Younger furniture

Younger Fonseca sideboard, 1965 in oiled teak

A Younger Ltd was a high quality British furniture manufacturer that led style and contemporary taste in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Younger furniture was low volume, well made and aimed at the top end of the market. Younger was amongst the first firms to make Scandinavian style furniture in the fifties and one of the first manufacturers to abandon the style in search of something more original in the late sixties.

Younger teak furniture

As early as January 1955 Younger marketed their first teak dining suite, Moselle. Two years later, they introduced Volany, a new range of teak furniture which they sold for a further ten years.

Younger's top designer was John Herbert, the firm's design director. He won three awards from the Furniture Makers' Guild in 1960 for a sideboard and two tables. All three were similar to contemporary Scandinavian furniture. The sideboard was constructed from solid afromosia, an African wood of similar colour and appearance to teak; manufacturers often used it to complement teak, because it was easier to work. John Herbert veneered the drawers in teak and completed the design with simple, round, wooden handles. The first of the two tables combined teak and rosewood veneers, a combination that was to become very popular later in the 'sixties, the other was made in solid afromosia.

In the mid sixties, John Herbert moved away from teak when he designed a new dining set in African walnut for Younger. The firm was indicating a move away from popular taste and pioneering a new direction in furniture.

Younger teak sideboard, 1960s (image Designtwenty)

Younger's 60s furniture

By 1967, teak was so popular that John Nickson, Managing Director of A Younger Ltd, commented:

"instead of finding it difficult to purchase a teak dining set - as it was twelve years ago - the problem now is to find anything else!"

Younger was ready for a radical departure.

John Herbert and his assistant, Alan Pledge, spent a few weeks locked away in Herbert's home in Kent thinking up new ideas. Their new furniture was modern, but had the imposing grandeur of traditional Spanish design.

There was a hexagonal dining table mounted on a large central pedestal on a hexagonal plinth.  This went with high backed, upholstered, dining chairs which were completely different from anything else on sale. 

There were grand storage cabinets, 6 ft 6in in length in several, different designs. One had ecclesiastical looking doors with arched windows, guarded by diamond wire mesh. Another had Georgian style paneled doors, with large recessed circles resembling the front door of a grand town house in miniature. Both were mounted on large plinths, with a hint of the classical pillar and a heavy appearance.

Younger offered several very different finishes. There was a new wood, louro, from central Brazil, finished in a traditional polish. Furniture with this finish could have belonged to an important Mediterranean official, perhaps someone like James Bond might have visited on one of his missions. Younger also offered an entirely different look to the same furniture by using coloured veneers. They offered red, green or black stains, all transparent so that the grain pattern of the wood showed through. The traditional veneer finish appealed to the older generation; the coloured pieces were for the young.

As well as these finishes, there was also a white melamine, painted finish.

Younger's furniture from this period was seen in some of the most fashionable middle class houses. There was a small Younger unit in the melamine finish in Cliff Brumby's living room in the 1971 Michael Caine film 'Get Carter'. Brumby's living room contained a role call of design classics from the late sixties. He also had G-Plan's World's Most Comfortable Chair and a Parker Knoll recliner.

Younger's new furniture was for the expensive end of the market. It might have looked exciting, but it was out of reach for most people. The fashion for coloured woods did not last. Furniture was an expensive purchase that most people wanted to last several years. Coloured woods might well have been fashionable in the late 'sixties, but people wanted to keep their furniture until at least the late 'seventies and some for the rest of their lives.

Younger Toledo furniture, 1970s (picture supplied by Phil Rounce)

Younger Toledo

There were radical new ideas in furniture in the early seventies. In 1970 there was a brief craze for wet-look synthetic upholstered furniture. The fashion did not last for more than a year. In 1971, the novelty of the Earls Court Furniture Show was an early waterbed. Younger introduced several innovative ranges of furniture in the seventies. The most successful was Toledo from 1972. This range borrowed heavily from traditional Spanish style. The popularity of Spanish holidays led to a greater appreciation of anything from Spain. Paella was a popular dish and people had a taste for Sangria. Younger's furniture was not as popular as package holidays though and it remained an expensive and exclusive product.

Buy Younger furniture secondhand

If you are looking for Younger furniture, there is a small, but regular quantity of sideboards and dining tables and chairs on eBay.

Younger teak sideboards sell for £200 to £400 on eBay. The Toledo range from the early 70s is something of a bargain. You can pick up the storage units for less than £100. Given the quality of the original manufacture this is amazingly cheap.

