13 July 2008

The Famous Mouseman

Mouse man you might be thinking, what link to Stockton does it have, well The Mouse man otherwise know as Robert (Mousey) Thompson (7 May 1876 – 8 December 1955) was a British furniture maker. He lived in Kilburn, North Yorkshire, where he set up a business manufacturing oak furniture, which featured a carved mouse on almost every piece. It is claimed that the mouse trademark came about accidentally in 1919 following a conversation about "being as poor as a church mouse", which took place between Thompson and one of his colleagues during the carving of a cornice for a screen. This chance remark led to him carving a mouse and this remained part of his work from this point onwards.

He was part of the Arts and Crafts movement which was a rebuff to the automation and mechanisation of a craftmans work, that was beginning in the late 19th Century - the birth of mass production. Other people who were key to this include John Ruskin, William Morris & Thomas Carlyle. More specific to furniture making in this genre and era include Stanley Webb Davies of Windermere.

The workshop, now being run by his descendants, includes a showroom and visitors' centre, and is located beside the Parish Church, which contains "Mouseman" pews, fittings and other furniture. The company is now known as "Robert Thompson's Craftsmen Ltd - The Mouseman of Kilburn"

I remember during a school excursion to look at churches, we visited The church of St Mary the Virgin in Norton and there on the gate are the special carved mice, he is famous for carving the the mice into the pews, one on each.


  1. Thank you Susie for your post on the Mouseman 13 July 08. I live in Australia and own some of this beautiful furniture which was left to me after my mother passed away 10 yrs ago. My parents purchased it while living in England in the late 60's but as my father left us when I was only 4yrs old and I was unable to get any details about these pieces. I've googled many times but without luck until I saw your photo of the familiar mouse and have now contacted the company to see if I can get some date of purchase records and history. Thankyou so much again and God-bless. Rachael- Australia

  2. Hello Rachael, it's great to hear from someone who lives the other side of the world so to speak, who has a link through your parents to the Mouseman, by purchasing a piece of furniture with his famous trademark. I am so pleased you have been able to contact the company direct, and I hope they are able to help you to build up the history and also give you an insight into your parents life in the 60's.

    I would be really interested in hearing from you again to see what the company can tell you, and I will have a look on google for you and post any links here for you.

    I hope you will keep us updated with your research