Monday, 25 June 2012


A British seaside promenade with rows of deckchairs for holiday-makers to rest while enjoying an ice-cream is a quintessential summer postcard image as these foldable chairs have been around for over a hundred years.

John Thomas Moore (1864-1929) took out a patent for adjustable folding chairs in 1886 and manufactured them in Macclesfield, in the north of England, from 1887. Deckchairs were originally used on cruise ship's decks, hence the name, but were soon to be seen at seaside towns across the country.

Deckchairs, while low, can be comfortable to sit on for long periods once locked into position. They are collapsible, durable, stackable and easy to transport although also notoriously difficult to unfold and put up.

How To Put Up a Deckchair
1. Lay the folded deckchair down on the ground with the fabric seating on top.
2. Look for the grooves along the side and pick up that cloth covered end (the top).
3. As you do this the cross-frame base is in position on the ground and the adjustable back support can be slotted into the groove of your choice.
4. Sit in the chair and feel smug.

This can be a one-handed procedure once you gain in confidence. Here's a video to demonstrate how simple it is when done correctly.

To Rearrange the Deckchairs
This saying has nothing to do with the canvas and wooden folding chairs but means an action that would be pointless as it contributes nothing to a situation. To 'rearrange the deckchairs on the Titanic' only emphases this point with the doomed liner from 1912 meaning that small changes too late will not help in a major crisis.

Life is Like a Deckchair
This story from Charles Schulz's Peanuts is used by public speakers and preachers across the world. Charlie Brown goes to visit Lucy for life advice at her five cent psychiatric help booth and Lucy offers this insight:

"Charlie Brown, life is like a deckchair on a cruise ship. Passengers open up these canvas deckchairs so they can sit in the sun. Some people place their chairs facing the rear of the ship so they can see where they've been. Other people face their chairs forward - they want to see where they're going. On the cruise ship of life, which way is your deckchair facing?"

Without hesitating, Charlie replies, "I can't even get my deckchair unfolded!"

Hopefully you're not like Charlie Brown and you can enjoy lounging on a comfortable deckchair with a seaside view sometime soon.

Laura Porter has written this article for ISIC, our mother ship. She writes an online London travel guide for (part of the New York Times Company) and is a Visit Britain Super Blogger too. She fits in further freelance writing while sustaining an afternoon tea addiction to rival the Queen's. You can follow her on twitter at @AboutLondon.