Nicholls & Clarke are proud to celebrate 140 years of trading this year. Established in 1875, the company started life servicing the capitals building trades from the heart of London, Shoreditch High Street. In 1875, Samuel Nicholls founded the business as glass, lead, oil and colour merchants, which he expanded in the 1880’s to include Sanitaryware and Architectural Ironmongery.
At the turn of the century, Nicholls & Clarke continued to strengthen through inventions and innovations. The firm began experimenting with ready mixed paint, leading to the invention of the first emulsion paint. The later involvement in supplying tiles developed following the company manufacturing fireplace surrounds. In 1958, N&C developed ready-mixed tile cement, an industry innovation, which eventually resulted in the company distributing tiles on a large scale and manufacturing adhesives. Today, our tile business operates from 7 distribution centres and a total of 17 retail showrooms nationwide, in addition to our manufacturing plant at Stoke-on-Trent.
In the early 1970’s the sanitaryware department began offering products designed for the elderly and disabled as well as producing its own specialist equipment under the name, Phlexicare. This focus led N&C to design the world’s first raised height toilet pan, half height shower doors and the RADAR lock for exclusive toilet facilities for disabled clients. This area of business, like many others, had developed into a leading brand operating on a widescale across the UK and internationally. A number of core Phlexicare products are manufactured at our factory in the Czech Republic.
With a breadth of invaluable experience and expertise developed over 140 years, Nicholls & Clarke have flourished into major UK manufacturers, distributors and retailers of building products with a successful exports division. The history of Nicholls & Clarke is broad and reflects the social and economic history of the country over three centuries of change.