As an industry, we are often quite proud about the age of our businesses. The longer the better. Some have been around for quite a while, some long enough to say that their business even has a heritage. So that got me thinking, what is the oldest window and doors company in the UK? I don’t know that answer myself, so as I often do when these sorts of questions pop into my head, I consult the Twittersphere. And as reliably as ever, someone came up with a suggestion to the question:

[xyz-ihs snippet=”oldcompany”]

Allan Brothers, if you clicked the link and had a nosey, are an impressive 203 years old! This is how the company describes themselves on their websites:

Founded by William Allan in 1811, Allan Brothers is Britain’s longest established joinery specialist. Over the last 200 years, we’ve amassed a wealth of knowledge in working with timber and developed an enviable reputation for quality, craftsmanship and service.

Allan Brothers strives to be at the forefront of the timber window and door industry, developing high-performance products that offer style, security and performance without making a negative impact on the environment.

In 2007 we became part of the Inwido Group, Northern Europe’s largest producer of innovative, environmentally friendly, wood-based window and door solutions.

The combination of 200 years of British craftsmanship with Scandinavian performance and design has created a range of timber products that will add value to your home for years to come.

From the website, Allan Brothers


To put their age into perspective, the company has lived through these key historic milestones:

  • 1812 – Napoleon’s army is defeated and retreats from Russia
  • 1820 – King George III dies
  • 1846 – Great Potato Famine in Ireland
  • 1854 – Crimean War
  • 1876 – Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone
  • 1878 – Thomas Edison develops first electric light
  • 1899 – Boer War starts in South Africa
  • 1901 – Queen Victoria dies and Edward VII becomes King
  • 1903 – Wright brothers make first controlled flight in aeroplane
  • 1903 – Henry Ford designs first mass produced cars
  • 1910 – George V becomes King
  • 1914 – beginning of the First World War
  • 1918 – end of the First World War
  • 1918 – Spanish Influenza kills 50-100 million people worldwide
  • 1924 – Stalin becomes Premier of Russia
  • 1928 – Sir Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin
  • 1933 – Hitler becomes Dictator
  • 1939 – start of the Second World War
  • 1940 – Winston Churchill becomes UK Prime Minister
  • 1940 – Battle of Britain
  • 1944 – D-Day Landings
  • 1945 – end of Second World War
  • 1945 – Clement Atlee becomes UK Prime Minister
  • 1945 – UN formed
  • 1949 – NATO formed
  • 1950 – Korean War begins
  • 1952 – King George VI dies, Queen Elizabeth II becomes Queen
  • 1953 – Korean War ends
  • 1961 – Cuban missile crisis
  • 1961 – Berlin Wall built
  • 1969 – Neil Armstrong first man to walk on the moon
  • 1979 – Margaret Thatcher becomes UK Prime Minister
  • 1982 – Falklands War
  • 1989 – fall of Berlin Wall
  • 1999 – Euro currency launched

It’s a bit of a long list, which still doesn’t cover the main world events of the last 15 years, but it goes to show how much the Allan Brothers business have traded through in term of history. It’s amazing to think a business in our own industry has seen such massive change in the world over two centuries.

I think we often forget that are dark and dusty corners of our industry which can be classed as ancient. Because the modern double glazing industry starts up and kicks out companies that span decades rather than anything more than that, we don’t appreciate that there are a few gems out there making into three figures.

The Allan Brothers aren’t the only ones able to say their company stretches back over 100 years. For example, George Barnsdale in Lincolnshire have been making timber windows and doors since 1884 and have this year celebrated their 130th year in business. Both amazing feats for Crittall and George Barnsdale.

But, are Allan Brothers the oldest trading window and doors company in the UK? At 203 years old, they certainly have a shout at that title. But I want to know if you know of any other companies out there older than the Allan Brothers. If you do, please leave your suggestions in the comments section below!