In March the Master was invited to visit Monument Tools at its Hackbridge headquarters to open its new Showroom and Training Centre.
The opening of the new Centre represents the latest investment by the family to support the industry’s need to deliver more training for end users, trade counter staff and distributors. People attending also included representatives from the BMF, BHETA, the Builders’ Merchants News and the 6th generation of the Collier family!
The day began with Jonathan Collier presenting a history of the business outlining the continual investment in CNC turning & milling machines, new packaging machinery including laser marking, a brand update and sales training programme, and an apprentice scheme linked with Kingston College engineering department.
The Master and guests were then given a factory tour, including the opportunity to assemble and engrave their own personalised pipe cutters, a must for every home tool. The Master initiated the engraving of the plaque commemorating the opening.
During a buffet lunch in the new training room the Master also had the opportunity to look around ‘The Collier Collection’. Included in the exhibits were a plane made by John Jennion in the City of London in the 18th century and a coachbuilder’s plough plane, also from the 18th century, made by Christopher Gabriel just outside the City. Christopher Gabriel went on to become a dealer in timber. His firm can be traced via Gabriel Wade, Meyer International, Jewson and onto St Gobain.
Monument Tools started trading back in 1880 when George Collier started as a tool merchant in Brixton. The business then moved to the next generation, Arthur and Alfred Collier. Alfred set up in King William Street, close to the Monument of the great fire of London and from these beginnings as merchants for lead dressers, plumbing and roofing tools, today’s business has been built.
Skip a couple of generations and we move to Balham and then to Hackbridge. The business is now in the hands of John Collier as Chairman and Jonathan Collier as Managing Director. The brand is famous for its range of Shetack saws and basin wrenches and now has a plethora of patented products, most notably pipe cutters but also many other plumbing, roofing and drainage products, the majority of which are manufactured on ‘state of art’ machinery at their Hackbridge factory.
Products are sold through builders’ & plumbers’ merchants as well as some retail DIY outlets and the business boasts a strong and growing export book.
Commenting on the day Jonathan Collier said “It is a real honour to be able to host the Master on this landmark day for our Company. The Training Centre and Showroom is an extension to the re-investment and we want to attract merchants, focus groups and industry bodies. We also aim to hold BMF Regional Meetings as well as merchant and distributor sales meetings.
“We are also finalising a Trade Counter Training Module with Cortexa where we aim to help train merchant branch counter staff to develop skills in plumbing, roofing and drainage tools,” continues Jonathan.
“Our product training is being rolled out across our You Tube Channel and being combined with a focus Group we work closely with – the Monument Masters – helping us develop and test new and existing products.
“We also want to be a hub for Made in Britain. South London is not traditionally known for its manufacturing but we are a member of the Federation of British Hand Tool Manufacturers and for whatever reason, we as manufacturers have seemingly missed an opportunity over recent years to promote Made in Britain. With Brexit looming and the Sterling relatively weak against imported currencies there is a real opportunity for Made in Britain products to be at the forefront of both trade counters as well as end users minds”.