Sophia Rose - Burscough Wharf's vintage furniture restorer
PUBLISHED: 00:03 05 June 2013
A Burscough couple are carving out new careers in furniture, as Paul Mackenzie reports
When his van was stolen from outside his home Dave Ward didn’t just see it as a problem, but as an opportunity too. The police officer who visited to record the crime left having bought one of the chairs he had restored.
‘She came back the next day with another officer,’ Dave added. ‘I asked if they’d found my van and she said they hadn’t but her colleague would like to buy a chair as well.’ It’s a sales mentality borne out of his time on Liverpool’s Great Homer Street
market but these days the furniture and other products Dave and his wife Elaine make and restore are sold from their shop at Burscough Wharf. It is packed with vintage delights, from original china tea sets to handmade homeware and accessories such as bunting, pictures and even replica cakes.
Former hairdresser Elaine said: ‘Everything we sell is handmade and can not be found on the high street, each piece is unique. If we sell something, we can’t just get another out, it’s the only one we had. We make everything, apart from the rag dolls, our daughter makes those.’
The couple, who are originally from Kirkdale in Liverpool, have lived in Burscough for ten years and spend almost every spare minute in the workshop at their home. Their business grew once they began selling online and they opened the shop – which is named after a grand-daughter – in February.
Dave, a former railway signalman, said: ‘I came home one day and said “I hate my job”. I took redundancy and it was the best thing I have ever done. Elaine always wanted a shop. We have always liked Burscough Wharf and we had so much stuff, so it seemed like the right time to make the step.
‘The wharf is a great place but not enough people realise it’s here. We have visitors from all over, but I still hear people who live nearby saying they’ve never been to Burscough Wharf – I don’t they always appreciate what’s on their doorstep.’
How the wharf morphed
Burscough was once an important part of the Lancashire canal network and the wharf was vital to much of the traffic on the Leeds/Liverpool canal.
The Wharf Buildings included stables, canal cottage, weighbridge, provender and chop house, barns, warehouse, harness rooms, offices and a veterinary centre for the horses that pulled barges along the canal.
The site was bought from British Waterways in December 2008 and has been transformed into a leisure and retail destination centred around food and drink, arts and crafts, and the creative industries.
Buildings are set around a courtyard, which hosts various events throughout the year, and among the business now based at the wharf are a restaurant, tearoom, hair and beauty salons and florist. There is also an arts centre which is used as a multi-functional room providing theatre, cinema, party and other events.