Company History Info

Kent Blaxill has served the Colchester area in Essex since 1838, when it was founded as an oil and glass business on the town’s High Street. Since then, our family-owned firm has expanded across twenty one sites across the East of England and the Midlands, offering paint, timber, glass, ironmongery, tools, landscaping, building supplies and much, much more.

We have also been known as a leading kitchen and bathroom specialist since 1963, when we first moved from Colchester High Street and opened our purpose-built site at Layer Road. Our showrooms has since built up an enviable reputation for quality and service, and we specialise in helping you to find the kitchens, bathrooms, wall and floor coverings that are right for you – at a price that suits you best.

So, please browse through our website to order your decorating products online or learn more about our latest displays and what we offer, or visit our showrooms for a warm welcome and expert advice from one of our specialist consultants.


Kent & Sons at 104 High Street, Colchester, John Kent’s original cash book pictured between 1860 and 1878
John Kent:
founder, owner and partner, 1838-96
John Kent’s original cash book
Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887
Edwin F Blaxill – John Kent’s partner from 1867
Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897
A lease was taken out on 3A High Street in 1906
Anna Blaxill: proprietor in 1896 and partner 1897 
to 1900
The pre-First World War delivery service
Ben Kent: managing director 1897-1935
The delivery fleet in the 1930s
Staff outing in the late 1930s was a Thames boat trip. A train was hired to take staff to London
A delivery lorry in 1938
E Alec (Alderman) Blaxill: Mayor 1909-10 and 1937-38
Queen Mary visited Colchester in 1938 when E Alec Blaxill was mayor. He is seated to her left
Alec E Blaxill: MD,1935-52
Donald Blaxill: joint MD
John Kent: joint MD
Mary Blaxill, wife of chairman Dr Bernard Blaxill, opens the Layer Road site
The opening of the Layer Road showrooms in 1966
Christopher Blaxill: MD from 1963 to 1989
Harold Whybrow: general manager in 1954
John S Kent: KB’s first sales director
Simon Blaxill: MD since 1989
175th anniversary: deputy prime minister Nick Clegg visits, accompanied by Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell
The launch of the KB Lincoln branch in 2020
The launch of the KB Kettering branch in 2022
The launch of the KB Thurrock branch in 2022

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Why Use Kent Blaxill

We are one of the largest and oldest independent Builders Merchants in East Anglia so you can be assured of a wide range of quality products at keen prices provided with a highly responsive service.

We have twenty one branches throughout the region, for your convenience, offering varying levels of our complete range. It is always advisable to check stock availability and levels at your chosen branch before travelling.

Each branch also benefits from our inter-branch delivery service so if your chosen local branch doesn't stock an item from our product range you require, we can arrange for the item to be transferred to your local branch for collection, usually on a next day basis.

Our comprehensive stock lists are complemented by staff with the product knowledge and experience you will come to rely on.