Although Nichols Brothers began trading in 1949, the family association with the art and craft of turning goes back much further.
In the early Twenties, five brothers set up the company Nichols and Nichols. Located in
the Kingsland Road, London E2, the customer-base for Nichols and Nichols was the busy East London furniture trade. The company prospered in the years between the Wars and it was not until the outbreak of the Second World War, in 1939, that their fortunes changed. With the reduction in furniture production brought about by wartime austerity measures and the absence of skilled tradesmen - called up to fight for King and Country - the business saw a severe reduction in activity.
As servicemen were demobbed in late 1945 and early 1946, craftsmen turners came back into the trade and business started to pick up again. However, in 1949, two of the brothers – Stanley and Arthur Nichols - decided to form their own company, known as Nichols Brothers (Woodturners) Ltd, to differentiate it from Nichols & Nichols. This was established at premises in
Milton Road, Walthamstow, London E17, from where the company still trades today.
A large part of the fledgling company’s business in the early years of the Fifties was the ubiquitous hardwood standard-lamp base, found in front-rooms up and down the country. The link with the East End furniture trade was maintained and the company’s reputation for quality and service continued to grow.
In 1969, Geoff Nichols joined his father Stanley and his uncle Arthur in the business at a young age of 15 having already 3 years' work experience within the family business as Geoff always went to the factory during school holidays, thus ensuring the family’s involvement in high-quality turned products for another generation. After his father and uncle took well-earned retirement, Geoff took over the running of the business and continues to be a very “hands-on” businessman, in close contact with his many regular customers.
Geoff’s best friend from when he was around 10 was Harry Morrow, who went to work for a shipping company when he left school. Geoff’s uncle retired when Geoff was in his early twenties, and Harry came to work at Nichols Brothers, taking over the administrative side of the business. He was made a partner in the company in the early eighties, and he
and Geoff run the business together now.
Like all businesses, Nichols Bros has evolved to meet the demands of the market. With home-ownership growing steadily in the Sixties and more householders willing to spend money on refurbishment, Nichols Bros moved away from reliance on business with the furniture trade and created a niche market in stair spindles and newels.
Every component for the construction or replacement of balustrading
was available – from stair spindles and newels to every part of the necessary handrailing. The company’s production facilities enabled it to offer not just standard products, in line with the rest of the market, but a truly bespoke service, matching exactly existing components or architects’ designs. Stair spindles might be conventionally turned, square turned, barley twist, rope twist, fluted, reeded or hand-carved. And the newels could be produced to match.
Whilst a large proportion of the standard stair spindles supplied by other companies are produced in softwood, mahogany or oak, Nichols Bros can offer the additional facility of producing stair parts in any commercially available hardwood, suitable for turning.
This bespoke aspect has become even more important with increase
in loft-conversions to create “a room in the roof”. A financially sound investment, this type of extension to the living space works best where the staircase leading up to the new space is an exact copy of the existing. This seamless transition between new and existing is both aesthetically pleasing and a valuable feature in marketing the property at some future time.
Whilst stair parts are an important part of Nichols Bros turnover, they also supply turned timber components to a wide range of other industries. Your enquiries for bespoke turned items will be appreciated and wherever possible, will be handled by Geoff Nichols in person.
Nichols Brothers' qualified craftsman-turners are all long-serving and have a depth of experience and expertise on which customers can rely. The pride they take in their day-to-day work translates into a quality and service in which customers, both old and new, can have complete confidence.