The lightbulb moment a business was born – and what our heritage means for our customers

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Our 60th anniversary is a diamond year for Oliver Lamps – and we’ve been inspired by just how special that is for our customers, too.

Our business was born when founder Harold Oliver O.B.E hit a lighting problem at his public house and decided to find the solution himself. Since then, we have put our customers first, seeking out lighting options that will deliver the results they need and providing exceptional service. As we look back at six decades in the business, we’re proud to have built a reputation for quality and care.

Here’s what the story of our past means for our customers of today.

Back in the day:

During the Second World War, Squadron Leader Harold Oliver O.B.E served in the Royal Air Force. Like many of our brave fighters, he faced incredible hardship and terrifying situations, but there was one particular ambition that kept him going. He dreamed of owning a pub in the Norfolk countryside, with roses around the door, where you could congregate with your friends and share food, drink, and good conversation. Quite simply, this was Harold’s idea of Heaven.

In 1953, Harold left the RAF made that dream a reality as he and wife Muriel Oliver B.M.E bought the Rose & Crown in Great Massingham, north Norfolk. While her husband was flying high, Muriel had worked for gastronomic pioneer Egon Ronay and trained as a chef at Le Cordon Bleu. So, while Harold created a wonderful welcoming bar-room experience, Muriel developed a menu to die for, and Great Massingham’s first gastropub was born.

Fast forward to today:

What Harold and Muriel knew instinctively is that running a successful business is all about creating the right atmosphere. In the pub trade, that meant getting all the details spot on – including the lighting. For our customers, lighting can play a huge role in setting the tone in their spaces – whether that’s a cosy bistro, a factory where the workforce deals with intricate pieces, or a living room where a family likes to wind down and relax. Our team looks beyond wattage and shape of a bulb to explore the bigger picture, so our customers will get the effect they are looking for.

Back in the day:

The Rose & Crown was a roaring success for the Olivers, but something was grating on Harold – the lighting. The cheap, nasty bulbs provided by his supplier didn’t last long and didn’t offer the quality of light he wanted in his inviting pub. Frustrated by what was on offer, Harold travelled to London to ask the big players in the world of lighting what the alternatives were. After conversations with Phillips and Osram, Harold spoke to the head of Omega Electric Lamps and was offered a deal that would change his life. Omega Electric Lamps would make 100,000 lightbulbs for Harold in a mix of 25, 40 and 60 watts and give him three months’ credit to sell them.

Fast forward to today:

This strategic partnership was the genesis of Oliver Lamps. Harold was a publican with a problem, but through tenacity and deal-making he started a lighting company. Today, the company works with Amitex, a manufacturer which spotted our potential to reach customers in search of quality LED lighting and helped us develop our own range. Thanks to our relationship with Amitex, we can deliver bespoke bulbs to meet the exact needs of our clientele. Not only can they rely on us to provide great-quality LED lighting for a common purpose, but we can offer a truly unique option, too.

Back in the day:

Needless to say, Harold sold all 100,000 bulbs, many to publicans facing the same issues he’d experienced. His success saw the birth of Oliver Lamps and, as the business expanded, the family moved to London to set up a factory and head office. This successful expansion was made possible by hiring talented people. The combination of great products sold by excellent sales people was a winning combination

Fast forward to today:

The people who work for us make it their business to know what our customers need. We recruit employees who understand that our service and expertise make us stand out in a busy marketplace, and our team is like a family. There’s an authenticity that’s always been a hallmark of Oliver Lamps, and we are proud to have built customer trust and support by being honest, helpful, and future-focused.

Back in the day:

In 1976, Harold’s son Stewart joined the firm and became a salesperson. The Oliver family had moved the business back to Norfolk, to the picturesque village of Burnham Market, where the old schoolhouse became their new head office. Just a year later, Stewart took over as Harold retired after a period of bad health. The boom years of the 80s and 90s saw great success for Oliver Lamps so, when the Government started changing the laws around incandescent bulbs in the late 90s, the company had the resilience to weather the storm.

Fast forward to today:

Stewart remains our CEO, and he’s seen the industry change immeasurably over the past 40 years. These days, it’s all about LED lighting, with halogen and incandescent bulbs being phased out. By working with Amitex, our company has been able to meet the demand for high-quality LED lighting and carved out a unique position in the market with our bespoke bulb offering. We’ve also moved into the fixtures and fittings market and provide free installation by an expert team. This means our customers can get great advice, the right products, and hassle-free installation by shopping with us.

So whether you know what you want, or you’d like some expert advice, Oliver Lamps is here to help. Like the day we started, our company is here to serve you – and we’ll do everything we can to ensure our products and our service meet your expectations.

 

Here’s to the next 60 years!