One corner of my kitchen is forever muddy England, as it’s where I keep the gardening tools, my wellies etc. For the last few weeks, whenever big magpie and I have been at the carboot sale, I’ve had my eye out for some kind of cabinet I could use to tidy up the area. Crazy, I know, but I didn’t like having Roundup just in a plastic container. Today, as the usual carboot fatigue was kicking in, I spotted this.
Careful not to reveal too much interest, I started opening it up and discovered it was quite mad. The front opened to reveal some kind of rack. Both sides opened to reveal shelves of differing depths. My uncertainty about what the heck the front was for caused the stallholder to drop the price from a fiver to four quid, so I agreed and we brought it home.
I’ve cleaned its top, put newspaper down to protect the very nice (and clean) whitewood shelves and lined the drawers. I’ve also put all the gardening bits into it and cleaned the area up a bit. It all looks a lot smarter now, but I still wonder what it is. A cocktail cabinet? A gramaphone stand? Something for a dining room?
The only clue on the thing is the maker’s mark: Leonard Harris Ltd, Complete Home Furnishers, 8-12 Woodhouse Road, N12. The name googles up a film actor, an insolvancy firm and some law case. About my place tells me the address is in Barnet. More google on the address reveals it is currently occupied by various small traders and is called Melville House. It also reveals it is a modern office block. My initial reaction to the cabinet of curiosity was that it was post-war. I grew up with a lot of white wood furniture bought in the late 50s, so I associate that material with that period. The fact the premises are a modern block, however, combined with the veneer and good construction, mean I’m wondering if it is in fact from the 1930s and the shop was destroyed in the war. A rummage on the National Archives turns up two divorce papers (one in 1924 and one in 1935) citing a Leonard Harris as co-respondent but unless I order up the papers, I can’t tell if its my cabinet maker.
Any suggestions for finding out more?