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40

years seems a long time, almost a lifetime and yet it has gone by in a flash - or at least a blur. As I look at the Company now, one of the longest established British stove manufacturers selling fires to all corners of the globe I can’t help thinking

that this certainly wasn’t part of our vision when we started back in February 1972. The main aim then was to make enough money to enable us to eat and pay the mortgage. In one sense it hasn’t changed only now, with around 180 employees, it is more mouths to feed and more mortgages to pay.

There have been many milestones along the road; the 70’s oil crisis and Dutch Elm disease launched us on the path to selling fires and, because nobody made a decent small stove, making wood burning and multifuel stoves. This meant our chosen profession of metal fabricators and agricultural machinery repairers was gone forever as we embraced the brave new world. The late 80s saw the investment in an enamelling plant, initially to enamel our stoves, and the start of our thriving signage division. It also nearly bust us as (another) recession hit the country. It was possibly only the fact that banks couldn’t sell houses in a depressed market that we stayed afloat!

But stay afloat we did and our Company grew with more products - both stoves and signs - more markets, more staff and of course more Wells’ and here we are 40 years on. What has been the basis of our ‘success’ and longevity? We have great people. Our staff and the family have done amazing things over the years to produce great products and give great service - for them we are truly grateful. We have wonderful customers who are enthusiastic about our products. It is said customers make paydays possible - that is true and we are privileged to know many of our customers as friends. And, finally, God has been good to us. It has not always (rarely) been easy and we have had many ups and downs, but as one who has trodden every day of the past 40 years, I can honestly appreciate and concur with what God says in the Bible “I will never leave you neither will I forsake you.”

JOHN WELLS • Managing Director of A.J Wells & Sons Ltd.


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Alfred J Wells with his wife Eileen and their nine children. Standing from left: Alistair, Pete, Alan, John, Tim and Phil. Seated from left: Alfred with Roger, Eileen, Pam and Paul.

1970


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NITON Established in 1972, by Alfred Wells and two of his sons. Started as a small engineering business in Niton on the Isle of Wight.

1972


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NITON Alfred Wells, Phil Wells and John Wells at the Niton workshop.

1972


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IRONWORKS In addition to tractor and machinery repairs the company diversified into ironworks creating gates, railings and fire escapes for homes and hotels across the Island.

1973


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IRONWORKS & FIRE HOODS Work also included freestanding fireplaces.

1974


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THE BEACON A combination of the 70s oil crisis and the spread of Dutch Elm Disease in the UK led to the company producing their first woodburning stove. Oil prices had rocketed but there was a plentiful supply of wood so consumers were looking at alternative ways in which to heat their homes. The Charnwood Beacon Stove was born.

1974


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THE BEACON BROCHURE The first stove leaflet was block printed by Island printers Crossprint - the same company we use to print our brochures today.

1975


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THE BEACON The first marketing image complete with dog.

1976


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THE NITON WORKSHOP

1977


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THE CHARNWOOD CH The success of the Beacon led to development of a second stove the CH:. an 11KW stove with a vitreous enamel exterior and double glazed doors.

1978


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THE CHARNWOOD CH

1979


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THE CHARNWOOD CHB Charnwood’s first purpose built boiler stove, the CHB was launched providing enough heat for hot water and 6 radiators.

1980


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WESTMINSTER LANE, NEWPORT A.J Wells & Sons soon out-grew the Niton workshop and moved to Westminster Lane in Newport.

1980


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THE CHARNWOOD LW The range of stoves continued to grow. The LW was launched in 1981 designed for the smaller room.

1981


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THE CHARNWOOD SW The SW was added to the range of stoves to cover potential heating requirement from 6kW to 11kW

1982


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STOVE SHOWS The Charnwood brand became more established as the company exhibited at agricultural shows across the UK

1982


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THE CHARNWOOD SW

1983


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LOCAL PRESS “During the last 6 years, the partnership of A.J Wells & Sons has established and successfully developed the business of assembling and marketing multi-fuel fires, selling widely at home and abroad. Throughout this period, the Bank [Lloyds] has fully supported this progress with essential finance and a range of other services”

1983


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THE CHARNWOOD CW 50 / 50B The Charnwood CW range was introduced starting with the freestanding CW50 and CW50B. This range included an innovative multi-fuel grate for burning many types of fuel.

1984


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THE CHARNWOOD CW 40 / 40B The CW 40 and CW 40B followed shortly afterwards

1985


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THE CHARNWOOD CW 40 / 40B

1986


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THE CHARNWOOD CW 20i / 45iB / 50iB Further additions to the CW range were introduced. These were designed to be inset into the wall.

1987


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THE CHARNWOOD CW 20i / 45iB / 50iB Wellington the Cocker Spaniel became the first ‘face’ of Charnwood

1988


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THE CHARNWOOD FIREFLOW Charnwood launched a revolutionary new stove concept. The fireflow was a self refuelling and ash clearing stove.

