Reviving the Coventry chair

June 2015

Luke Hughes® and the Gordon Russell Trust revive the Coventry chair
The ‘Coventry’ chair, designed in 1960 by Dick Russell for Basil Spence’s new Coventry Cathedral, is going back into production.

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The revived Coventry chair

Luke Hughes® and the Gordon Russell Trust have confirmed the details of an exclusive world-wide licensing arrangement which will benefit the Broadway-based Gordon Russell Museum from future royalties. The agreement was recently signed by Luke Hughes, CEO of Luke Hughes® and Ray Leigh, former Chairman of Gordon Russell Ltd (and, before that, architectural partner of Dick Russell) who is one of the trustees and founders of the museum.

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Trevor Chinn, Trustee at the Gordon Russell Trust gives his reaction

Luke Hughes, who has been designing furniture for cathedrals and churches across the UK and USA for the last 25 years said ‘it’s an iconic 1960s design, beautiful in itself, practical, hard-wearing and passing that key test, really important for churches, of minimizing visual impact on the interior; so many beautiful church interiors are ruined by inappropriate furniture’.

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Ray Leigh and Luke Hughes sign the global licensing deal

Another museum trustee, Trevor Chinn, now in his nineties, who was formerly in charge of production at the Gordon Russell factory which made thousands of the chairs for cathedrals and churches around the world, said recently ‘ ‘the design epitomises all the best traditions of the Arts and Crafts Movement with the practicalities of the machine age. Gordon used to say that we needed to teach the machine some manners – well, his brother Dick certainly did with this chair. It’s marvelous to know this classic design will have new life’.

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The original and revived versions of the Coventry chair

The manufacturing processes have been upgraded to take into account modern production techniques that were simply not available fifty years ago. Trial production runs have already been begun; rigorous testing has been completely successful.

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A meeting of the original and revived Coventry chairs

Nigel Shepherd, COO, observed recently ‘The chair fits perfectly with the company’s general design philosophy that furniture should embellish architectural space, not embarrass it. We are already receiving significant enquiries, especially from the United States, and hope to be able to have more news about these in the coming weeks’

For more information, please contact our team on or call our studio on 0207 404 5995

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Finger joint detail of the new Coventry chair

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