Lakeland Fireplaces and Lighting was established in 1993 by Gordon Fairclough to bring a decade of experience in fireplaces, stoves, period interiors, historic properties and architectural antiques to the English Lake District.

Gordon

Owner & Founder

Gordon started dealing in antique fireplaces at the age of 19 when he bought an art gallery in Southport and reopened it as an antique fireplace showroom, whilst studying for a Law degree.

After graduating and completing the Legal Practice Course (Solicitor’s examination) he continued to build his business, buying premises on Kendal high street where he has specialised in fireplaces and wood-burning stoves for over 30 years, qualifying through the HETAS and Wood-fired renewable energy courses.

Having been awarded a distinction in his post-graduate studies in Architectural History at the University of Oxford, he was offered supervision for a doctorate at Lincoln College, Oxford through the Faculty of History where is currently writing his DPhil thesis on the social, cultural and architectural history of country houses in Cumbria.

Gordon is an active member of OxCAN (Oxford Climate Alumni Network) and represents Oxford University Alumni Network as Group Contact for Latvia.

Inese

Customer Services Manager

Inese graduated from Daugavpils University, Latvia with a Bachelor ‘s degree in Education specialising in teaching Music. She has a special interest in choral music.

A mum to 2 active boys, Inese is involved with a music group and choir in her spare time, and enjoys volunteering roles in local youth groups.

Ksenia

Interior Design and Showroom Assistant 

Ksenia graduated in Arts at Kendal College, then joined an ongoing Bachelor’s degree programme in Graphic Design at Coventry University.

She has a special interest in digital art illustration.

Ksenia also has a passion for Interiors, History of Art and Lakeland landscapes and enjoys fell walking in her leisure time.

Now the area’s longest-established fireplace and stove retailer, the business has assisted private clients, charities and businesses with numerous historic property restoration projects from cottages and farmhouses to stately homes and castles.

Working both independently and through the region’s leading architectural, conservation, and interior design practices to provide expert guidance in selecting and sourcing appropriate fixtures and fittings for period properties. Whether they be original marble chimneypieces and antique chandeliers or cast iron fireplaces and kitchen ranges.

The business combines Gordon’s interests as an academic, antiques collector and entrepreneur.  A fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (Scotland), he is currently reading for a doctorate in History at Lincoln College, University of Oxford, where he is researching the architectural and cultural history of the Lake District’s country houses, having achieved a distinction at both MA in Antiques and at postgraduate studies at Oxford in Architectural History.

His academic interests include the furniture of Gillows of Lancaster and the work of the architect-mason firm Websters of Kendal which built and remodelled numerous country houses in the region and manufactured marble chimneypieces for houses throughout North-West England during the Georgian period. His written work focuses on the region’s Georgian country houses, vernacular buildings and regional fireplace production, with two publications due in 2021.

From the late 18th century Kendal became an important regional centre of marble and stone chimneypiece production, establishing a reputation for fashionable design, fine materials and high-quality workmanship which resulted in royal commissions from George IV for the supply of marble chimney-pieces for the Great Hall at Windsor Castle and from the Tsar of Russia for the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.  

Lakeland Fireplaces and Stoves usually has a limited number of original examples of Kendal’s historic marble chimneypieces available from stock and display a selection of accurate facsimile copies of 18th and 19th century marble and stone fireplaces in our showrooms. Please contact us for further details.

Our high-street showrooms in Kendal also display a wide range of period, antique-reproduction and contemporary-design fireplaces and multi-fuel stoves to suit homes of any age. In addition to our design service we arrange for the installation of the fireplaces and stoves that we supply, together with chimney relining, by HETAS registered engineers. We also provide a chimney-engineering design service for new factory-made metal chimney systems for properties without an existing chimney, to architects and property owners.

We have been widely involved in the re-instatement of fireplaces and stoves in the county’s flood-damaged homes and businesses over the last decade, and are available for consultation on flood refurbishment to insurance companies and project-managing contractors.

Gordon Fairclough is currently available for consultation to private clients, architects and conservation bodies, by appointment, on a wide range of matters relating to the interiors and architectural history of the region’s country houses and sensitive restoration of Georgian properties. Please email [email protected] or contact our showroom on Kendal high street for further details of consultations.

View Gordon’s LinkedIn profile at:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/gordon-fairclough-82174543

Kendal, Cumbria

From the late 18th century Kendal became an important centre of regional marble and stone chimneypiece production, establishing a reputation for fashionable design, fine materials and high-quality workmanship which resulted in royal commissions from George IV for the supply of marble chimneypieces for the Great Hall at Windsor Castle and from the Tsar of Russia, for the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.