1989


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FIREFLOW The fireflow could be operated by remote control to control the amount of anthracite added to the fire to increase or decrease heat and flame. Weather man Michael Fish with Philip Wells

1989


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THE WELLS FAMILY MEMBERS IN THE BUSINESS


1989


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NEW VITREOUS ENAMEL PLANT In 1990 A.J Wells & Sons installed their own vitreous enamel plant enabling stoves to be enamelled in-house.This major investment was the start of a new direction for the company: A.J Wells & Sons Vitreous Enamellers.

1990


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THE CHARNWOOD FIRECLASS The Fireclass was bought to the market. European inspired with a single, vitreous enamel door.

1990


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THE BARBICAN CENTRE A.J Wells & Sons Vitreous Enamellers began to produce signage. Specified for it’s longlasting and durable finish. One of the first major contracts was the resigning of London’s Barbican Centre

1991


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VICTORIA COACH STATION Vitreous enamel cladding panels and signage.

1991


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LONDON UNDERGROUND The beginning of A.J Wells & Sons relationship with TFL - producing vitreous enamel signs, diagrams and cladding for the iconic London Underground

1992


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THE CHARNWOOD COUNTRY 8 The Charnwood Country 8 was launched. The new range had an exceptionally cleanburn airwash system and sophisticated riddling grate. Comedian Tommy Cannon with his Country 8

1992


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THE CHARNWOOD LA 20i / 30iB The LA (Local Authority) range was developed. This full central heating range was designed specifically for business and council properties.

1993


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THE CHARNWOOD COUNTRY 12 The success of the Country 8 led on to the expansion of the Country range. The 12kW Country 12 was designed for bigger homes and open plan living areas.

1993


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LONDON UNDERGROUND Work for London Underground continued to grow as we undertook complete station refurbishments producing everything from doorplates to cladding..

1994


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THE CHARNWOOD COUNTRY 6 The popular Country 6 was added to the Country range of stoves.

1995


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FACTORY MOVE TO BISHOPS WAY, NEWPORT The business outgrew the Westminster Lane site and in 1996 the company moved the entire outfit to one building on Bishops Way, Newport.

1996


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ANKI CHIMNEY SYSTEMS A.J Wells & Sons expanded the stove business by offering pumice chimney systems imported from Denmark.

1997


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THE CHARNWOOD COUNTRY 4 The iconic Country 4 was launched.

1998


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THE COUNTRY 14B The Country range expanded yet again with the launch of a full central heating boiler model - The Country 14B.

1999


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CHARNWOOD FRANCE The company began to investigate the French stove market. The first sales to France were made.

1999


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THE CHARNWOOD SLX Charnwood introduced the new SLX multifuel range. A contemporary enamelled twin door stove available as a roomheater or boiler model.

2000


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THE CHARNWOOD OLX Launched alongside the SLX the OLX was an oil fired central heating boiler model.

2000


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THE CHARNWOOD SLX

2001


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ALISTAIR

PETE

ALAN

THE WELLS FAMILY MEMBERS IN THE BUSINESS

JOHN

PAUL


PHIL

HUGH

MARK

CED

SAM

GUY

2002


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BODJ PRODUCTS Charnwood began working alongside Bright Arrows Development Ltd. in Cambodia to develop a range of ethically sourced fireside accessories and hearth tiles to complement the stoves.

2002


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THE CHARNWOOD ISLAND I & II The Island range was launched at the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes on the Isle of Wight . Pheobe the black Labrador was unveiled as the new ‘face’ of Charnwood.

2002


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CHARNWOOD PREMIER DEALERS Coinciding with the launch of the Island range Charnwood established it’s Premier Dealership scheme carefully selecting the best UK and Irish stoveshops to sell exclusive Charnwood products.

2002


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THE CHARNWOOD GROSVENOR Based on the Country 4 the Grosvenor gas fired stove was brought to market.

2002


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CHARNWOOD EXHIBITIONS Charnwood continued to tour the UK’s agricultural shows with live display show trailers.

2003


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CHARNWOOD FRANCE The company exhibited for the first time at the Batimat trade fair in Paris. Soon after a permanent French office was established.

2003


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THE CHARNWOOD ISLAND III The 12kW Island III was added to the range.

2003


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THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW A.J Wells & Sons Vitreous Enamellers hit the headlines as they assisted celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin Chelsea Flower Show entry. The project was filmed as part of a BBC documentary.

2004


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THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW Five thousand vitreous enamelled balls formed part of Diarmuid Gavin’s garden pod

2004


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CHARNWOOD JAPAN Export markets continued to grow for Charnwood. Moving into Japan ...

2004


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CHARNWOOD SOUTH AFRICA ... and into South Africa

2004


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CHARNWOOD REBRANDED The new Charnwood logo and branding was launched.

