A retired firefighter is carving out a new future – making replica historical furniture.
Darren Bagley, who spent over 30 years with West Yorkshire Fire Service, hung up his hose last year as Huddersfield Watch Commander.
And as a still youthful 50-year-old he couldn’t bear the thought of spending the rest of his life in his slippers doing nothing more challenging than sipping endless cups of tea and deadheading the geraniums at his Stocksmoor home.
So, the history buff with a talent for joinery soon settled on making posh furniture after taking enrolling on a two-year furniture course at Sheffield College.
Darren, a father of two young children, said: “As someone with a keen interest in history I decided to specialise in medieval/Tudor furniture and carve out my own niche.
“I have produced a few, nice pieces of medieval/Tudor furniture as part of a new venture since my retirement from the fire service.
“My pieces are exact replicas of stuff that exists in Haddon Hall, a stunning Tudor house in Derbyshire, Bolton Castle, a 14th-century castle situated in Wensleydale and rather closer to home, Oakwell Hall, Birstall.”
Regarding any potential copyright issues, Darren added: “At the moment the designer of furniture holds the copyright for 25 years.
“After this, anybody can copy their furniture. By 2020 the law will change.
“The designer still holds the copyright and this will last until 70 years after their death. This is to protect family inheritances, I think.
“As my pieces are copies of furniture that is hundreds of years old, I am free to copy the originals.”
One of Darren’s pieces is a dole cupboard, a livery cupboard formerly used in churches for holding bread to be distributed to the poor, which Darren says doubles as a perfect place for storing wine bottles.
Another is an oak coffer, a frequently found form of 16th and 17th century furniture designed for storage and in some circumstances, an impromptu bed.
Darren said: “That’s the first one that I made and it probably took me about 50 hours to make it. It’s the carving that takes the time.”
And, apart from honing his joinery skills, he is also having to learn how to market his new venture.
He added: “I have spent 31 years in the public sector and know nothing about business so I am having to learn as I go along.”
Darren’s work also comes with a carved piece of 18th or 19th century graffiti – historic vandalism at its finest!
Given the amount of time and skill put into it, the furniture does not come cheap with pieces priced between £1,500 and £2,000.
Darren can be contacted at email@example.com or 07966 500185.