Producer of fine furniture celebrates its 50th birthday

Beaver Furniture, based near Thirsk, is celebrating 50 years in business.

The family-owned company has produced items for clients as diverse as Daniel Thwaites brewery, Southwark Cathedral, Eton College and billionaire and football club owner Roman Abramovich.

The business was founded by the late Colin Almack. It specialises in both traditional and contemporary furniture handcrafted on site by expert craftsmen.

Each piece features a hand-carved beaver and is made from British oak.

Now run by Mr Almack's son-in-law David Glegg, the company is based at Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe and employs seven craftsmen and an apprentice.

It makes tables, chairs, cabinets, office furniture and bedroom items.

Mr Glegg oversees not only the creation of the furniture, but also the preparation of the oak.

"We carefully select only the best sustainably-forested British oak for our furniture," he said. "Recently we were fortunate enough to purchase trees from Castle Howard Estate."

All of the wood is dried on site – a process that can take many years. The wood is then shaped and finished before being "fumed" in ammonia to bring out its tones. Any upholstery is also completed on site. The end result is a unique piece of exceptionally beautiful furniture, said the company.

Beaver Furniture can be found in homes all over the country, but also in churches and pubs.

Mr Glegg said: "We recently discovered a 50-year-old Beaver table in a pub in Rochdale. It's currently in our workshop being spruced up and will soon look as good as new."

He added: "Clients can be involved in every aspect of the design and construction process, from selecting the wood through to watching the piece being made in the workshop. We have even had a customer provide wood from his own farm which we made into a table featuring a carved Holstein cow's head."

Specialist commissions include Eton and Ampleforth Colleges as well as the new Chapter House at London's Southwark Cathedral. The company crafted a table for the chambers of the Eton headmaster in 1991.

In 2006, the company made a 12ft dining table bought as a birthday present for Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea FC owner. This was followed by two private commissions for table and chairs, which included his children's names carved in Russian. One was sent to his home in Russia, while the other two are in the UK.

Looking ahead, Mr Glegg said: "Most of our business comes from customer referrals, so we know that when people see our furniture they really appreciate the time and expertise that goes into crafting it. So we have decided to relaunch our website and extend our showroom so that people can see as much of our furniture range as possible." Beaver Furniture's first commission, a table and chair set in 1960, sold this year at auction for 2,800.