Personal Profile 

Roy Theobald has upholstery in his blood – His father was a traditional upholsterer who worked for Coopers of Gravesend, Kent where he met Roy’s mum, an upholstery seamstress – Roy still has his fathers old carding machine which is now over 150 years old. (An interesting story)

"I worked with my father Maurice Theobald at Swanscombe, Kent, where we lived from the age of eight until fifteen during the School holidays and after school, it was a great learning curve for me and he taught me many many things. In honour of my late father I have named my shop in Hawkhurst - Maurice House.

I underwent a traditional apprenticeship over a four year period in the Royal Albert Dock, London, for the P&O, British India and New Zealand Ships, I also trained at the London College of Furniture (now called the London Metropolitan University) achieving my City and Guilds Certificates.

I was fortunate enough to be trained by the celebrated author and tutor Robert McDonald. After completing my apprenticeship with my papers in hand, I then went to work for Barratt and Boltons in Curtain Road, then on to Maples of Tottenham Court Road, West London, who claimed on their labels they were the Worlds largest and finest furniture shop. Whilst at these two Companies we did work for Harrods, Hammonds, Harvey Nichols, The House of Lords, The House of Commons and many of the London based Embassies. My claim to fame at Maples, apart from doing work for Lords and Ladies and many famous people etc. my furniture went to Maples in Buenos Aries and Paris. I also remember doing a sofa for the National Bank in Dallas Texas U.S.A.

Since starting my own business in 1975 I have undertaken many exclusive contracts for celebrities and many Peers of The Realm, my current contracts include the restoration of furniture for leading Livery Halls in the City of London.

When I was a young apprentice I was also trained by Mr. Tony Allabush, now at Whitchurch Hampshire, retired and also Mr. Sid Palmer, the son of the later Frederick Palmer author of the Upholsterers Bible ‘Practical Upholstering and the Cutting of Loose Covers’ recently republished by the Association of Master Upholsterers, The Book of which I helped proof read, I also recall Sid Palmer as a real gentleman, who never attended the work place without a jacket and tie, he retired at the age of 72.

I actually started my business at the back of Green Grocers shop in the East End of London where I was now living because that is where the work and the training were.

I then moved to my own premises at the rear of 59a Bell Grove Road, Welling Kent shortly thereafter. I joined the Association of Master Upholsterers in 1976, I then started going to the Kent Branch meetings a year later, where I then served on the Associations Council and then became a Director of its Board (which I still am). I was made a Fellow of The Association of Master Upholsterers in 1991, was the President of the A.M.U from 2005 – 2006. I became a member of the Guild of Traditional Upholsterers in 2006. Before that I was made a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Upholders in 2002 and a member of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers in 2004.

In 2006 Theobald Upholstery won the prestigious Merit Award from the Worshipful Company of Upholders (City of London).

I have been interviewed for radio and television on a number of occasions and have demonstrated the art of Traditional Upholstery at Alexandra Palace, Hatfield House, Penshurst Place, The Kent Show and at the NEC for the BBC Homes Show.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my career which I thoroughly enjoyed and through which I have met many wonderful people. Let's hope one day that we will meet. I would like to thank my mother and father for their inspiration, Mr. Tony Allabush and all the other people over many years that taught me this wonderful trade (and I'm still learning).

Kindest Regards,

Roy K Theobald FAMU

P.S I would like to thank Mr. David Henley director of ZuLogic Ltd for his help patience and advice in setting up this website."


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