Thomas Crapper comes home to Yorkshire

Thomas Crapper’s name rarely fails to elicit a laugh from those who have never heard of this famous Yorkshireman and talented toilet designer.Born into a working class household in Thorne, near Doncaster, the enterprising Victorian plumber began his eponymous company in 1861 in London. He invented, improved and specialised in top quality “lavatorial equipment” and opened the world’s first bath, toilet and sink showroom in London.Those who have period properties lust after his loos and his products are still found in some of the most prestigious buildings in the world, including Westminster Abbey, royal homes and palaces, stately homes, museums and luxury hotels.

Now, Thomas Crapper has come back to his Yorkshire roots after Huddersfield-based family business Hartford Holdings bought the brand.Over the past three years, Hartford has executed a careful expansion plan, growing the number of retailers from just 15 to 75 and increasing the product range from 50 to 250.“The business had been operating from a converted stable block in Stratford-upon-Avon and the HQ had the feel of a little curiosity shop, packed to the rafters with antique fittings and original design drawings and 150-year-old patent documents,” says Paul Dwyer, managing director of Thomas Crapper, which is best known for manufacturing Trojan baths.The new Thomas Crapper products include sophisticated black cisterns and sleek modern style taps that sit alongside the classics and 99.5 percent of them are made in England.

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Paul Dwyer says: “When we bought Thomas Crapper, we knew we’d hit upon a gem of a business. There is so much affection and loyalty for the brand but there was huge scope for development. Whilst we want to remain true to the company’s roots and intend to continue providing the classic, heritage pieces the brand is famous for, we have ambitious plans to become a household name that goes far beyond that.

“Thomas Crapper himself was an innovator; his inventions include the ball-cock flushing valves, various waste-water valve mechanisms and the first bathroom showroom at a time when it was considered brazen to have toilets on public display.“Our aim is to continue in that spirit of innovation.“Thomas Crapper was a Yorkshireman so there’s a real sense of the brand coming home. We’ve got every intention of it becoming one of the county’s biggest brand success stories.”*www.thomas-crapper.comA life flush with successThomas Crapper was born in Thorne, South Yorkshire, in 1836. His father, Charles, was a sailor. In 1853, he was apprenticed to his brother, George, a master plumber in Chelsea.In 1861, Crapper set himself up as a sanitary engineer with his own brass foundry and workshops in London. Prince Edward who bought 30 of his lavatories for his country seat at Sandringham, giving Crapper his first Royal Warrant. Edward as king placed further orders as did King George V.