A brief history of the man behind the brand, and how it all began…
It all started back in 1959 when Gerald ‘Gerry’ Burgess was introduced to Eric Blakemore, a film set designer at Elstree Studios.
The Danzinger Brothers
Eric was working for the film producers, the Danziger brothers, who in 1958 had purchased the May Fair Hotel in London. Eric had designed the famous Beach Comber bar at the hotel and asked Gerald if he could make some stacking, aluminium banquet chairs. The chairs were needed for both the May Fair and the Metropole Hotel in Monte Carlo, of which the brothers owned.
This was the first order, 1000 chairs in total, half exported. Quite the first order, you might say! The success was instant and Gerald Burgess created a new company called Zephyr Furniture (later changed to Burgess Furniture), after the Ford Zephyr rally car in which he had won the RAC Rally also in 1959.
An impressive portfolio
During the past 60 years, thanks to the perseverance and ingenuity of Gerry, Burgess has supplied some of the most prestigious venues around the world;
- Chairs for the QE2’s maiden voyage
- Chairs for the first cross-channel hovercraft built by British Rail
- 4,500 chairs for the Westin Stamford & Plaza hotels in Singapore – at the time which was the world’s tallest hotel
- Meeting furniture for Twickenham Stadium, Wembley Stadium, Epsom Racecourse and Tottenham Football Club
- Sofitel Hotel at Heathrow’s Terminal 5
- Marriott Marquis, Dubai
- Chairs for the first ever European Hilton Hotel, France
- ExCel, London
- The Ritz, Paris, France
- Negresco Hotel, Nice, France
- Excelsior Hotel Gallia, Milan, Italy
- Pera Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
To name but a few…
The legacy continues
Innovation, quality and value for money are three elements that continue to make Burgess the leading manufacturer of meeting room, conference and banqueting furniture. Burgess customers certainly achieve longevity in their choices, in 1986 we supplied the City of Stockholm, Sweden, where the Nobel Prize dinner is held every year and the ‘Albertini’ chair was supplied to London’s Royal Albert Hall. In both cases, the chairs are still in use today, 30+ years on!
After 30 years building his legacy and the foundations of the brand renowned world over, in 1989, Gerald Burgess retired, passing the baton to his son, Jeremy Burgess.
One thing that can be said about Burgess Furniture’s products – Gerald Burgess was right when he said: “Everyone sits on my ideas…”
That they do, indeed!