If you are worried about transport, there are a number of couriers that specialise in Even if the seller doesn't offer a courier, you can usually arrange for one to pick the item up and deliver it to you. Always contact the seller first though.

Your comments

"I am looking to buy a pair of replacement joiners (type of hinge) for my Toledo table.

They join the two extension pieces together in the centre and open up when the table is extended and are stored underneath the top when closed.

Any help to where a similar fitting might available would be appreciated.

Regards

Colin Alford" Colin Alford 24/01/2015
"could you please tell me if the company Youngers Furniture is still in existence. I purchased a Younger Toledo dining table and chairs, sideboard and Footstool. When I purchased it I was told that the wood was German Oak, and would like to contact the company to discuss further as am now told it's not German Oak but is chestnut and Ash" Mrs Joan OatEs 19/03/2015
"We have one Younger Tolado dark wood 3 draw side board.
Extended dining room table that has a centre pull out & the extension is in the centre along with 4 chairs & 2 carvers with arms, which are bespoke & match the table.
We are located in Northampton & are seeking offers." Sally spencer 23/04/2015
"reply to Joan Oates. I can confirm that the woods are chestnut and ash and most definitely not oak. I sold Toledo during the late '70s along with other british and foreign brands that are sought after today." David 16/08/2015
"Hi we are currently moving house and we we have a full set of youngers bedroom furniture in immaculate condition looks like teak or rose wood is it worth anything as we need to sell it on. For space?" Steve cross 13/09/2015
"Yes it's worth money. You will need to check prices on eBay. Furniture from the 50s and 60s in teak or rosewood will be the most valuable. best regards" Steven 14/09/2015
"We have a Younger teak side board which is very plain and has no handles. Only has teak overhangs on drawers and push opening on left hand side giving access to double shelf and open side for larger items. Do you think this is worth holding onto or if sold how much would I ask." Freida Whitson 08/10/2015
"Hi Freida,
Younger teak sideboards can sell from between £50 and £400. Have a look at recent sales on eBay. It often depends on how the item is presented.

Personally I would hang onto it. Younger was a quality make and prices today, do not match what they cost when new. best regards" Steven 09/10/2015
"I am looking to buy two Alfromosia Dining Chairs by Younger. I already own 4 and would like another two." Rodney Foster 22/10/2015
"We have the Younger hexagonal plinth dining table and upholstered chairs mentioned in your article. We cannot find any information anywhere about this piece aside from this website. Does anyone else out there have this set? If so, do you know what it is worth?" Rebecca Maindonald 09/11/2015
"Does anyone know where I could get replacement handles for the Younger Jamestown bedroom range?
I have had no luck with most all of the websites I have tried. Some are close but just don't fit" David 13/11/2015
"Hello,

I'm looking for 1 carver chair from Younger's designed by John Herbert made in Afromosia Teak.

Can supply photos of the chairs we have if needed.

This is to give my Mum a bit more support when she is at the dining table.

Thanks

Wil" Wil 06/02/2016
"Hi,

I have a carver I have just bought and re-oiled using danish oil. It still has the original black vinyl seat.

Regards,

Mike" Michael 27/02/2016
"I have youngers Toledo table & upholstered chairs x 4 plus 2 x carvers plus glass footed sideboard 5ft high" Ray beer 03/04/2016
"I have an A younger 1960s teak Fonseca extending dining table and 4 chairs. Need to sell due to move" Helen radcliffe 09/04/2016
"I have a Toledo table and would like to know if the table surface is chestnut over ash or the other way around. It needs resurfacing so thus info would be useful." jo 02/06/2016
"Hello, my parents have a full set of Toledo dinning furniture, extending table, 4 chairs, sideboard, glass fronted bookcase on cupboard, side table and coffee table. All bought in 1973. They are downsizing and much of it may have to go, I suspect it will make almost nothing in the local auction. Does it have any value and how would be best to sell it? I realise that 50's/60's teak is the in thing at the moment so is it better to hang onto or is it just to big and antique looking to ever be popular again? Many thanks." Duncan 21/07/2016
"Looking for a younger 9 drawer bedroom chest of drawers (cherry wood).

