The Wilkinson family has been making kitchenwares since 1888.

The Wilkinson Heritage

The legacy of the Wilkinson family in kitchenware manufacturing spans over a century and five generations, commencing with the industrious endeavours of Robert Wilkinson, the patriarch of the clan.

FIRST GENERATION: The Foundation                  

Robert Wilkinson (1838-1899) honed his craft as a metal grinder in an iron foundry, laying the groundwork for his son Luther Wilkinson to follow suit.

SECOND GENERATION: Trading Up

Luther Wilkinson ventured into entrepreneurship by setting up a stall in Burnley Market during the late 1800s, peddling various products including clog irons and domestic appliances. In 1888, he joined forces with former coalminer William Morris to establish a workshop dedicated to crafting diverse hardware. As William pursued a different path within the Salvation Army, Luther assumed sole proprietorship of the thriving enterprise. With modest beginnings, the business relied on a pony and cart for transportation, with Luther’s wife, Sarah, also playing a paid, pivotal role in its operations. Their hard work and sacrifice laid a sturdy foundation for future growth.

In 1915, the acquisition of the BEATALL factory propelled the company’s expansion and diversified its product range to encompass a wide range of domestic appliances. Despite the tragedy of losing their son Harold Cecil Wilkinson in World War 1, Luther pressed forward, integrating his other sons into the company’s leadership.

THIRD GENERATION: Luther’s Spirited Sons

Luther’s remaining sons, Luther Jnr. and George, carried the torch of housewares production into the next generation. While George ventured to establish his own factory, maintaining an amicable rivalry with his brother, both enterprises played crucial roles in supplying hardware during World War 2.

FOURTH GENERATION: Peace & Prosperity

Cecil Wilkinson, Luther Jnr’s nephew and father himself to 4 boys, managed the family business supported by his brother Alan, his sister Joan and her husband, Arthur Layfield. Under the steady stewardship of Cecil, the well-reputed, family business flourished, enjoying sustained success until its eventual sale to a publicly listed company in 1979.

FIFTH GENERATION: Innovation & Growth

Ian Wilkinson, alongside his older brother Jim, marked a new era of innovation and expansion. Joining the family enterprise at a young age, Ian spearheaded groundbreaking initiatives, including the development of Teflon© pre-coated bakeware. Ian’s entrepreneurial spirit and Jim’s commercial capabilities led to the establishment of Wilkinson Housewares Limited, a venture that dominated European bakeware production. Ian’s subsequent ventures in China and the UK further solidified the family’s presence in the global market.

SIXTH GENERATION: Wilkinson 1888

Today, Ian’s eldest daughter, Sally Wilkinson, stands alongside him, representing the sixth generation of Wilkinson kitchenware craftsmanship. Their dedication to quality and tradition, prompted the registration of the trademark “Wilkinson 1888”. This, in addition to their famous “Beatall” trademark,  pays homage to over a century of familial legacy in the industry. Through resilience, innovation, and unwavering commitment, the Wilkinson family continues to shape the landscape of kitchenware development, manufacturing and supply, worldwide.

Wilkinson 1888 Limited©

Our Values

Quality

All products that we supply are fully compliant with the relevant industry quality standards. No matter what the customer specification is for our products, our quality assurance and control measures ensure that we deliver on it and at excellent value. Our lean, expert-led UK team works in efficient partnership with our integrated, well-established Chinese vendor-management team.

Integrity

We respect and uphold our 130 year old reputation, by delivering what we promise to our customers and ensuring responsible manufacturing practices are in place in all our suppliers. We work ethically with our Chinese sister company to include flexible-working arrangements, fair pay & benefits and a profit-share scheme. Consequently, we reap the rewards that come with exceptionally low staff turnover, high engagement, trust and knowledge sharing.

Innovation

Don’t let the photos of our ancestors trick you into thinking we are stuck in the past. The Wilkinson family have always been at the forefront of award-winning, housewares innovation – that’s why we are still here after over 130 years in the industry. Ian Wilkinson pioneered the world’s very first pre-coated bakeware. This method then spread rapidly across Europe and other parts of the world. The last few years have brought PushPan®, Vulcan®, Baking Brick® into kitchens across the globe and we have more in the pipeline.

Testimonials

“Wilkinson 1888 made the effort to meet face-to-face with us at our Head Office in Illanois, USA. His knowledge and passion for the housewares sector is inspiring and he has an interesting long family story to tell. We only really talked business once he’d got back to his office in China. Quite refreshing”
– Large Retailer, USA

“Many of our innovative products have been born out of a discussion with Ian Wilkinson. He is very giving with his expertise and ideas, even when there’s no apparent financial interest for him”
– Large French Cookware Retailer

“Wilkinson have supplied our fastest growing range of cookware. Their team in China have been consistent and reliable over the last few years and we have awarded further business as a result”
– European supermarket

“Nicole and her team (Guangzhou) are organized and respected by our factory. We have good understanding of each other. We have had a long business (even though) there are other new partner factories in China. They work with us so we are clear on the important standards.”
– Aluminium Fabriction Factory, China

“We have partnered Wilkinson in the development of our own products and licensed patented design concepts to apply to our own beautiful bakeware”
– European Manufacturer

“Wilkinson 1888 managed to both undercut our last supplier and improve the quality 5-fold. We have a strong and open relationship and they have recently, effectively restricted the impact of Chinese factory inflation which was key for the success of our introduction-level ranges”
– Large Retailer, USA

“We have had a great relationship with Wilkinson since 2011. Despite an ongoing agent relationship, the value they have supplied us with to date has been unparalleled”
– Online Retailer, Australia

“We have worked closely with Ian on technical developments for our own bakeware and cookware ranges. We have awarded him certain items of bakeware business to supply under own reputable label where the value and quality required has necessitated alternative sourcing methods and this has been delivered satisfactorily”
– Housewares Manufacturer/Brand Leader, Germany

“As a Distributor, we choose to use Ian for his excellent China-based, vendor management arrangements and strong network of quality Chinese factories. His quotes usually beat those of our customers’ global sourcing teams, even when they are China-based themselves”
– Large Country Distributor (requested anonymity)

Awards