Zylpha – Port Stories and Me

Zylpha Thompson

I saw the invitation to become involved with Port Stories on the Regional Heritage e-newsletter and it suggested that participants would be creatively exploring the history of Lancaster. As a volunteer at Lancashire Archives and a member of the U3A it seemed like an attractive proposition. It certainly unfolded that way! Our guided walk around the town’s historic buildings and the description of the businesses trading during the 18th and 19th century all pointed to the importance of the Port of Lancaster.

I was particularly drawn to the furniture manufacturer Gillows as my father used to make reproduction Georgian furniture and, I discovered that the methods and hand tools he used were very similar to those of Gillows.

The business was very successful and they expanded to London but unfortunately that is now where their archive is housed.

Not deterred I found research at Lancaster Library fruitful using, amongst others, ‘Gillows of Lancaster and London 1730 -1840’ by Susan E. Stuart and ‘Memories of Waring and Gillow of Lancaster’ an oral history by Gillow craftsmen 1928-1962 by P.J.Churchill.

Our creative workshops teased out of us the stories we wanted to tell and it was no surprise that we all found something different to relate.

I hope you think it was worth it.