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No backing for modern seating designs

26 July 2012


From Mrs Mary Roe

Sir, - For many years, car manufacturers have continued research into producing a car seat that will make long periods of sitting as comfortable as possible, concentrating particularly on adequate lumbar support for the lower back. When sufferers from back pain visit a specialist clinic, they are always advised to provide themselves with lumbar support of some sort, either a cushion, or even a rolled-up towel.

Now that my church, like many others, is about to dispose of the pews in favour of chairs, we have been asked to assess various examples. Most of those on display are like the prize-winning chairs in the picture ( News, 22 June): there is a large gap between the seat and the fairly narrow strip of wood across the back, which may or may not relate comfortably to the shoulder blades of both tall and short people. There is no support at all for the lower back. Any cushion will fall straight through on to the floor.

Twenty minutes in such a chair would be my personal limit, and I would expect to have back-ache for a while afterwards. Why is comfort in church dismissed as secondary to appearance?

I am not usually in favour of the Church's spending large sums of money on experts, but this may be a case where enthusiastic amateurs need a bit of guidance - perhaps from car-manufacturers, or designers of theatre seats.
1 The North Lodge
Kings End, Bicester
Oxon OX26 6NT

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