hood chair

A hood Chair is a wooden chair used in the medieval period in England and France. It is also known as Porter’s Chair. These chairs have a top in the shape of a hood and so came the name hood Chairs. It was used by gatekeepers and porters at estates, hotels, and residential buildings. 

Back in those days, there were no provisions for calling bells, and it was very difficult to hear door knocks in large halls, houses, estates, or buildings. So porters or gatemen were employed to open gates to visitors. The idea of keeping a hood is to safeguard the doormen from cold breezes and extreme temperatures. They stand for long hours and hood chairs keep them warm inside.

Today these chairs have become the center of attraction in any luxurious seating arrangements. Interior designers and decorators are more often using these types of chairs in their designs.

You will see these chairs on the beaches, hooded beach chairs are very popular in European countries.

If you want to buy new chairs of this canopied or hood design then head over to Wayfair for some fantastic chairs available in different designs and at a discounted price. Though these chairs are available in the name of Balloon chairs.

The Design:

The half-hollowed egg structure in hood chairs are made from wood and the seat is often finished with leather and velvet cover. This four-legged chair has armrests and also comes with a V-shaped Indentation to hang the lantern. Usually, the doorman rests inside the hood chairs and waits for any visitors to knock on the gate.

Some porter chairs also had space for keeping Draughts and a little shelf.


Hood Chairs began during the medieval period and were used up to early modern days in countries like England and France. Its design and use were popularised by King of France Louis XV. The king was interested in art, architecture, and designs and brought many changes to the way furniture was built and used.

There is literary evidence of Hood Chairs in books and plays like Jezebel by Wilkie Collins and Shakespear’s Play. 

Other Names of Hood Chairs:

Hood Chairs also called in different names like:

  • Porter Chair- A Hood Chair is also known as Porter Chair. A canopied design chair was particularly made for the door porter who had to sit outside to open gates or doors for visitors.
  • Watchmen Chair– It has a forward-slanting design to discourage watchmen from sleeping during the night. The watchmen can not sleep without sliding off the front of the chair.
  • Guard Chair- Popularly known as 10 Downing Street Guard Chairs were designed by cabinet maker of London, Thomas Chippendale. There was a drawer beneath the chair where hot coals are kept to keep the guards warm on cold nights.

Though Hood Chairs are not in use they only exist at museums and antique collectors. These few places are:

  1. Bank of England, London Branch
  2. Aston Hall, Birmingham, London
  3. 10 Downing Street, London

Here is the photo of an ancient Hood Chair kept inside the Bank of England in its London Branch.

hood chair photo

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