Stewart Whittington, who has been with the firm for 44 years and worked as managing director for nearly 30, has been forced to close the famous showrooms at 8-10 Hans Road, opposite Harrods in London SW3, because of uncertain trading conditions and the increasing overheads of running a large shop.
Recent changes in fashion combined with the credit crunch have brought to a head increasingly difficult trading conditions for the firm, who historically have had a large following in the United States.
The stock will be dispersed on Tuesday, April 21 at Sotheby’s New Bond Street rooms in a sale titled The Norman Adams Legacy 1923-2009.
Although the firm began business in New England in 1923, the long connection with Hans Road goes back to 1928 and a statement from the firm last week said: “It will be a great sadness to have to leave the premises in the spring.” The shop will cease trading at the end of January.
Mr Whittington will retain the name Norman Adams Ltd and intends to recommence trading, probably in another shop, when the business environment improves.
In the meantime Mr Whittington, his fellow director Christopher Claxton Stevens and Stephen Wild will go their separate ways, although they will stay in touch. They will continue to be available to help old and new clients on a consultancy basis.
Norman Adams will honour their commitment to the BADA Antiques and Fine Art Fair in Chelsea from March 25 to 31, where they will show contemporary furniture. However, they will not be taking their customary stand at Grosvenor House, where they have been a fixture since the fair was founded in 1934.
This is a sad day for the top end of the period English furniture market and follows the closure last year (and stock sale at Christie’s last November) of two of London’s other long-established, very top names in the field, Hotspur and Jeremy.
Mr Whittington can be contacted on 020 7589 5266.
By David Moss