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1867

Henry Burbidge founded his woodworking company H Burbidge & Son at the age of forty in 1867 with capital of 10 shillings.

The main lines of business were warp rolls, bobbins and quills for the local weaving trade, bannisters and newel posts for the building trade, and cricket stumps, croquet mallets and wooden bowls were supplied to the London sports goods trades – notable customers were Slazenger and Jacques.

1890

In the last years of the 19th century Burbidge became involved in the nascent car industry that came to dominate the City of Coventry.

Early motor vehicles had beautifully hand-turned rosewood and ebony steering wheels and even wooden wheel rims which required skilled hand work – which the Burbidge company were ideally equipped to carry out. Indeed Burbidge made the first wooden tyre moulds for the Dunlop Rubber Company (then situated in Coventry) – a vital link in the development of the pneumatic tyre.

1914

Henry’s son, also called Henry joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment and went off to fight in the Boer War in 1901. Coming home, Henry continued the business much in the same vein as his father – seeking out opportunities to use the skills of his workers to make whatever he perceived a need for from wood. As the 1st World War got underway in 1914, Henry’s military connections led to supplying the war office with specialised wooden plugs for artillery shells. Proud claims are made about the part Burbidge played in the defeat of the Kaiser!

Between the wars Henry’s son, Harry, steadily took over the running of the company. It was the growth of the drop forging industry in the Midlands that bought new business for Burbidge and led them to becoming the largest importer of Canadian Maple in the UK.

As the war clouds gathered once again, Harry was in the thick of the action as an auxillary fireman during the Coventry Blitz, that took place on the night of 14th November 1940.

The Burbidge factory at Vecqueray Street was flattened by German bombers, forcing Harry to continue the business in a furniture factory in Balsall Common, outside Coventry.

1940

1945

Perceiving significant opportunity in the general reconstruction to take place following the war,
in 1945 Harry purchased and developed what still forms part of the Company’s head office and distribution centre at Burnsall Road in Coventry.

As time moved on and processes changed the weaving supply business declined, but Harry had been busying himself working with agricultural equipment manufacturers and in particular the American Company Massey Ferguson, whose UK operations were situated in Coventry.

The business also branched out into the making of drumsticks, guitar bodies and recorders for the musical instrument market, stiletto heels for shoe makers, wooden components for Ten Pin Bowling alleys – the latest craze to cross the Atlantic and teak handles for newly invented electric kettles amongst many other things.

By 1960 the Midlands’ car industry was booming and Burbidge had secured a contract manufacturing wooden parts for both the MG and Morris Traveller.

1965

In the early 1960s Harry was joined in the business by his two sons Richard and David.

In 1965 the business divided, Richard developed Richard Burbidge and David took control of TBFC.

A significant contract to produce the plywood components for the Black and Decker Workmate heralded the need to expand into an additional factory, known today as the Awson Street site.

Soon afterwards the workmate production came to an abrupt end, with the components being re-sourced to Finnish plywood manufacturers and to fill the void David started producing solid wooden toilet seats for upmarket retailers – like Harrods.

It was in 1970 that Burbidge was approached by Crosby Kitchens, with an enquiry for solid oak kitchen doors. Setting up to produce these doors led David to consider whether there may be an opportunity for the company to establish its own range of cabinet components. There appeared to be a growing taste for solid wood in the kitchen at a time when melamines and laminates were the mainstay of the relatively new fitted kitchen market.

1970

Skilled in the manufacture of panelled timber doors, a natural progression for Burbidge was bedroom furniture. The market at that time was saturated with un-inspiring low budget designs and David saw an opportunity to introduce a more superior timber product. This proved to be very successful for the next few years but naturally declined as the kitchen sales gained even greater momentum and bedroom fashions changed.

1986

1994

It was in 1994 that Ben, David’s eldest son joined the business.

In the years that followed Burbidge steadily grew, increasing its offer of kitchens to include a wide variety of styles and materials, by no means all solid wood. By the nineties, Burbidge had established itself as a leading UK manufacturer; producing highly sought after and exceptionally well crafted kitchen ranges.

With the fifth generation now at the helm the business continues to prosper in retaining its focus on the development of new and innovative products for the fitted kitchen market,
both produced in its own factories and in collaboration with a small number of long term sub-contract partners.

2004

The family tradition of seeking new markets for its skills and competences is alive and well with the company’s rapidly growing presence in the upper end of the UK bathroom furniture market.

In 2016 Ben’s interest and involvement in the woodworking industry was recognised when he was invited to take on the role of Master of The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers.

At the same time Burbidge were awarded the prestigious Manufacturing Guild Mark by the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers – a mark of excellence in British furniture making.

2016

2017

A new corporate identity was created to celebrate the company’s 150th anniversary, which denotes an elegant and bold ethos, as well as a contemporary feel. The new logo reflects both Burbidge’s views and business proposition as the company looks forward to the next 150 years!

2018

The Bathroom Furniture Co business continues to thrive with an impressive network of specialist Bathroom retailers across the country and a collection of bathroom furniture that spans timeless classic timber styles to those that boast the latest contemporary designs and finishes.

Thanks to the company’s legacy of working with wood, we offer unrivalled expertise when it comes to crafting bathroom furniture.

“I look at the Burbidge of today with great pride.
We are a skilled team with a passion for design
and a commitment to leading the way in
bathroom furniture manufacturing”

Ben Burbidge

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