Beyond Parnham

Code: 105786

  • John Makepeace’s Parnham College
  • The story of a unique educational establishment
  • 40 years of fine woodwork and craftsmanship
  • The most influential modern furniture design college
  • Hardback edition, beautifully illustrated throughout
  • Articles by famous furniture makers
  • Contributions from a hundred former students
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£40.00 (£40.00 Ex. VAT)

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In Detail

John Makepeace opened his School for Craftsmen in Wood in the grounds of a dilapidated Tudor manor in rural Dorset in 1977. That school became Parnham College where, over the next 40 years, the courses taught and inspired its students in a unique way.

Many have gone on to become renowned designers and furniture makers in their own right. This beautifully illustrated book offers a unique insight into Parnham College, the innovative approach to teaching and how the college, inspired and influenced future careers.

The limited printing of only 1,000 hardback copies includes articles by Sir Christopher Frayling, Lesley Jackson, Robert Ingham, Christopher Rose, Jeremy Myerson and John Makepeace along with a hundred former students.

Beyond Parnham

Our time with Parnham

As told by Ian Styles

They sought out tools from the very best suppliers we could find; a list that originated from the hand of Robert Ingham, the legendary tutor who would change the entire way of precision cabinet making for a lifetime and more.

The tools often needed considerable time spent on them. Planes, in particular, were checked in store by the students and then taken home, dismantled and treated to two days of intensive fettling before they were deemed acceptable to use in anger.


The shop stayed open until late on a Friday so that the students could come and collect their orders whilst also returning the tools they thought weren't ideal. Many were as discerning about the boxes as they were the tools, as these would be used to store the tools for years to come.

The course was a two-year adventure. Demanding and beyond precise it would stretch and develop their skills and in turn, set a new higher standard for what was required of the industry.


Today many of those students are exceptionally successful makers, tutors and designers. Many of these past students we, at Axminster, have been fortunate enough to retain a relationship with. As they've matured over the years, as a business so have we; growing from that tiny store into what you see today. Indeed, the whole concept of Parnham as a centre of excellence helped us in those early years to quickly appreciate a need for quality and innovative tools. It not only shaped the furniture making industry but also us.

'Beyond Parnham' is a marvellous story of the student's successes and where they are in their careers today. We owe John Makepeace and Robert Ingham a debt of gratitude for allowing us to be a very small part of the Parnham experience as a trusted tool supplier.


The book is a fitting tribute to the amazing skills of our craftsmen and women who have continued the traditions of Parnham and advanced the legacy that is fine furniture. If only we could find a way of retaining those youthful looks from our twenties that we would have had back would be a fantastic way of thanking those students who helped us discover the beauty of fine tools!

Ian Styles
Ian Styles

Product Development Director



Author John Makepeace
Cover Hardback
ISBN Number 978-1527206533
Pages 184
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