Made in Britain: Dragons of Walton Street

Dragons of Walton Street make children's furniture.

Dragons of Walton Street

Lucinda Croft of Dragons of Walton Street.

When Rosie Fisher set up Dragons of Walton Street in 1979, she had no idea she was establishing a new market in high-end children’s furniture. Hitherto, the attitude of most new parents was to ‘make do and mend’ with hand-me-down cots and Moses baskets—and the occasional bottom drawer lined with a blanket, if my mother is to be believed.

‘My mother set up the business because she was surrounded by entrepreneurs at home and was inspired to do something herself—despite having four children to look after,’ explains Lucinda Croft, who today manages the company, following the sudden death of her mother nearly 10 years ago. ‘She started with antiques and it was a struggle, in those days, to find any furniture for children, but what she did find sold quickly and that’s what gave her the idea.’

What began with a few little chairs and tables grew organically as Rosie drew rough pictures on the back of an envelope and teamed up with a cabinet-maker, Stephen (still with the company today), who interpreted the designs. The rush-seated chairs and toy boxes hand-painted with Peter Rabbit or the child’s name grew a fan base. ‘At first, clients were the London cognoscenti, but when the tabloids discovered that the Princess of Wales used Dragons, things took off. I distinctly remember one day when my mother came home from work saying that she’d been kissed in the shop by Dustin Hoffman.’

Today, the company is licensed to use figures from Beatrix Potter, the Flower Fairies, Paddington Bear and—most recently—Brambly hedge and, last year, it moved from its distinctive corner premises on Walton Street to the harrods nursery department. ‘We have a big client base in Russia and a large following in the Middle east, who appreciate the fact that our pieces are built to last and created by talented British craftsmen,’ says Lucinda.

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