The History of Everest
An eventful life for a brand that still aims to stand for quality and workmanship based on the vision of its founder.
Founded in 1965 as 'Home Insulation Ltd' in Waltham Abbey, to produce Aluminium Secondary glazing, it was created in the vision of one its founders David Kingsley to sell new glazing to post-war homes built with no insulation. It was a fortuitous time for Mr Kingsley to start in home improvements. The post-war years of austerity were at an end and living standards were improving considerably with a 40% increase in real wages between 1960 and 1965. More people owned their own homes - almost 50% by 1966. However, many homes were substandard either built in the post-war building boom with limited materials or dating back pre-war and had suffered from years of under-investment through the war years. Mr Kingsley's timing was impeccable and enabled the company to ride a 40-year boom in home improvements based on installing quality products.
Home Insulation Ltd's early success attracted many suitors and a drive to expand quickly lead to a merger with Pillar Aluminium holdings in 1968 which in turn was quickly acquired by Rio Tinto (the miner) to create Pillar RTZ. As the glazing range at that time was exclusively aluminium it gave the organisations direct access to retail markets and as producers of raw materials, they could command premium prices for their product.
From early on Mr Kingsley's aim was to make the best products on the market so the brand could stand apart from competitors. Everest windows where frequently independently tested and always came back as the best. From this, the brand ambition to 'fit the best' was born and in the 70s this maxim became the cornerstone of the brand. It was also around this time that the company began using the brand name of Everest for the first time. Adopted by the management as it was felt that it summed up the organisation as the biggest and most well-known producer in the industry.
The brand went from strength to strength through the 70s launching new products such as aluminium double glazing and something truly revolutionary, the sliding patio door. At the time glass had been used sparingly to avoid draughts but the patio door marked a landmark change in a wider trend to dispense with the traditional format of several smaller rooms that could be heated by a fireplace. Instead, the patio door heralded open-plan living and the opportunity to connect the home and the garden. This was not about heating and formality but a more informal approach to design more around fun, fashion and impressing friends.
The 70s and 80s were the brands' heyday and turned Everest into a household name. The company advertised avidly through the oil-driven recession of the 70s helping to firmly establish the brand as the leading double glazing company. In 1978 the brand recruited Ted Moult, a farmer turned TV personality who had come to fame coming second on a TV quiz show called Brain of Britain. He was perceived as the perfect frontman for the brand being down to earth, authoritative and lovable in his own inimitable way. It was also at this time that the feather was added and the famous Tan Hill Inn (the highest pub in the UK) was used to showcase how effective our windows were at reducing draughts.
The range and products offered continued to expand with the introduction in 1984 of uPVC which has underpinned the company's product range ever since. This wonder material offers a light, robust and cost-effective material for creating window frames. The material has pretty much singlehandedly defined the modern UK glazing style, so much so you'll struggle to find a street in the UK which does not have a home with uPVC frames.
This accelerated growth driven by the introduction of uPVC frames and heavy advertising made the company a perfect fit for Caradon. Caradon was a tinning company by history but was developing a large diversified company offering building supplies such as plumbing and electricals. Buying the Everest brand enabled it to expand its reach and it became a large player in the supply of windows and doors through the 80s and early 90s. However, the conglomerate was hard hit by the building depression of the early 90s and sold the business in 1999 to Latium enterprises owned by entrepreneur Brian Kennedy.
By this time the large UK demand for replacements of single glazing had largely been satisfied and since 2000 the market has been restrained towards the replacement of replacements.
A positive step forward came in 2003 with the introduction of building regulations that finally bought in a measure of performance rating with the introduction of U-Values. These drove an improvement in glazing with many companies up until that time manufacturing windows that were not fit for purpose. Windows fitted in the 80s, for example, would never have come near this rating and homeowners over the last 20 years have been upgrading their windows to the new standards.
However, this and local competition continued to dent Everest's market share with strong growth now in the past. In 2012 Better Capital, bought the brand from Brian Kennedy intending to regain its previous crown as the market leader and to get the company into better financial shape after the exuberance of the 90s. This turnaround was almost complete with the company back on track to profit, until the Pandemic of 2020 hit the company.
In Mach 2020 the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic had far-reaching impacts on the entire home improvement industry with a limit placed on home visits to install windows. Everest lost all revenue in a matter of days and was not in a viable position at that time to continue. The board decided the only course of action to save the brand was to put the company up for sale. Better Capital has always had a belief in the company and following an auction involving 12 companies, it was the highest bidder and once again invested in the organisation, saving the livelihoods of over 1,000 staff who were both full-time staff and associated self-employed agents.
It's true to say that the brand has had an exciting life riding the post-war building boom, but at the heart of this has always been a drive to create market-leading products.
Everest still manages a dedicated UK manufacturing base with 2 factories in the UK based in Sittingbourne in Kent for uPVC Windows and Conservatories and Treherbert in the Upper Rhonda Valley in Wales producing Aluminium and Timber products.
Having been established for so long we're proud that Treherbert and Sittingbourne are close-knit places. Communities where everyone knows everyone and a family atmosphere has prevailed at the factories over the years. Families and friends have worked for us - fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers and cousins. The culture has changed as the times have changed but the warm and friendly feel has remained.
Our sales teams are made up of self-employed agents some of who have worked with the company for over 40 years. Our Sales Director has been with the organisation over 20 years working his way up through the ranks. Our head office teams are also made up of long term serving staff who all carry their knowledge of the double glazing business forward intending to carry on the vision of our founder to 'fit the best'.
We've actually used other home improvement companies in the past but the quality never quite matched up to Everest.
Mr & Mrs Scott