An original Edwardian writing desk found at Kingston Maurward has been restored to its beautiful former glory, by the Dorchester branch of community group Men’s Shed.
Members of Dorchester Men’s Shed, which is now based at Kingston Maurward’s Stinsford Farm, were shown the 19th century piece by Estates Manager, Matt Horton, who discovered the badly damaged desk in the caretakers’ office, and asked the group if they would be interested in trying to rescue it; Men’s Shed immediately rose to the challenge.
Spending two months on the project, members of the club performed a number of restoration techniques and repairs on the piece, including replacing the castors and the leather inlay, repairing the mouldings and drawers, and restoring the wood surface.
According to local furniture restorers, who advised Men’s Shed during the project, the desk was probably made between the late 1800s to early 1900s. They discovered that due to there being no name on the piece it is likely to have been made by a craftsman in or near Dorchester, and possibly even by the Estate’s own cabinet maker, as was often the case at that time.
Dorchester Men’s Shed founder, Graeme Trinder, said: “We loved doing the desk, it was a very different project; it was a bit of a mess when it came in so it’s good to see it as it should be. We’re looking forward to doing more projects like this – we’d like to do lots of beautiful desks!”
The ornate oak desk is now back where it belongs on display at the Main House, which it would have inhabited nearly a hundred and fifty years ago. Plans are now in place for it to be at the centre of attention as the registrar’s desk during Kingston Maurward’s weddings.
For further information about Men’s Shed go to dorchestermensshed.org.uk/