100 Years of Barlow Tyrie

100 Years of Barlow Tyrie: The history of Barlow Tyrie, our own portrayal of the equisite brand, and what makes their furniture some of the best in the world.

Our own roots as a garden retailer date back to the 1950s, so it’s always great to work with another family-oriented business in our industry that has such lineage, and Barlow Tyrie certainly fits the bill.

They formed over a hundred years ago, back in 1920 when Mr. Tyrie and Mr. Barlow, after coming home from World War I, retrained as carpenters and requisitioned the teak from the ships to make furniture, of which at the time mainly consisted of benches.

Here's our own portrayal of the Barlow Tyrie brand, and what makes their furniture some of the best in the world.

Barlow's Early Classic Designs

The Barlow Tyrie London bench is one of their oldest designs dating back more than 60 years ago.

Now considered a classic design, wide and smooth arms that are just perfect for balancing a cup of tea or coffee, or even a glass of something a little stronger, perfect for relaxing outside as the sun sets. The beautifully smooth teak hardwood is both beautiful in character and expertly crafted to last.

However, if you are looking for something even more heavy-duty, then the Barlow Tyrie Rothesay bench range is just as good, if not better due to their chunkier teak beams and slats. They’ve been designed and built to last in the harshest environments and are often chosen for outdoor public spaces, such as in parks, gold clubs, shopping malls, and more.

A selection of Barlow Tyrie benches were chosen for the Olympics in Barcelona, and to this day you’ll still find many around public areas in London, England.

Barlow Tyrie's 1.5m London Bench
Barlow Tyrie's 1.5m London Bench

Characteristics of Barlow's Teak

The teak used in Barlow Tyrie garden furniture is FLEGT licensed (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade) and is fully sustainable to abide by Indonesian foresting laws. As an estimate, for every 1 tree cut down, another 5 trees are planted on the plantation premises to replace them.

Grade A teak is most commonly used, which is sourced from the centre of the tree, known as the golden band that runs between the sap centre and the outer layer. The teak will develop a patina and turn to a rich silver tone as it dries out. This is the teak’s way of locking in the oils into the wood.

The teak furniture is often fitted together with mortise and tenon joints that are then secured with dowels. This allows for the oil contact in the wood to last longer. If screws are to be used they are capped and made from brass.

Only the Barlow Tyrie Titan sets are made of Grade B & C teak and this may move with extreme temperature fluctuations, as it is a natural characteristic of the wood. Part of the charm and design of the Titan furniture is its ‘rustic’ appeal which gives so many colour and grain variations that make it so popular.

For all inscriptions, Barlow Tyrie uses V shape cutting technology which means the letters are deeply carved into the wood and can be read from all angles in different light levels.

It is worth pointing out that pressure washing teak garden furniture is not recommended.

The Introduction To Metal

Marine-grade 316 powder-coated stainless steel is the most common choice of Barlow Tyrie designers as it is the best combination for combating the salt air found in coastal regions and chlorine from swimming pools. It is also recommended that you use the branded stainless steel cleaner to help combat the effects of salt and chlorine in the air.

Where virgin aluminium is used, it is acid dipped before being powered coated to improve its longevity even further.

It is also worth noting that the sling-style fabrics that are used in conjunction with a lot of Barlow Tyrie metal furniture are replaceable should the need arise. However, Robert Hall, Chairman at BarlowTyrieAtGardenSite.co.uk has owned a set of Equinox chairs for over 15 years and commented:

"There has been no noticeable sag at all when I eventually came to replace my set after 15 years. There was actually nothing wrong with it and I simply sold them off for the single fact of changing the style to refresh my garden. With most sets of garden furniture, you would need to pay someone to take it away after 15 years of use, especially with our Great British weather, but with a little care, your Barlow Tyrie furniture will no doubt last for as long as you care for it."
A Barlow Tyrie Aura dining set.
A Barlow Tyrie Aura dining set.

Outdoor Cushion Fabrics

Many standard cushions from other furniture suppliers are simply dyed on the top of the fabric and not within the core, so over time, they will start to fade as the colour is lost from the outer layer.

To combat that, Barlow Tyrie cushions are made using Sunbrella fabric, a company in Portugal that manufactures the ‘Sunbrella Cushions’ on behalf of Barlow.

The fabric is solution-dyed all the way through so the colour will not fade and the stitching is very tightly knitted together.

Additional protection can be gained with V77 which is a further layer of coating that reduces water ingress substantially. However, it should be noted that the Sunbrella weatherproof cushions are exactly that, weatherproof and not waterproof. They will withstand showers and shed water but they were not designed to withstand sustained and persistent rain over a long period of time.

In fact, Barlow Tyrie recommends that their cushions are stored away from October to February and need to be kept in a breathable cover as opposed to a cheap cover that will cause condensation.

The cushion colours that you will see on the product images of Barlow Tyrie furniture are generally colours held in stock. Other colours that are offered are bespoke colours that the warehouse will need to order and have manufactured for you in order to meet UK fire retardancy regulations.

Once manufactured, the cushions have to be shipped to the UK where, on occasions, they are stopped at the ports for fire safety testing. All this leads to the extended lead times that we will advise you of for all bespoke cushion orders. GardenSite is always happy to check on lead times and the availability of stock colours for you.

Traditionally Crafted Parasols

All Barlow Tyrie teak tables will come with a blank filler that simply slots in and out of place for the parasol hole to be revealed. All parasol stems are manufactured with eucalyptus as it’s very straight grained and doesn't bend.

The canvas for the parasol is manufactured using the renowned Sunbrella fabric. It is always advised for customers to keep the parasols down when not in use. The Sunbrella material that’s used for the parasols is around three times thicker than that of the cushions.

The parasol bases are all the same base; it is just the selected tube section that differs in size. High dining tables use the centre of the table leg as the base tube as shown in the various images.

A close-up view of the underside of a Barlow Tyrie parasol.
A close-up view of the underside of a Barlow Tyrie parasol.