About Us

Fairway Furniture is the leading independent home furnishing retailer in the south west of England, with branches located in Plymouth, Tavistock, Newton Abbot and St Austell.

Over 160 years after it was founded in 1856 in Plymouth, the company's mission remains to offer an exceptional choice of great quality products at unbeatable prices – backed by a reliable, friendly, trusted and informed customer service.

Below is a short history of the company, with some archive images showing how the business has evolved over its 160 years.

 

The Early Days

The original John Harding (seen in the centre of the photo on the right – circa 1880) first entered business in 1856 when he and his son John Harding Junior started ‘J Harding & Sons’. They traded out of premises at 14 Devonshire Terrace, which was just off Union Street, at the Western end of Plymouth city centre.

At that time they not only sold furniture which they themselves had produced but were also undertakers, general brokers and timber dealers. The original blue receipt below was issued on the 29th December 1870 and shows that the company even undertook work such as fixing sash fasteners to windows in peoples homes.



The inclusion of undertaking in the scope of the business was not unusual in the furniture industry, as many of the skills needed were common to those required to make furniture, in particular cabinets.  Many well established furniture retailers and manufacturers have at some time in their history had at least some involvement in undertaking.

The business thrived through the late 1800s, changing its name to 'Harding & Sons', and continuing to expand.  In to the early 1900s and, following a split in the Harding family which resulted in another business trading under a similar name in Plymouth, the business sought to ensure its identity was clear, illustrated by this 1908 invoice, which states 'no connection with any other firm trading under the name of Harding'.