Iron Beds first made their mark on the English furniture landscape as long ago as the 1840s at which time they were hand forged from solid wrought iron. Whilst this was an age of austerity, from a manufacturing viewpoint, there were huge changes taking place amidst a climate of innovation and design revolution.
And the metal bedsteads that were becoming ever more popular, somehow captured and epitomised the endemic spirit of invention that swept through the British Isles.
As the Industrial Revolution gathered pace the demand for Iron Beds grew at a frenzied pace, so that by the 1880s most homes in England would have had two or three metal bedsteads within their walls.
Many were undeniably simple in design and most probably destined for humbler homes and servants quarters. And yet these more functional styles possessed an individual charm that remains revered today.
Sadly, these less showy beds which were often bought for practical rather than aesthetic reasons, were not always considered to be important enough to pass from generation to generation and were often destroyed after a certain time span.
Future rarity was thus ensured and originals are much treasured today.
At the other end of the spectrum were to be found ornate and glamorous designs, destined for display within noble country homes and grand town houses.
Indeed, during the Victorian era the bed was considered a status symbol, just as the car might be viewed today. Such materialism resulted in some wonderful designs, often incorporating brass, mother of pearl and porcelain decoration to achieve a truly decadent look.
Often commissioned by the purchaser, these pieces of bespoke furniture would have been greatly cherished and excellence of craftsmanship, have ensured that many still survive today.
And whilst the majority would have found homes within Britain, vast numbers were exported to far flung corners of the world during the strength of the British Empire.
It s a little ironic that many of these timeless originals are to be found today outside these shores, as avid collectors track them down and return them to their ancestral roots. cont.........