Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The Mouseman.....

Kilburn is one of the pretty and interesting villages in the Hambleton Hills north of York, England and it was here that Robert Thompson started his family company of craftsmen furniture makers. Today it is run by Roberts great grandson's and a team of first rate craftsmen.

The carved Mouse symbol was first registered as a trademark in the 1930's, however the following extracts from a letter written in Roberts own neat handwriting and addressed to the Reverend John H W Fisher, the then Vicar of Berkeley Parish Church, dated February 10th 1949.

"The origin of the Mouse as my mark was almost in the way of being an accident. I and another carver were carving a huge cornice for a church screen and he happened to say something about being as poor as a church mouse. I said I will carve a mouse here and did so, and then it struck me, what a lovely trademark. This is about 30 years ago".

Farmers and craftsmen have lived and worked for generations in this beautiful spot as indeed was the case in virtually every village in the land until the Industrial Revolution lured them to the towns to become mass-producers. Many bemoaned the loss; few were in a position to do anything about it, so gradually the craft traditions began to die away.

Each piece is traditionally crafted by hand using only the very best naturally seasoned English oak and you will find a hand carved mouse trade mark on each and every item of furniture that leaves the workshops.

Today, the firm of Robert Thompson is proud to continue in Robert's footsteps, and keep alive the dream of one of Yorkshires famous and collectible 21st Century arts and crafts furniture makers: "The Mouseman of Kilburn".


  1. Interesting! I love the adorable trademark mouse.

    Thanks for the fun bit of trivia on my Henry V post! :^)

  2. What fine looking pieces! Do you know what types of wood he uses? I am always on the lookout for yew. The mouse is both unique and charming! Thanks for the introduction...love furniture.

  3. Well duuuhhh....I see he uses English oak!

  4. ... Kilburn.. my old stomping ground when I lived up in Darlington. Actually earier this year I visited a friend and did a walk from Sutton Bank.. which took us right past the workshop. Looked lustfully through the window.. and fainted at the price tags.... They are really beautiful pieces....

  5. I love simple and pure furniture that is functional and well made. The American equivalent is probably Shaker furniture made by the religious sect.

    So much crap is made now a days that never stands up to use. Nice to know this tradition is being carried on. And thanks for the post on it.