The History of Lionheart

From Wheelwrights to Timber and then Cricket Bats
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The End of an Era

With the passing of my Grandmother and the oncoming retirement of my Grandfather, it was decided to sell the Yard and close the business. Most of my Uncles had gradually moved into different careers and the business had been running out of steam for a number of years. The industry had changed and modern materials were beginning to replace solid wood. The advent of MDF, Plywood, Chipboard and Blockboard had enabled furniture to be made out of very cheap alternatives. My Grandfather had stayed away from these materials believing them to be inferior alternatives to natural wood. He was of course right - but it didnt stop them becoming hugely popular with companies such as furniture giants IKEA.

Rather than fight against the flow of the industry time was called on the business. Not long after my Grandfather suffered from ill health and he passed away leaving an everlasting lasting legacy on the Worcestershire landscape. In the early 80s the recession hit the timber trade. The Commission began to try and develop export markets, and soon 500,000 tonnes of timber a year were being shipped - much to Scandinavia. Environmental issues then came to the fore, with the Commission's management policies, and particularly forestry's apparent lack of environmental awareness, receiving heavy criticism.

Medium-density fibreboard (MDF) is an engineered wood product made by breaking down hardwood or softwood into wood fibres and then combining it with wax and a resin binder to form panels by applying high temperature and pressure.

Brookes - Manufactured Boards

The other main feature of the decade was the steady increase in Government cutbacks, with fewer public funds available. New planting was cut and investment in recreation ceased. Gradually the Commission began to acquire a higher political profile. By the end of the decade messages from the Government were mixed: on one hand expressing support and encouragement, on the other restricting forestry operations hamstringing the industry.

Some of my Uncles moved down to Devon and established a highly succesful new Furniture making venture. My Father and Uncle Danny established their own small Forestry Business - focussing on landscaping on behalf of the MEB. I joined him in this venture for a number of years and learned the trade before going on my own personal journey into the Wood Industry.

The business may have passed into the annals of time but the memories remain - and if you look around you now there is a good possibility that some of the timber that was fell by my family may well have been used for either construction timber to line your homes or as furniture that you may well use on a daily basis or been passed down as a family heirloom.