“You can only emulate success by seeing success”

Field trips add to the depth of the course and are divided into historical visits and workshop visits.

Historical visits

An integral part of the course is the programme of visits to some of the UK’s best-known historical houses and ancestral homes. Students can touch, feel and see the correct proportions of pieces in their correct surroundings.

Seeing a Georgian Grandfather Clock in the workshop is not the same as seeing the 9-foot Grandfather clock at Prestonfield House.

It is only by seeing Queen Ann furniture, Italian marble and Chippendale in these settings that a budding furniture maker can really start to appreciate fine furniture.

Workshop visits

The workshop visits, where students enjoy practical demonstrations and discussions with experienced woodworking professionals, give an insight into how to run a successful business.

We want our cabinet making courses to give students the necessary tools to start up their own business, and as Anselm says, “you can only emulate success by seeing success”.

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The Burrell Collection

This well-known Glasgow museum houses Scotland’s premier collection of Jacobean oak furniture. The curator gives Chippendale students a special “behind the scenes” tour of the basement where the many hundreds of pieces not on public display are stored.

Students also tour the conservation workshops and see first hand the techniques, such as
X-ray, which are used to properly examine the antiques.

Paxton House

Paxton House is a hidden gem, nestling on the banks of the River Tweed. It was built by the Adam Brothers in 1758 for the young Patrick Home and is one of the finest examples of an 18th century Palladian country house in the UK.

Here students can study one of the UK’s finest collections of Thomas Chippendale furniture.

Gosford House

This is the home of the Earls of Wemyss and March and was originally designed by Robert Adam. In 1890 architect William created a stunning Italianate marble hall in pink alabaster.

The house contains a remarkable art collection, including works by Botticelli, Murillo and Rubens.

Students get the very rare opportunity to view an original edition of Thomas Chippendale’s Gentleman & Cabinet Maker’s Director.

The Glasgow School of Art

This fascinating building is Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s first acknowledged architectural masterpieces. It was designed in 1896 and houses a large collection of original Mackintosh furniture.

The Workshop of Tim Stead

Maggie Stead is the director of the Workshop of Tim Stead. Until his death in 1999, Tim Stead was Scotland’s leading contemporary furniture maker, celebrated for his “wildwood” designs.

His work is exhibited in the Royal Museum of Scotland. Under Maggie’s direction the workshop continues to develop original designs and carry out commissions.


Lammermuir Pipe Organs

This is the only workshop in Scotland specialising in building new, mechanical action organs.

The business was established in 1983 by Neil Richerby who studied in Northumberland, Germany and Canada before returning home to set up his own workshop.

Lothian Trees and Timber

This sawmill provides quality local hardwoods linked to better woodland management.

It is owned by Dr Ulrich Loening who trained as a molecular biologist before becoming Director of the Centre for Human Ecology at Edinburgh University. He is one of the UK’s leading conservationists.


Students will meet Mark Richards, Area Head for Bonhams, one of the world’s leading auction houses. He has been a valuer for over ten years and specialises in fine furniture.

For complementary information about course content, review our syllabus.