The  history of Charles Newmarch French Polishing Ltd.

Far left: John W James; third from left: Charles Newmarch outside the Victoria Street workshop, with cabinet makers from the workshop upstairs

It was 1944 and a very different world. As a young lad of 14, Charles Newmarch joined the newly established French Polishing business J W James which had workshops in Victoria Street in central Middlesbrough. In those days should the craftsmen be required to work in a domestic situation, or prestigious business establishments, formal dress was required, so all French Polishing was undertaken in a shirt and tie!

Having served his traditional seven year apprenticeship, Charles continued to work with John James and was made foreman in the 1950s managing a team of craftsmen often on site.

Over the years the focus of the work changed. In those days the high streets of north eastern towns were graced with elegant wooden frontages such as Dunns’ Gentlemen’s Outfitters. Many northern retail and banking establishments, their shop fronts, fixtures & fittings were maintained by the firm.  The shipbuilding industry required polishers for their new fittings or restoration and refurbishment of vessels in service.

In 1972, Charles took over the company with his wife Joyce, re-branding the company with the Newmarch name. Their son Graham joined them seven years later, and together they led the family business into a different era.

Above: Charlie, Joyce and Graham Newmarch in the 80s, publicity photograph

The shipbuilding industry in the area declined, shops and banks transformed their image, and polished shop fronts gave way to different materials.

The business sector continued to need our traditional skills; during an era of industrial excellence in the North East, wood was still the material of choice for many offices and boardrooms for companies such as ICI and British Steel.

Of course, looking after antique and contemporary domestic furniture has always been an important part of our work, although even in this field, trends come and go. To this day we are the entrusted company to maintain the furniture and fittings of homes grand and modest throughout the North East.

In 2007 Graham took under the leadership of the company, continuing to build on the established and trusted reputation that Charles Newmarch French Polishing Ltd has today.