Traditional values combined with modern working practices make Wardgroup a name you can trust
Thomas Ward was born near Preston in 1851 and moved to Barrow around the age of 10 following the death of his mother.
At this time in the mid 1800s the town of Barrow in Furness was growing rapidly, prospering from the rich iron ore deposits, the rapid expansion of the iron and steel industry and the developing shipyard.
As the population grew there was an obvious need for housing and infrastructure and young entrepreneur Thomas , at the tender age of 21, saw the potential and established his business in Crellin Street which he named T. Ward to furnish the needs of the rapidly expanding town providing Plumbing, Decorating and Glazing services.
Thomas prospered and soon moved to new premises in the newly constructed Dalton Road where he became a well respected businessman. Unfortunately he died relatively young in 1896 and his widow Isabella had to take charge of the business until eldest son George Ernest was old enough to inherit the company at which time it became known as T. Ward & Son. George Ernest developed and transformed the business over the next 40 years to become one of the area’s best known company names offering services in decorating, glazing, installation of bathrooms and the innovative gas systems of the time. It boasted large stocks of chandeliers, brackets, hall lamps, lead, oils, varnish, wallpapers and flat glass. The business was incorporated in 1927 and has been known as T. Ward & Son Ltd ever since.
After George Ernest died, son Cedric had to wait until his return from service in the Second World War to inherit the business. Cedric continued the well established company traditions and he himself became a well known businessman personality and local councillor in the area. Cedric`s innovation was moving into the window installation market and in particular double glazing. Under Cedric`s leadership the company became the first in the area to fabricate and install UPVC windows and doors.
From the 1980s to present day the company has been run by the Redshaw family
In 1986 Cedric had to deal with a catastrophe when the business headquarters in Dalton Road burned down destroying decades of important records. Having moved the operation to two separate sites in Cavendish St and Emlyn St and with no willing family heir to continue the family tradition Cedric negotiated the sale of 50% of the business to local entrepreneur and close friend Peter Redshaw who himself came from a well known and respected local family. His father being Sir Leonard Redshaw who is one of history’s most renowned and innovative master shipbuilders.
On Cedric`s retirement in 1991 Peter Redshaw bought the remainder of the company. The Ward association continued however with Cedric`s son David, a local Chartered Accountant, remaining as a company director for several years.
Having occupied various premises in the town, most notably in Dalton Road and Emlyn St. the company has now moved its operation to premises on Furness Business Park continuing to thrive in the same traditional practices and benefiting from the expertise, skills and knowledge that have been passed down through many generations over its 140 years history.
The business has survived two world wars and numerous recessions but still flourishes in the same fields that Thomas had the foresight to establish all those years before.
In 2016 Wardgroup launched their first online store, when they launched www.wardgroupinteriors.co.uk to initially sell wallpaper products to the UK mainland.
The Ward name remains as a tribute to its proud heritage and the current workforce are the entrusted custodians of the company’s name, traditional values and history.