History in the making

Kent Blaxill’s175th anniversary celebration day was joined by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg who made a surprise visit to congratulate the company.

Directors and their families were already planning to commemorate the event with a horse and carriage trip through Colchester, past the company’s numerous former High Street premises to the Town Hall for tea with the mayor.

But the unexpected visit of the deputy prime minister was the icing on the cake, according to Kent Blaxill managing director Simon Blaxill. “It is a very good day for us. One-hundred-and-seventy-five is a big birthday. Sir Bob Russell (Colchester MP) has always been a big supporter of our company and it was a nice anniversary surprise to have Nick Clegg with us as well. He was very interested in the fact we have been here along time and have got employees who are very loyal to us. About 10% of them have worked here for more than 25 years".

Mr Clegg met both young and long-serving employees, including assistant showroom manager Laura Downing, 23, who began her Kent Blaxill career as an apprentice, as well as watching a hi-tech glass-cutting demonstration by Robin Coe. Mr Clegg, while acknowledging that national economic recovery was taking longer than hoped, pointed to the ongoing success of businesses like Kent Blaxill. “I am very happy to be here on such a successful day,” he said.

After Mr Clegg’s visit, directors mounted the horse and carriage for their trip into the centre of the town and along the High Street past former KB premises at 3A, 60 and 100-104, before enjoying tea with Mayor Christopher Arnold.During its long history, the company has been closely entwined with the commercial, civic and social growth of the town.

In the evening the company held a reception at Colchester’s new firstsite arts centre where there was also an exhibition of historic photographs and artefacts.

Mayor Arnold paid tribute to the contribution Kent Blaxill and the men who ran it have made to Colchester. “They were some of the great men of Colchester responsible for helping to shape it into the town we know today.”

He concluded that he hoped Kent Blaxill would continue to prosper for the next 100 years.

Horse and cart ride down Colchester High StreetNick Clegg at Kent Blaxill
Nick Clegg at Kent Blaxill
Nick Clegg is given a glass demonstration at Kent Blaxill
Kent Blaxill Horse and Cart ride
Nick Clegg meets the Kent Blaxill Horse and Cart
Directors and Family at the Town Hall
Interested observers at the Kent Blaxill First Site Exhibition