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Origins | The Story of Canvas Awning Company

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

How we began making our first Canvas Awnings - inspired by traditional woodland shelters, made for all kinds of outdoor adventure.

An innovative Canopy Tent for Camping

In the early 2000's we decided that what we needed was a portable, free-standing awning for our camping missions - something that we could strap on the roof of the van and take everywhere.

Festival Awning

At that time we were running our first business Curious Tent Hire. We were hiring our unique canvas marquees throughout the UK and this often involved camping nearby a wedding or spending up to a week on a festival crew camp site.

We wanted a structure that was beautiful, sustainable and versatile. Something we could use to upgrade our camp set-up as well as for parties back home. We quickly realised that we would add our new canvas awnings to our hire range for the UK festival scene.

Oran began making awning prototypes.

Inspired by Traditional Woodland shelters

The Awning design that emerged was very much inspired by coppice workers - a low-impact craft and lifestyle that Oran has always been drawn to.

Coppice workers use sustainable woodland management practices and traditional techniques to make Windsor chairs and other craft products. Seasonal workers, going from woodland to woodland, they would traditionally carry their canvas canopy with them and construct a simple Awning frame using young tree poles cut on location. They would work and live simply outdoors, using the coppice available before moving on.

The Woodsman's Awning

Oran wanted to use coppiced ash poles and a cotton-based canvas to make the frames for our Canvas Awnings. When we'd completed our free-standing Awning design, we fondly named it The Woodsman's Awning.

We immediately put our prototype Awnings to use, strapping one on the roof rack and taking it with us for all our camping trips. Friends borrowed it for their garden parties. We used it for BBQs and outdoor playgroups. They are so versatile.

We began hiring out our Awnings in 2008 for wedding parties, UK festivals including Wilderness, Bestival, Camp Bestival and Secret Garden Party. And we've never looked back.

Canvas Awning Company

During covid-19 lockdowns when we couldn't hire out our marquees and when everyone was looking for a safe way to see family and friends, we launched Canvas Awning Company, making Canvas Awnings for sale throughout the UK. We've expanded our range to include 4 colour and 2 size options and we have ideas for some future designs - watch this space!

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