It’s May 1984 and the capital’s flood defence, the Thames Barrier, is officially opened by the Queen, Duran Duran are at the top of the chart with The Reflex. The UK’s biggest ever strike commences across the coal mines and Facebook’s inventor, Mark Zuckerberg, is born. But there was another influential birth that month, and that’s us, Kingkraft!
We’ve just celebrated 30 years and here’s a brief flavour of what happened over that time.
Kingkraft started out at Chapel-en-le-Frith in Derbyshire with the Easibath. By the time Nigel and Ruth Harrison bought the company in 1996 Kingkraft was operating out of Tideswell (pictures below) with 8 employees and had added changing tables and shower changers to their portfolio. Nigel is a qualified engineer and Ruth is a children’s physiotherapist so there was a natural fit for their respective talents.
Kingkraft was fast becoming a strong manufacturer within the disabled bathing market and had introduced a brand new bath, the Contour. Due to the heightening demand for our equipment, workers frequently had to build in the yard as there was so little space within the factory unit and with that we started looking for larger premises. In 2003 we purchased two industrial units just minutes away from the location of one of the miners’ strikes most prolific clashes, The Battle of Orgreave. The pit is long gone and in a reflection of the fundamental changes in Sheffield City itself, this site is now home to the Advance Manufacturing Research Centre, which is of enormous benefit to local companies as a centre of knowledge and expertise in manufacturing.
Once established in Sheffield, new developments continued at an increased rate with the launch of our most popular tub, the Multibath, followed by the luxurious Lifestyle Bath. Kingkraft had now become one of the UK’s leading manufacturers for disabled bathing and it was a natural progression to introduce complementary products from other suppliers into our product portfolio by becoming resellers for Ropox, Guldmann and Pressalit who are Scandinavian manufacturers.
2009 saw the addition of a small team of professional Physios and OT’s to the company to enable Kingkraft to provide reviews and assessments for people with sensory issues. We became the UK distributor for Protac products for sensory integration and their SenSit chair is still one of the most popular items on our exhibition stands.
After further analysis of the market in 2011, there was to be one further major change with the opening of an office centrally located in Leicester. The midlands team specifically worked on wetroom adaptations and level access shower installations.
Kingkraft is still a small family run business but that doesn’t stop us from being a leading company in the design of innovative products in our sector and that is something we are very proud of. We operate nationwide with our team of sales managers and engineers travelling from John O’Groats to Lands End to meet our customers’ needs. Internationally too, we have a strong reputation with bathing products supplied throughout Europe and as far afield as South Korea and New Zealand!“I have spent many happy and fulfilling years at Kingkraft developing products that had style when so much of what is supplied in our industry is designed to be purely functional and not attractive. With my son and daughter working in the company, I now look forward to the development of the next generation of Kingkraft products”.
Dr. Nigel Harrison
Now after that brief history lesson, we’ll get back to birthday cake!Happy 30th birthday Kingkraft!