The architect-mason firm of Websters of Kendal made the most significant contribution in this field, being the first to utilise water power to polish local limestone into a ‘semi-marble’ using revolutionary machinery installed on the banks of the river Kent at their Helsington works, near Kendal in 1797. This enabled masons to cut and polish the hard limestone quarried at Kendal and the surrounding area for the first time on a commercial basis.

During the 18th century, European marbles were favoured for polite chimneypieces. These included Carrara, Sienna and Bardiglio marbles which were imported from Tuscany, Italy via the port of Livorno into Liverpool and from there on to Milnthorpe, (Westmorland’s only port). Access to these marbles was disrupted during the Napoleonic Wars and the use of British semi-marbles was promoted as a patriotic alternative and soon became fashionable for chimneypieces. This trend had initially been established, from the third quarter of the 18th century, following its use by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire for the interior at Chatsworth, Derbyshire.

Webster’s first-recorded semi-marble chimneypiece was supplied to the Strickland family for the parlour at Sizergh Castle, Helsington in c.1798. It was cut from red and white semi-marble, utilising a seam of this unusually-coloured limestone discovered on the banks of the river Kent in Helsington on the Sizergh estate.

A decade later Webster worked as the executant architect for the Liverpool architect Joseph Gandy on the remodelling at Storrs Hall, Windermere from 1808,  where he met the influential designer George Bullock who kept showrooms in Liverpool and London. Bullock employed bold, stylised Greek Revival motifs in his designs and was renowned for his work on chimneypieces, fire grates and furniture.  He was a great proponent of the patriotic use of British semi-marbles, working a quarry on Anglesey which produced a green serpentine marble. His influence is apparent in Webster’s subsequent designs for marble chimneypieces.

In the early 19th century, the Greek Revival style of architecture was widely favoured in the region by members of newly-emerging commercial elites including numerous overseas merchants, manufacturers and bankers. Local examples include Storrs Hall remodelled for an Ulverston-born Liverpool overseas merchant, and Helm Lodge, Kendal built for a Kendal banking family. Websters produced fine chimneypieces for the mansions of the region over the first three decades of the 19th century, many in the Greek Revival style, some of which occasionally become available through our showrooms for use in regional country house restoration projects.

Websters were one of a number of Kendal-based firms who took advantage of demand for British semi-marble during a boom in regional country-house building and remodelling in the early 19th century. Following the cessation of the Napoleonic wars and the resumption of marble imports from Europe, Websters’ chimneypiece showroom displayed examples of their work in a wide range of European and British marbles, attracting gentry from as far away as the Newcastle region, their visits facilitated by improved stagecoach on upgraded turnpike roads.

Their prominent showrooms and works were strategically located next to Webster’s Bridge, Kendal at the head of the newly-opened section of the Lancaster canal, enabling Websters to economically access marble that had been imported into Northwest ports and to export finished chimneypieces to a wider area. The opening of the Kendal section of the canal in 1819 resulted in further expansion of the area’s fireplace production. By 1830 thousands of chimneypieces were exported each year via the canal system to satisfy increased demand resulting from the Northwest region’s building boom which saw the rapid growth of towns including Liverpool and Manchester.

By the mid-19th century Kendal’s chimneypiece production declined as the fashion for marble and stone chimneypieces wained and increasing industrialisation of fireplace manufacture brought about the widespread use of mass-produced, standard-sized fireplaces including Welsh slate fire surrounds, cast iron fireplaces and wooden fire surrounds.

 

Resources

Further reading:

Bingham, R. Kendal; A Social History (Milnthorpe, 1995)

Earle, P.  The Earles of Liverpool: a Georgian Merchant Dynasty (Liverpool, 2015).

Fairclough, G.D. The Development of Ashton House, Beetham in the Long-eighteenth Century (University of Oxford, 2015)

Parissien, S. The Georgian Group Book of the Georgian House (London, 1995)

Parissien, S. Fireplaces: A Brief Guide to Georgian Fireplaces (London, 1997)

Parissien, S. Interiors: The Home since 1700 (London, 2009)

Taylor, A. (Martin, J. ed.) The Websters of Kendal: A North-Western Architectural Dynasty (Kendal, CWAAS, 2004)

Wainwright, C. (ed.) George Bullock : Cabinet Maker (London, 1988)

Useful websites:

Copyright 2017 : Gordon Fairclough KLJ, FSA (Scot), LLB, MA, Pg.Cert. (Oxford)