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.
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.