G-Plan - How it started

 

 

We LOVE G-Plan furniture. We get excited every time we see a piece on buying trips. The designs are stylish and fit well into our lives even now (we have many pieces in our home). If you are anything like us and love a bit of history, have a read below on how G-Plan started.

 

  • In 1880 Ebenezer Gomme moved to High Wycombe from Oxfordshire. The family moved to Totteridge Road where it's believed Ebenezer set up his first chair work shop.
  • In 1898 Ebenezer began a partnership for his furniture business E. Gomme Ltd with his brother in law Jim Pierce. At this stage they were making chairs by hand.
  • A factory was built in 1909 on Leigh Street, High Wycombe. The company was known for its innovative ways of working and set the bar high for other furniture manufactures. They abandoned old practices and introduced new machinery.
  • In 1911 Ebenezers two sons (F.R. and E.C. Gomme) were taken into the partnership. At this time the range grew and the company began manufacturing sideboards, tables and cabinets. Gomme was one of the first to push the idea of dining room sets, with furniture working in harmony with one another.
  • During WW1 the company manufactured aircraft frames.
  • In 1927 a factory on Springwell Gardens was built.
  • In 1931 Ebenezer Gomme died.
  • In 1933 the company became limited
  • The company employed over 800 people in 1938 and was one of the U.Ks biggest furniture manufactures.
  • During WW2 the company manufactured aircraft frames.
  • In 1943 furniture was part of the rationing in war time Britain. Schemes were set up to limit the types of furniture on sale. A small number of simple designs were available and the government selected designers to design a utility line. This set the tone for British furniture until the early 1950s.
  • In 1953 Donald Gomme (the designer at E.Gomme) thought up the idea to design furniture for the whole house that could be brought piece by piece dependant on budgets. Advertising played a huge part in this with the furniture being shown in magazines directed to the public. Knowing that the designs would be available for several years, the public could save up for the pieces that they wanted. All furniture was marked with G-Plan. Gomme Plan, a plan for living. The contemporary and stylish designs were so successful with the public, there was once an 18 month wait. The public were able to visit showrooms all over the country the see the furniture. This also helped with the success of G-Plan.
  • 1954 Gomme's took over W. Birch and Co in High Wycombe.
  • 1958 Gomme's took over Castle Brothers
  • 1960 Gomme's brought Clover Mill at Nelson for upholstering work.
  • In the early 1960s the government introduced restrictions on purchasing furniture. In response to competition from Danish furniture the company introduced a Danish Modern range. This made the rest of the furniture seem dated and Gomme lost their market leading position.
  • 1978 Gomme acquired a cabinet assembly plant in Wrexham
  • By 1980 Gomme employed over 2000 people.
  • In the late 80s the G-Plan style included black lacquered tola wood items and plush upholstered furniture. This was part of the futuristic new season range.
  • In 1987 the Gomme family retired and sold the business to the then directors.
  • In 1990 the Wrexham and Nelson plants were closed.
  • In 1992 the High Wycombe factory was closed.
  • In 1996 G-Plan furniture was made by two companies. The Morris Furniture Group make and market the cabinet furniture in Glasgow. The upholstered furniture in made in Melksham, Wiltshire.
  • In 2018 you can still buy G-Plan furniture.

If you love the vintage G-Plan style check out The G-Plan Story on instagram. We love seeing what they post. Vintage G-Plan melts our hearts.

Love Bull + Tash x

 

Sources of Information

1. Grace's Guide to British Industrial History

2. Mosquito by C. Martin Sharp and Michael J. F. Bowyer. Published by Crecy Books in 1995. ISBN 0-947554-41-6

3. 1947 British Industries Fair p119

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