We have put together a page of information, facts, tips and guides in our own little wikipedia to help you understand more about our world, what we sell and what we do



ERCOL'S ETHOS“Since the start of our company in 1920, design has always been at the heart of Ercol – design for comfort, design for function, design for beauty. We combine practicality with looks, be it the copious storage of our sideboards, shelving units, bookcases and display cabinets, the comfort of our studio couch and of our chairs, or the utility of our coffee tables, lamp tables, desk and media units.


Sir Terence Conran founded Habitat in London in 1964, opening his own store to market his Summa range of furniture. The first store was opened in Fulham Road in Chelsea by Conran, This store became the Habitat template, with its quarry tiled floor, whitewashed brick walls, white-painted wooden-slatted ceilings and spotlights creating a feeling of space and focusing attention on the product. Conran has said the main reason for the shop's initial success was that Habitat was one of the few places that sold cheap pasta storage jars just as the market for dried pasta took off in the UK!


The term ‘Chesterfield’ was first used to describe a piece of sofa-like furniture in the 1800s. There aren’t any official documents validating the story, but it is said that the style was originally commissioned by Lord Philip Stanhope, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield (1694–1773), from whom the sofa got its name.

It’s said that the Earl wanted somewhere for a gentleman to sit without putting creases in his suit, so he employed a local craftsman to come up with a solution. The end result of this commission was the forerunner of the Chesterfield sofa. Should this story prove to be accurate, the Chesterfield’s upper-class origins would certainly be matched by a very fitting originator: Lord Philip Stanhope was an admired writer and politician, as well as one of Britain’s wealthy aristocratic class. He was also widely known as a trendsetter of his time —someone that many looked to for the latest fashions and styles.


The term vintage has no official  meaning and is defined differently depending on the source. For most people, the term vintage furniture is used to describe a piece between 30 to 100 years old. Within the vintage category, newer pieces, especially those dating from 1950 to 1980, are generally considered retro. All furniture in the mid-century modern style that has been popular since the first decade of the 21st century can be labelled as both vintage and retro.


Wikipedia describes Retro style as “a style that is consciously derivative or imitative of trends, modes, fashions, or attitudes of the recent past. It generally implies a vintage of at least fifteen or twenty years. For example, clothing from the 1980s or 1990s could be retro.  Retrostyle is an outdated style or fashion that has become fashionable again.  The word “retro” derives from the Latin prefix retro, meaning “backwards, or in past times”

Retro items don’t have to be old, they can be brand new, but would have to be made in the style of the time or item they are trying to replicate.

Perhaps the best way to think about the difference between retro and vintage is that vintage refers to the actual construction, whilst retro refers to the appearance.

Chalk Paint

Chalk Paint is a type of paint (actually, it's a trademarked brand of paint by Annie Sloan, but other companies have similar paints also) that can be used on furniture and other items to create a chalky appearance. It's used for creating an aged appearance, and can be distressed easily.

You can get a lot of different looks using chalk paint, ranging from a more distressed, “shabby chic” finish, to a more modern approach that just covers the surface with a solid, opaque coat of paint.

United Giving use Chalk paint from Vintage With Grace from Warrington, Cheshire. The full range can be found at VintageWithGrace website

Art Deco

We usually recognise Art Deco designs and objects intuitively, once we see them, but when it comes to the definition of this visual arts style, things tend to be a little more complicated. First of all, there are different national variants of Art Deco and the style itself is often described as a pastiche of styles and an eclectic combination of influences, materials, and shapes. Therefore, it is sometimes hard to distinguish Art Deco from similar schools like art nouveau, Art Moderne, Bauhaus school, or Arts and Crafts

Rent To Own

Rent-to-own stores are a way to get new furniture or appliances without waiting days or weeks to save up enough money to buy it outright. Rent-to-own isn’t a loan, so your credit score doesn’t matter, but it’s an expensive way to buy new items.

A rent-to-own store gives you two options: Either you buy your item through regular weekly payments, or you lease an item and return it at the end of the rental period. Both options allow you to return an item when you no longer want to make payments, even if your contract isn’t finished.

Leasing an item

Rent-to-own stores also allow you to lease an item. Make monthly payments and then return the item once you’re finished using it. This is a good option if you know you’ll only be using the item for a little while. For instance, if you’re moving to a new country and only need a couch for a month, you can lease one for much less than the cost of buying it outright.

Basic Valuations


Valuing items for sale, especially vintage items that may have belonged to a relative, can be tricky. Unfortunately sentimental value has no monetary value; personal opinion has little monetary value. The person you ask may have a reason to value your item incorrectly, to either stop it from selling by being too high or too low to get themselves a bargain

Why eBay? The popular auction site, eBay, hosts and sells millions of various items a day - usually sold to the highest bidder. In theory this shows how much people are willing to pay for xxx in xxx condition. Not many sold?

It’s probably a rarer piece and could be worth more than a similar but more popular item. Sold prices vary considerably? Look at the number of bids, condition of the items and even the location. It’s not difficult to work out an average value with the (usually) high number of sales. 

How to find sold prices on eBay The easiest way to look for sold prices is on a computer. EBay’s mobile phone app is far from perfect. Search for the item you want to value, this case we are searching for furniture made by Ercol.

Scroll down past Categories etc... And you’ll see Show only with three checkboxes. Completed listings – these are the items that are usually overpriced and can’t sell. The listings have finished and the items have not sold. Sold listings – this shows what people have actually paid for the item you have searched for. There’s also Deals and savings 

Check the Sold item box. It then lists Ercol furniture that has been sold, pre-sorted in what has sold first.

Also try this via the advanced tab search located on the right hand side of the main search bar



Homewares is the general term used for crockery, furniture, soft furnishings, pictures, ornaments and vases etc with which a house, room, etc, is furnished to make somewhere feel like home

There are a lot of homewares stores in the Liverpool city region which covers, Widnes and Runcorn These include locally;

Home Bargains

TJ Hughes


The Range



House Clearance

A House Clearance is where a company comes and clears furniture and belongings from a property. Usually to make it ready for sale. 

United Giving Local house clearance service is unique because we can offer a free house clearance, should there be enough furniture and unwanted belongings in the property that we can resell through our not for profit social enterprise shop and outlets.

The typical house clearance cost can be as much as £1000 for a 3 bed semi home. Our house clearance service can actually be a paid house clearance because if we believe we can cover the costs of removal and disposal of unwanted furniture we will pay you for house clearances.

It is usually a tough enough time as it is to ask for the services of a local house clearance company. United Giving is a registered social enterprise, where all our profits are returned to the community. We have no shareholders.

Our professionally trained house clearance staff use unmarked vehicles and work hard to protect your property and privacy. 

We will even prepare your property for sale if required, which includes cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, vacuuming and tiding the property so it is ready for sale, should that be the purpose of house house clearance

United Giving provide a friendly, professional, respectful and local house clearance service in Cheshire

We serve the following areas

Liverpool, cheshire, chester, warrington, widnes, runcorn, frodsham, lymm, knutsford, merseyside


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