A NEW shop in Bournemouth owes its existence to the storm which felled millions of trees almost 30 years ago.
Tree House Timber makes furniture, garden art and building materials out of the trees which came down in the Great Storm of 1987.
The business already has two shops in Brighton and one in Worthing and recently opened at Christchurch Road in Boscombe.
Founder Paul Lewis was a tree surgeon at the time of the 1987 storms, which are believed to have brought down 15m trees nationwide.
He said: “People were paying us to take the trees out of their gardens.
“Then we got the bright idea to make this furniture out of them.”
He said the storms had ‘changed the face of Britain’.
“Everyone knows of a tree that was brought down. A lot of people who were in the same jobs as us were charging for mulching it or burning it,” he said.
He added that he had stored more than 1,000 tonnes of the timber on his land in Sussex and begun turning it into furniture, sculptures or flooring.
Tree houses were a particular speciality.
“They would pay you £300 to take a tree off their land and pay you to build a tree house for their children,” he said.
Mr Lewis, who has appeared in Channel 4’s Grand Designs, said many customers were bored with flat pack furniture and wanted something different.
He said he brought the business to Boscombe because a revival in the area seemed to be under way.
“We thought we’d get in there before it really takes off,” he said.
“It’s a beautiful place to live plus you get a lot of tourists down for the summer.”