Hanlon & Howe was founded out of respect for quality craftsmanship and simple design. Built to be used, loved, cherished, and kept, all of my pieces have an old-world sturdiness that you rarely see in today’s all to frequent buy-destroy-repurchase cycle.
Walter James Howe, my great grandad lived in Rugby UK and worked as a cabinet maker. His daughter Stella married Alexander Andrew Hanlon, (my grandad) who was born in Glenties, Donegal, Ireland. He moved to the UK and worked there as a cabinet maker for the BTH Company.
In 1969 Alexander Hanlon decided to emigrate to NZ from Rugby UK with his wife Stella and their two children, Andrew and Rosemary (my mother). It had always been Alex’s dream to live ‘down under’ and so the family house was put on the market. Unless this was sold the trip would not go ahead. So boat tickets were booked with a small deposit in the hope that the house would sell and the tickets be paid for. In those days there were no planes flying to NZ, a month long boat trip was the only option. Due to the expense, one way tickets were booked on the Shota Rustaveli, a Russian liner. This adventure was a huge undertaking into the unknown back in the 1960’s.Alex thought his dream was crashing down around him but he kept hope and at the 11th hour the deal was sealed.
One week before the full ticket payment was due, the house in Rugby sold. The greatest adventure of his life was about to start. A lifetime of possessions were sold. All that is except some personal items and tools belonging to Alex. Obviously very precious to him. Most of these are still being used by myself today. In his latter years, Alex’s love of wood turned into a hobby. He found himself searching second hand shops for Oak furniture.Then he would lovingly strip and restore them to their former glory.
I think he would be having a good chuckle today, seeing his grandson’s workshop full of his tools and pieces of furniture found at garage sales and thrift stores all over the country. And so the legacy continues…