The story of Kings Cross Jarrah

Jarrah is a slow growing Australian hardwood known for its durability and strength. Found on the iron and aluminium rich plains of the South Western corner of Western Australia, Jarrah is only known to grow in this area. Jarrah’s beautiful deep hues are a reflection of the landscape in which it grows.

Jarrah started being imported to the United Kingdom in 1887 when a shipment of Jarrah blocks were sent to be used as street pavement in place of cobblestones. Many streets in wealthier areas were soon covered in creosote blocks of Jarrah including Baker Street, Oxford Road, Drury Street and the Strand.

A large amount of the wood was imported to the UK in the late 19th and early 20th century. Because it is so durable and water resistant, it was an ideal choice for flooring, bridges, wharves, railway sleepers and roads.

At the same time, the area around Kings Cross was developing rapidly from its humble beginnings. In 1850, the Great Northern Railway had reached London. Keen to take advantage of traffic to and from The Great Exhibition of 1851, a temporary station was built on what is now York Way. It survived long enough to be later used as a potato warehouse.

Kings Cross had a large goods yard and towards the end of the 19th century was handling approximately a million tons of goods. A significant potato market grew up on the eastern margin of the goods station. At the peak of the season there could be a thousand loaded potato carts in the Kings Cross area waiting to be unloaded into one of the many warehouses.

While the area continued to thrive in the early 20th century, after the havoc of wartime and the nationalisation of the railways in 1948, the transport of freight by rails suffered a speedy decline. The area went from being a busy industrial and distribution district to an under-used site with many buildings becoming derelict.

The arrival of the 21st century has seen some significant changes to the Kings Cross area. As part of this regeneration, we were able to acquire a large quantity of Jarrah wood from one of the old potato warehouses.

The wood that came out of the Kings Cross warehouse was in lengths of up to 6ft long and 200mm wide – which for Jarrah is very wide. We have worked this amazingly dense hardwood to manufacture wide and long engineered planks retaining their original surface patina and undulations – and even the marks made by the clout nails used to fix the boards down.

Given what we know now about the importance of conservation and protecting our natural resources makes it more important that reclaimed timber such as Jarrah is valued. Given that this wood has already been around for hundreds of years, we feel privileged to be able to extend its life and provide a hardwood floor of such quality.

We would love you to see our Kings Cross Jarrah. Book an appointment at one of our Design Centres or call us today on 01925 284495.

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