A pictorial timeline of the Harris Lebus furniture factory

Louis Lebus came to England from Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland), arriving in Hull in the 1840s, and set up as cabinet maker in that city. By 1857 Lebus moved to London’s East End and was joined in the trade by his two sons Harris and Sol.

Louis Lebus 1817-1879

Louis Lebus 1817-1879

Harris Lebus 1852-1907

Harris Lebus 1852-1907

Sol Lebus 1866-1926

Sol Lebus 1866-1926

Lebus family tree

Lebus family tree

In 1883 the company moved to larger premises in Tabernacle Street (in the East End of London). By 1899 the Harris Lebus furniture factory had become the largest furniture manufacturing firm in England employing over 1000 people.

Tabernacle Street

Tabernacle Street

Typical invoice 1907

Typical invoice 1907

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Invitation from Harris Lebus

Invitation 1910

In 1900 Lebus bought some land by Tottenham Hale and constructed a large purpose built factory, furniture was manufactured using very advanced machinery for the time.

Overhead view of the recently built factory ? early 1900s

Finsbury Works, Tottenham Hale, early 1900s

Factory gates around 1905

Factory gates around 1905

Factory gates around 1905

Factory gates around 1905

Lebus employees ? date unknown

Lebus employees


During World War I the production of furniture declined until the entire factory was employed manufacturing munitions, particularly wooden items such as ammunition boxes, tent poles and pins, wheelbarrows and stretchers. In 1917 the factory constructed the Handley Page O/100 Bomber which were sent for final engine mounting and assembly elsewhere.

World War I

World War I

World War I

World War I

World War I

World War I

World War I

World War I

The factory enjoyed great success during the boom period in the furniture industry between 1920 and 1938, especially with the modern influence of the Art Deco movement.

Overhead view 1933

Overhead view 1933

Accounts 1936

Accounts 1936

Lebus family at a social function 1928

Lebus family at a social function 1928

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Harris Lebus showrooms

At the outset of the World War II, domestic furniture production was again replaced by the manufacture of supplies, however the company’s past engineering skills were soon brought back into play in the construction of the Albermarle Bomber, Airspeed Horsa Glider, Mosquito Bomber and Landing Craft. During the War Lebus was one of the few manufactures allowed to continue limited production of domestic furniture.

War time photograph of the management team in front of an airframe fabricated on the site

The management team in front of an airframe fabricated on the site

Maurice Grace ? driver for Wades transporting a Mosquito

Transporting a Mosquito Bomber

Horsa glider

Horsa glider


LCA’s in production at the Lebus factory

Landing Craft in production at the factory

When the war in Europe ended in 1945 the company soon got into its stride manufacturing utility furniture. Lebus also setup a new upholstery factory at Woodley near Reading, which complemented the products being manufactured in Tottenham.

In July 1947 a public company was floated, Sir Herman becoming Chairman and Managing Director, L.S. Lebus, Assistant Managing Director and Anthony and Oliver Lebus, members of the Board. Louis H. Lebus and S.H. (Bob) Lebus retired, the partnership was dissolved and the family business of Harris Lebus came to an end.

Sir Herman Lebus

Sir Herman Lebus 1884-1957

L S Lebus

L S Lebus 1894-1983

Anthony Lebus

Anthony Lebus 1914-1983

Oliver Lebus

Oliver Lebus 1918-2009

In the 1950s a new state of the art warehouse was commissioned and constructed on the North side of Ferry Lane, Tottenham, on land previously purchased.

Car park and new club house on the North side of Ferry Lane

Car park and new club house on the North side of Ferry Lane

New warehouse plan 1955

New warehouse plan 1955

New warehouse plan 1955

New warehouse plan 1963

Overhead view 1960s

Overhead view 1960s


During the 1960s, after the death of Sir Herman Lebus, the factory gradually fell into decline. Signs of improvement showed with the launch of the Europa range, however increased competition from European manufacturers and difficult times with England’s furniture industry forced the sale of the land in Tottenham to the Greater London Council (GLC).

Lebus Europa furniture range on display at the Ideal Home exhibition 1968

Lebus Europa furniture range on display at the Ideal Home exhibition 1968

Newspaper cutting from the Glasgow Herald ? 6 February 1969

Newspaper cutting from the Glasgow Herald 1969

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Europa 1970 catalogue

After the Lebus factory closed on Ferry Lane the depot on the North side was used by the GLC to store and distribute their supplies

North side depot purchased by the GLC to store and distribute their supplies

The company continued operating from smaller sites in Woodley and Walthamstow, until inevitably the iconic and well respected Lebus brand was sold.