2004


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EXHIBITIONS Charnwood continue to exhibit internationally and across the UK.

2004


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THE CHARNWOOD COVE 2 & 3 The Charnwood Cove range was launched at Priory Bay Country House. Over 100 guests from around the world arrived by Hovercraft - landing on the beach.

2005


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THE CHARNWOOD COVE 3 The Charnwood Cove 3 was designed to burn a 50cm log - ideal for the rapidly expanding French market

2005


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SOUTHERN A.J Wells & Sons Vitreous Enamellers re-signed the entire Southern railway network - 148 stations in total.

2005


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BODJ BASKETWARE Charnwood began working with a number of small basket producers to add to their fair trade fireside range.

2005


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THE CHARNWOOD COVE 1 The small 5kW Cove 1 completed the Cove range.

2006


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WESTMINSTER MURAL A.J Wells & Sons Vitreous Enamellers created a mural celebrating the partnership between Westminster station and the Royal Navy Frigate HMS Westminster. It was one of the largest hand printed photographic artworks in enamel ever produced.

2006


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THE CHARNWOOD ISLAND IIIB The Island IIIB full central heating stove was launched.

2007


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THE CHARNWOOD COUNTRY 16B The Country 16B full central heating stove was launched.

2007


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DOCKLANDS LIGHT RAILWAY A.J Wells & Sons Vitreous Enamellers manufactured much of the new DLR signage in preparation for the 2012 Olympics.

2007


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THE CHARNWOOD COVE 2B The Cove 2B full central heating stove was launched.

2008


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LONDON OVERGROUND A.J Wells & Sons Signage Specialists produced enamelled signage and illuminated super graphics for the new London Overground.

2008


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LONDON OVERGROUND Illuminated super graphics for the new London Overground.

2008


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THE BRITISH DESIGN AWARDS Working in partnership with Elle Decoration Magazine, Graham & Brown and Kuchen Lab, Charnwood hosted the British Design Awards 2008. As part of the publicity Charnwood’s stoves were photographed at London’s Wallace Collection.

2008


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INVESTMENT A.J Wells & Sons Ltd. undertake a 拢3 million investment plan to streamline production.

2008


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LAUNCH OF THE CHARNWOOD TOR The Charnwood Tor was unveiled at a spectacular lake side ceremony at Wootton Creek on the Isle of Wight. The Tor was Charnwood’s most innovative stove to date. A freestanding contemporary fire with 3 large glass viewing panels.

2009


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AYLESBURY BUS TERMINAL Artist Laura Boswell worked at A.J Wells & Sons’ studios to produce Europe’s largest vitreous enamel art piece for Buckinghamshire County Council. The panels were part of an urban regeneration scheme to clad Aylesbury Bus terminal.and the surrounding underpass

2009


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THE QUEENS AWARDS FOR ENTERPRISE A.J Wells & Sons Ltd. was awarded the Queens Awards for Enterprise: International Trade

2009


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THE CHARNWOOD TOR PICO The Tor Pico, a scaled down version of the Tor, was launched.

2010


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CHARNWOOD ISLAND STORE STAND & HIGH LEGS Optional store stands and high legs for the Island range were introduced.

2010


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THE NEW CHARNWOOD DOG Rona was introduced and trained up as the new ‘face’ as Phoebe nears retirement.

2010


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THE C-FOUR The C-Four is unveiled and becomes Charnwood’s fastest selling stove to date.

2011


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MEL HOWSE & CHRISTIAN AID Artist Mel Howse undertook a commission from Christian Aid. Working in the A.J Wells & Sons studios she produced two sculptural enamelled bowls. The bowls tour UK Cathedrals throughout 2011/2012

2011


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THE FAT LIP Bodj’s latest basket the ‘Fat lip’ designed by NZ designer Chris Jackson launches to rave reviews winning two international design awards.

2011


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CHARNWOOD IN NORTH AMERICA & CANADA Charnwood move into North America and Canada.

2011


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CHARNWOOD ISLAND II CT Charnwood launch the Island II CT - a new cooking top stove designed to work in openplan living spaces where lounging, cooking and dining areas are merged.

2012


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PETE

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THE WELLS FAMILY MEMBERS IN THE BUSINESS TODAY

HUGH

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ARK

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TOM

PHOEBE

RONA

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A.J WELLS & SONS LTD. Celebrating 40 years of British design, manufacture and innovation.


2012


A . J W E L L S & S O N S LT D . BISHOPS WAY, NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT PO30 5WS, UK TEL. +44 (0) 1983 537770

FAX. +44 (0) 1983 537788

A .J.Wells & S o n s L i m i te d Re g i ste re d i n E n g l an d N o. 0 3 8 0 9 371

WWW.AJWELLS.CO.Uk


A.J Wells Celebrating 40 years