About Us

Cooks Furnishers is your local independent family-run furniture retailer and has been trading in Lowestoft for four generations of the family, dating back to 1912 when Fred Cook launched the company in his shed in Cambridge Road. He had been working as a foreman at Smith's workshop, making all types of furniture in mahogany, oak and pine.

During the First World War he took a shop on the corner of Clapham Road and Milton Road and at that point began buying in furniture to sell. When the war ended he was joined by his son Cecil. In order to survive the hard years of the late 1920's and early 1930's, they went into the funeral business for a while, making coffins and conducting funerals, most notably for a Mayor of Lowestoft.

Both Fred and Cecil were highly skilled cabinet-makers, serving long apprenticeships. Examples of their furniture, longcase clock cases and church furniture survive to this day. Just one example is Thurne Chapel, where in 1972, the pulpit, table, back screen and front rail were all designed and made by Cooks craftsmen. The English oak that was used, was obtained from Darby's of Beccles.

Over the years, Cooks have provided items to many unlikely locations, including boats on the Broads, a circus, cargo boats, up ladders and even removing doors and windows. One memorable occasion involved comandeering a small boat to deliver to an isolated riverside cottage. During the herring season, the Scottish skippers would load up their drifters with goods and when Brook Marine was in business it seemed as though the entire Nigerian Navy purchased upholstered furniture from Cooks to take back home!

The next generation entered the firm in 1942 with the arrival of Leonard Cook and a change of premises saw the company establish in the former shop of J Bishop at 185 London Road North - where it remains to this day.

Michael Cook joined the business in 1967, and to cope with extra business took over S Chilvers furnishing shop in London Road South in 1971.

Michael's younger twin brothers Paul (deceased) and Peter joined the firm over the next few years. 

The company's final move came in 1997 when they took over the empty Easterns Furniture Shop (formerly Lillian's) in London Road South - and where it also remains today.

Moving from premise to premise as the town has developed has enabled Cooks Furnishers to remain at the forefront of funiture retailing in Lowestoft for over 100 years.

However, as time goes by, changes need to be made and in September 2017 after almost 60 years of trading at 185 London Road North, the decision has been made to close that shop. Operating only from our other premise in London Road South will make life easier for Peter and Michael in the future. Although they will be sad to leave the premise and the many good business neighbours, customers and friends made over the years, business will continue as usual in south Lowestoft and they look forward to seeing old and new customers there in future!!

It is still a proud boast that many of today's customers are directly related to many of old Fred's and Cecil's customers, down through the generations!

Photographs:

Top - c 1953 - a view of Cooks Furnishers workshop featuring Fred, Cecil, Leonard and Michael Cook.

Photographs of Cooks Furnishers vans and livery over the years. The first two vans had bodywork built by Cooks in their workshop!

 

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