Two of the lovely old pieces of furniture at The Temple in Wanstead Park have been expertly repaired by local furniture restorer Chris Rigby following an initiative by the Friends of Wanstead Parklands.
The round walnut Victorian table in the entry room and the oblong Georgian table in the Andromeda room get a lot of use and had been showing signs of wear, so Chris restored their wobbly legs and gave them clear polycarbonate protective tops to protect them from scratches.
Chris Rigby was born in South Yorkshire and now lives in Aldersbrook. He studied at the London College of Furniture (now known as The Cass at London Metropolitan University). As he found he enjoys fixing things, in 1980 Chris started work for John Chambers, the well-known London furniture restorers. In the 37 years since then, Chris has worked for the Royal Society, many exclusive London clubs such as the Garrick, the Carlton Club and the Turf Club, and Guilds such as the Carpenters (appropriately) and the Apothecaries, for whom he repaired four throne-like state chairs. He has done a lot of private work for well-known people such as Peter Cook. He has repaired Dickens's Chair and Walter Scott's Chair. In fact, during his working life, he has repaired an awful lot of old chairs!
Chris lived opposite Wanstead Flats for ten years before moving to Aldersbrook seventeen years ago. He and his family love the Park. He says, 'It has been a pleasure to give something back to the local area and especially the Park, which we have enjoyed for so many years'.
The restoration work was sponsored by The Friends of Wanstead Parklands, using the proceeds from a series of successful events held at The Temple in recent months. Next time you visit, take a good look at the restored tables - they were beautifully made, and the repairs mean they will withstand many more years of being leaned on!