Mr Waring & Mr Gillow – Malcolm Dungworth – 21st September 2015.

Malcolm Dungworth is a retired Company Director who has been totally involved in logist­ics for the whole of his work­ing life and is embroiled in the motor industry. At the present time he is chair­man of the ‘Bamford and District History Group’ and also runs a web­site with Mark Denton, called ‘Vehicles Duty Of Care.’

Malcolm star­ted his career at Leyland Motors in Lancashire and then moved to the John Peters (Furnishing Stores) Limited, Sheffield in November 1970. He had met the Company Secretary of the Group who explained to Malcolm that they had a very large fleet of vehicles which were his respons­ib­il­ity at the time; and whilst he might be a good Company Secretary he knew noth­ing about vehicles and the legis­la­tion cov­er­ing the use of the vehicles. In short, the John Peters Group required some­body on the board that could take over the respons­ib­il­ity of the fleet, and the Company Secretary con­vinced the board that Malcolm Dungworth ticked all the boxes. Malcolm worked there for over 30 years.

John Peters (Furnishing Stores) Ltd was a private lim­ited com­pany and at its head was Manny Cussins who was also Chairman of Leeds United foot­ball club between 1972 and 1983 and Chairman of Waring & Gillow Ltd., an inter­na­tional trad­ing com­pany.

Malcolm is very inter­ested in his­tory and delved back to the begin­ning of the Gillow Company of Lancaster which is said to have been star­ted in1695, although accord­ing to Wikipedia it was foun­ded in 1730 by Robert Gillow who was born in 1704. In his early career Robert Gillow was a ships car­penter who sailed to the West Indies where he became very inter­ested in mahogany. When he set up Gillow of Lancaster he star­ted making luxury fur­niture which he sold to the wealth­i­est houses in the land. His son, Richard Gillow, who was the archi­tect for the Customs House, Lancaster, joined the firm in 1757, and is cred­ited for the design of the tele­scopic dining table.

The firm expan­ded rap­idly, export­ing fur­niture to the West Indies and import­ing rum and sugar together with mahogany. Towards the end of the 19th Century the com­pany ran into fin­an­cial dif­fi­culty and in 1897 began a loose fin­an­cial arrange­ment with Waring of Liverpool, which was rat­i­fied in 1903 by the form­a­tion of Waring and Gillow.

Samuel James Waring was the grand­son of John Waring, a cab­inet from Belfast, who had arrived in Liverpool in 1835 and estab­lished a whole­sale cab­inet making busi­ness in Liverpool. In 1897 Samuel Waring set up a branch of the family busi­ness S. J. Waring and Sons in London and in 1897 was respons­ible for the merger with Gillow to become Waring & Gillow, of which he became chair­man.

The com­pany expan­ded rap­idly and during World War I, apart from making fur­niture, they made tents and air­craft, employ­ing a lot of women, because the men were away fight­ing the war. As the com­pany expan­ded its fleet of wagons and lor­ries had to keep pace. The horse drawn wagons were replaced by steam lor­ries, and also petrol and diesel ones. At one stage they pur­chased an elec­tric truck but this only lasted a short while.

In World War II the com­pany made parts for gliders and the uphol­stery depart­ment made tents and kit bags etc. Again the com­pany went into decline and the Lancaster work­shops closed in 1962. About this time Manny Cussins joined the board bring­ing along his com­pany, John Peters (Furnishings) Ltd., and in 1980 Waring & Gillow joined with the ailing cab­inet making firm of Maple & Co., to become Maple, Waring & Gillow. According to Malcolm this was a bit of a dis­aster because, it greatly increased the turnover but not the profits. However this intro­duced car­pets to the busi­ness and they set up a cent­ral dis­tri­bu­tion ware­house at Tinsley, which ser­viced all the stores through­out the UK.

In the late 1980s Manny Cussins announced to Malcolm Dungworth, after a board meet­ing, that he had sold the busi­ness to its present owners, but that he would be alright because they still required a dir­ector respons­ible for trans­port. Whilst the present owners did an excel­lent job at refur­bish­ing the stores, life there had changed ser­i­ously, so Malcolm left to do some con­sultancy work and then worked for Sheffield Insulations Ltd., for a fur­ther 10 years until his retire­ment.