Lapthorn Furniture | Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust Bench Seats

Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust Bench Seats

walnut bench

Commissioned by the Dockyard for the new No1 The Smithery exhibition centre in May 2010, completed in July 2010, the four bench seats in black steel and English walnut were required to acknowledge the Smithery’s past and herald its renaissance.

The benches are made from a walnut tree that had bee growing in the dockyard until it became a casualty of the hurricane of ’87.

With the walnut mimicking the caulked planking of a ships hull or the decking on a modern yacht, the steel work reflects the advent of the industrial revolution and the riveted frames of the first steel ships.

The design is both a historical and reverential statement, to the shipwrights whose skills and artistry built the “wooden walls” and the  “iron clads” of a bygone era.

Combining the two primary materials of shipbuilding, wood and steel the benches are representative of a section through a ships hull, a slice of time, taken where the old meets the new. A moment of transition.


Other Recent Commissions


RSPB bench design

Rochester Art Gallery


Rochester Cathedral





About Lapthorn Furniture

Andrew Lapthorn is a bespoke furniture designer and maker, creating unique designs predominantly working in wood, for a wide range of clients from his workshop in The Historic Dockyard, Chatham.

Bespoke Wooden Furniture Design