History of Charles Edwards | Charles Edwards

Discover Charles Edwards’ heritage, from our eponymous founder’s beginnings in antiques in the 1960’s, to today, where tradition meets innovation.

An English Antiques Dealer

After graduating Trinity College Dublin Charles Edwards opened his first antiques shop in the late 1960’s in Abingdon Road, famous for having previously been the home to iconic clothes shop ‘Biba’. Charles then moved to Notting Hill Gate and a shop in Rabbit Row, where he continued to build a reputation for English antiques specialising in unusual decorative objects, furniture and lighting.

 

An Eye for the Unusual

The most exciting piece I have ever owned is the giant Colza chandelier.” Charles Edwards

Classic in style yet quite unique in scale the chandelier dates from 1830. Its provenance lies in one of the great houses of Ireland, Kilruddery. The Colza hung from the 40ft high ceiling in the Great Hall, which was demolished in the 1950’s during the 14th Earl of Meath’s reconstruction.

The chandelier was bought by interior designer Waldo Fernandez for Ben Soleimani’s 1986 neo-Tudor Beverly Hills mansion.

In the dining room, above the round mahogany table, is another British touch, a 1,500-pound (680kg) Georgian bronze chandelier, dangling like a giant illuminated spider. ” Fernandez. Architectural Digest 2012.

Charles Edwards' house Tile Barn in Northamptonshire

Tile Barn

Charles moved out of London and had a shop in Northamptonshire for four years before returning to London and opening his shop at 582 King’s Road on March 5th 1987.

Charles’ country home in Northamptonshire encapsulates his taste and storied collection of antiques.

Charles transformed a collection of tumbledown stone buildings into an elegantly evolved, unpretentious country home with his wife Julia Boston.

The First Commission

In 1992 following a conversation with renowned designer David Easton, Charles agreed to replicate one of his antique lanterns, leading to the design and manufacture side of the business.

Since then, the collection has evolved to over 400 designs. The permanent catalogue collection is a testament to Charles’ enduring passion for British heritage and timeless design, and is recognisable by its consistency of styles which does not concede to trends or whims.

The Old Gasworks

Built by The Imperial Gas Company in the 1800’s the 16-acre site was used for converting and storing domestic gas, becoming obsolete with the arrival of North Sea gas in the 1970’s.

The site became home to over 200 creative businesses, including the first Charles Edwards Workshop in the 1990’s. This community of artisans supported Charles’ growing manufacturing business, with gilders, shade makers, and other highly skilled craftsmen on hand.

Sadly, the site was redeveloped into private housing, displacing the artist community.

In 2010 the Charles Edwards Workshop relocated to the current site in South Wimbledon with larger premises supporting the growth in demand.

Continuing Tradition

Occupying a factory built in the 1930’s, the Charles Edwards workshop continues the tradition of manufacture in an area where the River Wandle has attracted textile makers since the 1700’s, William Morris in the 1880’s, and Liberty & Co until the 1970’s.

Today our workshop continues to respect traditional methods, with all fixtures handmade in brass, whilst working creatively with clients on bespoke designs, custom prototypes, and unique specifications of finishes and options.

A Part of British History

As well as private residences, Charles Edwards is proud to have worked on many projects for the Heritage Department, Historic Royal Palaces and Royal Parks & Gardens.

In celebration of the late Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, Charles Edwards was commissioned to create a series of hanging lanterns for the new cast iron Loggia in the Kensington Palace public gardens. The glass detail of each lantern was hand drawn and engraved, down to the veins on the leaves.

The King’s Road

The collection is exclusively displayed at the Charles Edwards showrooms located at 582 King’s Road, London and across the road in 575 King’s Road.

In November 2020 after a courageous and lengthy battle with cancer, we lost our founder and dearest mentor Charles Edwards. We, at Charles Edwards, lost not only an inspirational leader, but an extraordinary, wonderful, and kind human being.

The company remains privately owned and is led by its long-standing Directors Alastair Hepher and Siobhan Byrne. Charles’ legacy continues to guide and inspire us as we pursue his dream of creating beautiful lighting.

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