Chesterfield Furniture From Manchester: What’s In A Name?
Contrary to the name, very little of what we now call Chesterfield furniture is actually made in the vicinity of Chesterfield. Rather, the bulk of this line of home furnishings that includes items ranging from the traditional tufted, button-back leather sofa to the more over-stuffed, leather and fabric sectionals, are made instead in Manchester and the surrounding areas. So, why don’t we call it “Manchester furniture” instead of referring to it as “Chesterfield Furniture from Manchester”? To understand why, we need to look at the line’s history.
It did begin in Chesterfield. At least, the first piece to bear the name Chesterfield was contracted and built for a nobleman from Chesterfield a few hundred years ago. The elegantly styled, buttoned front leather davenport quickly gained popularity and, as was usual in those times, traveling cabinetmakers and upholsterers spread the style abroad throughout the area. Soon, the style was very much en vogue among the upper classes. As the British Empire grew, the style spread into the colonies and remains popular in many once British-ruled realms today. It remained an upscale style of furnishing until the latter part of the twentieth century. Then we started to see manufacturing techniques become efficient enough to lower the cost of production to the point where everyday folks could afford to buy quality Chesterfield furniture from Manchester and all sorts of other places.
Today, what we think of as a traditional British-style of furnishing is being made all over the world. Still, most would agree that some of the best looking and highest quality pieces of Chesterfield furniture are made no farther from their birthplace than the Manchester area of England, assuring you that any piece from the line you buy here meets the same strident criteria for quality that has, over the centuries, become synonymous with the name.