It was a time for celebration earlier this month, as the world’s oldest brush manufacturer Kent Brushes, commemorated two achievements: their 240th anniversary and the official presentation of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, by her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the County of Hertfordshire, Mr Robert Voss CBE DL.
The special luncheon, which took place in the grounds of Chairman of Kent Brushes, Alan Cosby’s family home in Hemel Hempstead, saw 70 employees past and present and special guests attend to celebrate receiving the UK’s highest accolade for international business success, as well as the company’s landmark birthday.
After a celebratory speech by Alan charting the history of the brand, which produces over 250 different brushes and is the only brush manufacturer to have held the prestigious Royal Warrant for nine consecutive reigns, Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire presented the award and a special scroll signed by Her Majesty the Queen. Speaking of Kent’s achievements he said:
“As the new Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire this is my first presentation of a Queen’s Award and it’s very special to present something to a company that is 240 years old and started in 1777. It’s an amazing achievement as Kent Brushes really are part of history.
“The average lifespan of a company in the UK is 20 years. 50% of SMEs don’t survive the first five years as they fail to follow their customers’ needs and track what their competitors are doing. Kent have obviously done both very successfully and for a long time gone from strength to strength.
“Heritage brands are very respected across the world and Kent are now exporting to over 64 countries and going strong. Therefore, it is with enormous pride that I’m delighted to present this award.”
Alan Cosby, Chairman and Managing Director of Kent Brushes commented:
“240 years is a landmark in our history. Kent Brushes was started by William Kent in 1777 aged just 24 years old, at a time where there was no electricity, that came in 1831, no telephones, they arrived in 1876 and no light bulbs, they arrived in 1879. All production was handmade, when basic steam powered driven factory machines were in their infancy. Deliveries were made on horseback.
“We have experienced many good times and survived various recessions by hunkering down, improving our techniques, our labour force, automation, innovation and market expansion.
“From the design of the products we sell to the intricate production, construction, packing and shipping, our achievements are only possible because of the entire team’s involvement and I thank them all for their dedication. We have proudly been known as providers of the world’s finest brushes since 1777 and I hope that our success as a family business continues for the next 240 years and beyond.”