Thursday, 17 January 2013

Thinking about where reclaimed parquet comes from...

I recently read a very interesting article by Paul Gibson on the history of timber yards in and around Hull docks, and I had no idea there were so many! I was researching the name of a couple of timber merchants: Calder, stamped on the back of some parquet blocks we had reclaimed from an ex-commercial premises in Leicester, and the other from a school in Birmingham, J.A. Hewetson & Co. Ltd., which lead me to the article.

The timber stamped with J.A. Hewetson came from Hull, and that is where I came to find the fascinating article about the size and scale of Hull docks. Quite incredible sizes of lumber shipped from all over the world and ending up being cut into wood block flooring in Hull! J.A. Hewetson was operating in the latter half of the 19th century, and into the first half of the 20th century, so for over a hundred years it cut down timber into all shapes and sizes for the domestic market.

Hull Dockyard c 1950
 The wood type stamped with Calder is Coral Wood, a very beautiful African hardwood, mainly from West and Central Africa; and seemingly it was processed in Boston, having been shipped into the docks also ‘in the trunk’. Calder continues today, importing and processing timber, still through the port of Boston.

This is what is so exciting about reclaimed parquet and what it represents: the variety, the history and at times, the rarity of wood types which are available. It is wonderful quality, but for such a reasonable cost.

If you want to read the very interesting history of Hull's timber and docks follow this link:

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