Henry Castle’s son Sidney Nash Castle commenced the manufacture of furniture after opening an additional yard at Longs Wharf, Woolwich in 1872. By 1887 the company was a recognised specialist in the manufacture of garden furniture and in that year furnished the grounds of Buckingham Palace in celebration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. In 1888, by Royal Warrant, Sidney Nash Castle acting for H Castle & Sons was appointed as provider of garden furniture to Her Majesty.
Over the years many specialist projects where undertaken and one in the 1920's relates to the use of Castledene wooden seating specially designed by Castles and supplied to furnish the Centre Court and No. l Court at Wimbledon.
In addition to supplying Royal Parks, Cricket Grounds and Public Schools with seating the Company also specialised in making a wide range of bespoke furniture. Even by 1933 when the supply of wooden ships was drawing to a close the demand for the company's teak furniture made from timber recovered from these ships was steadily increasing.
The garden furniture was named after Men O'War broken up at Castles and the wood from these ships was utilised in the manufacturing process. The list of the famous ships from which Man O'War teak built seats were made was extensive and the names of some of these were the Colossus (1867), Galatea (1883), Albion (1884), Alexandra (1904), Ajax (1904) Apollo (1920), Diana (1920),
Over a period of years the range of products manufactured was increased to include Jacobean furniture, occasional furniture, bespoke items such as specialist chairs and the well known gong and stand presented to the Duke of York (later George V) on his marriage to the Princess May in 1893. The wood for the stand was from the ‘Temeraire’.
A wide range of garden accessories was also made including wicker gates, pergolas, flowerpots and sundials. Many of these articles continue to survive to this day and are frequently identified by metal/plastic plates usually carrying the inscription Castles Shipbreaking Co. Ltd., 160 Upper Grosvenor Road, London. SW l.
Over the past few years many present owners of Castles furniture products including tables, chairs and trolleys in particular have contacted us through this web site and in most cases we have been able to identify the product range concerned and notified them accordingly.
Castles Shipbreaking - Castles History Project
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