Ann" ann fenner 02/08/2016
"We have a Toledo coffee table from the 1970s does anyone know what sort of wood it is,it has a very dark finish and we want to have it lightened thanks" Phil 02/08/2016
"Hi Phil, my parents where told, when they bought it, that our Toledo furniture was Spanish chestnut." Duncan 12/08/2016
"I have found a Maple A. Younger sideboard. The top is in a bad way, water marks etc. The rest is in good condition. Skinny metal handles that stick out. Could anybody tell me about it. Looks early. Also value as at an auction." Vicky 17/08/2016
"Our bedroom suite bought in 1962 (and still much loved) is a George Younger. My memory says it is matt French mahogany / walnut? Veneer on sapele.
We paid £192 (hire purchase for 6 months.
Is it a family inheritance or a recycling challenge? Your advice would be much appreciated.
Thank you for your help. Diana Lewis" Diana Lewis 26/08/2016
"Looking for a toledo sideboard from 1970s please - as just had a burlglary and they took the cutlery drawers!
Also be interested if there were any smaller chests produced .
Thank you" Lee-Anne Visagie 08/09/2016
"Still looking for a Younger jamestown 9 drawer chest
ann.fenner1@googlemail.com

Ann" ann fenner 17/09/2016
"Hi

I am still looking for a younger jamestown 9 chest of drawers.
ann.fenner1@googlemail.com" ann fenner 18/09/2016
"To Lee-Anne Visagie.
We have a Younger Toledo double glass cabinet with cupboards and drawers below. We are in Cornwall and would be interested in an offer as we are downsizing. It is 6ft wide and 6ft high.If you are interested I will put it on ebay with a starting price" raymond PIPE 15/10/2016
"I have Younger Toledo large extended table and 6 chairs 2are carversIAm Sideing down, Colette" Threlfall 31/12/2016
"Does anyone know how to remove the leaves from a younger Toledo table? Thanks." Geoff 14/01/2017
"I have had a Younger 6 draw chest in a darkish wood handed down to me. All draws have little wooden knob handles. On the back of the top draw is the name plate. Any ideas what age it could be and where would be best to sell. Thanks" Lolls 16/01/2017
"We have the white Younger hexagonal plinth dining table and 6 high back upholstered chairs, as mentioned in your article.Also a louvred sideboard & 2 display obelisks to match. The set was newly purchased by my parents in 60s. Any other info would be appreciated." Jan F. 10/02/2017
""I have a 2 drawer younger toledo sideboard with glass cabinet that sits on top. 5ft wide x 6ft high finished in teak & in lovely condition .. also have a 3 drawer sideboard that matches the 2 drawer would like to sell these if possible if anyone can tell me the best place to sell ? These have been in our family from new in 1972
Many thanks DARYL" Daryl 12/02/2017
"I have white melamine hexagonal table on plinth + 6 high back upholstered chairs + 2 matching display obelisks + 1 large sideboard/ louvred doors.Newly purchased by my parents in 1960s. I have no other info, can anyone help." Jan F. 12/02/2017
"We have quite a few items of furniture. Do they all have to have a name on them stating A.Younger?" Joanna 15/02/2017
"I have a Toledo table which has been well used over the years and really needs re-staining/polishing. I would like to do it myself if poss. What's the best way to go about it?" barbara 16/02/2017
"I have a lovely Younger high backed teak sideboard for sale but unfortunately it's missing the glass door on the Leighton hand top shelves but it has a blue lined cutlery drawer and is in great condition. Any offers?" Sarah Johns 07/03/2017
"Youngers Toledo upholstered dining chairs from late 1970's. Are they fireproof as I cannot see any certification to that effect" bobby 03/05/2017
"I have a Younger Bedroom Set. Wardrobe, Dressing Table, Chest of Drawers, Night Table and Headboard. It is white wood that is padded with a blue flowery material. I caanot see one anywhere. Any idea if it is worth anything. I believe an interior designer would snap it up. The Younger label is on the furniture." Caroline Cowen 01/06/2017
"I HAVE A YOUNGERS FONSECA DINING TABLE AND 6 CHAIRS AND ALSO THE FONSECA SIDEBOARD THAT I WOULD LIKE TO SELL. IS EBAY THE BEST ROUTE TO TAKE DO YOU THINK?" SUSAN 11/06/2017
"I have a lovely bedroom two drawer side chest with a shelf above it made by Younger ( name plate inside drawers ) it is a dark wood which looks like a veneer, i can see the wood i.e inside the drawers is a lovely rich dark colour but i have no idea as to what wood this is ? can anyone help please? i would hazard a guess this is from the 60's thankyou" Pippa 05/07/2017
"I have two Jamestown 9 drawer chests in cherrywood to sell. Can you give me an idea of what they are worth. Could supply photographs.
Thank you,
Jean B." Jean Bailey 04/08/2017
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