eighteenth Century’, Regional Furniture (1998); Stuart, Gillows of Lancaster and London (2008), II, pp 270-1.



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