The Wilkinson family has been making kitchenwares since 1888.
The Wilkinson Heritage
FIRST GENERATION The Foundation: Robert Wilkinson
Robert Wilkinson (1838-1899) spent much of his life working in an iron foundry as a metal grinder, which led to his son Luther Wilkinson following him into this trade
Trading Up: Luther Wilkinson
Luther began selling various metal wares, including bakeware, on Burnley Market in Lancashire, England.
In 1887 Luther formed a partnership with a fellow market trader and by 1888 they had founded a large factory to produce their wares – the Beatall Works, Burnley.
The War Years: George Wilkinson
Two of Luther’s sons, Luther (Junior) & George, continued in Housewares production, while their brother Harold served in the Great War. Harold was quickly promoted from Private to Sergeant, before being lost in action at just 20 years old in March 1917. George founded his own factory George Wilkinson (Burnley) Limited and proceeded to develop his own range of
assorted kitchenwares. Their respective factories concentrated on supporting the vital task of food packaging during the war years.
London Stock Exchange: Cecil Wilkinson
Cecil, son of George and father himself to Ian, Jim, Mark & Simon, ran the family business very successfully for many years. Supported by his brother Alan and his sister Joan’s husband, Arthur Layfield, the company went from strength to strength and was sold by the family in 1979 to a London quoted PLC.
Innovation & Growth: Ian Wilkinson
Ian worked his first week in the family-owned factory during a
school holiday in 1968. He ultimately became Manufacturing Director. Ian made with his own hands, the first ever samples of pre-coated bakeware in the world, in the George Wilkinson factory. In 1985 Ian and his brother Jim, founded Wilkinson Housewares Limited. This company, at its peak, made more bakeware than any other factory in Europe. Ian sold control of the business and after serving as Managing Director for several more years, Ian took his experience to China to found Wilkinson China Limited in China and Wilkinson 1888 Ltd in the UK.
Continued Innovation and Broadening
Global Supply: Sally Wilkinson-Kennedy & Alice Wilkinson
After 20 years in large multinational manufacturing businesses, Sally joined her father Ian, during a period of successful growth and innovation. Since investing in the development of our Wilkinson China team in Guangzhou, we have supplied both Wilkinson 1888 branded products and dozens of popular private label ranges to over 40 different global retailers, either FOB China or via our close network of respected local distributors. Never happy standing still, we have patented several new exciting products in the last few years and have more in the pipeline.
Alice Wilkinson is the creative force behind all of the new recipes available on our website www.wilkinson1888.co.uk
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.
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.
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.
“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)