Explore Hunter's History
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Ronald “Eddy” Edmonson a qualified architect and surveyor joined the Royal Artillery during WW2. At the end of the War he found himself stationed in Turin, and became interested in a nearby factory where the Germans held early experiments in plastic injection moulding.
After being demobbed back at home, Eddy took this interest further and on the 18th October 1946 set up a plastic moulding company, Plastiers Limited (Lewisham). He is pictured here manning his first commercial production run!
Eddy carried out early pioneering work with a variety of plastic moulded products and machinery. He trade-moulded plastic products for many different applications and customers - everything from table mats to Jewellery!
As the Business grew Eddy and his team moved to New Eltham, and to add to the already extensive product ranges, Eddy made ring cases, the kind that would hold engagement & wedding rings.
In 1958 Eddy was a front runner in manufacturing plastic chandeliers, a new trend that turned out to be popular throughout the 1960’s and were even sold on the high street!
In 1962 the business relocated again to larger premises in Belvedere where production began for extruding rainwater gutter and pipes.
All through the 1960’s Plastiers began acquiring and registering businesses, and in 1965, they created ‘The Hunter Group’. In 1966 the Replant Works on Nathan Way were closing down and Black Clawson, a manufacturer of newspaper printing machinery, had taken the decision to close the site.
Eddy saw this as an opportunity to bring all the Hunter group businesses onto one site and Hunter Plastics Limited remained on the same site for the next 45 years.
Hunter Plastics first launched its own range of PVC rainwater, soil and waste products in 1967 called the Hunter Series 1970+.
In 1968 Eddy purchased another site on Nathan Way, in which he planned to house the extrusion hall. This never happened and this building later became the Hunter fittings plant for several years. After suffering a heart attack, Eddy passed the business onto his sons, and Ray Edmonson was appointed MD later that year
In the 1970's the company focused more on rainwater and drainage products and a PVC underground drainage system was added to the portfolio in 1971. Hunter quickly gained a reputation for superior rainwater systems and was the first company to launch gutter fittings that did not rely on adhesive to hold the rubber seals in place.
Throughout the 1970s Hunter was very successful. At the time PVC-u was displacing traditional materials (such as cast iron gutters and soil pipes, lead waste pipes, earthenware soil pipes) and so the business grew every year as traditional materials lost market share.
Competition in the PVC industry was increasing and the Hunter group made some acquisitions to increase their product mix, among them Greenwood Airvac,(1982), Waterloo Grill Company and Waterloo BV (1983). In the late 80’s the group appointed its first ‘non-Edmonson’ Managing Director - Ron Broome (who had previously worked with Hunter on a project with Tate and Lyle, in Nigeria)
In 1991 the second generation of the Edmonson family sold Hunter Plastics to ETEX, a company with global interests in building products. During that time many of the products were re-designed and re-launched, with particular emphasis on Surefit® rainwater fittings which incorporate many innovative features.
Using the extensive knowledge within the ETEX Group, 1998 saw the launch of an extensive range of high quality plastic products for plumbers under the brand name Plumbers Bits.
In 2003 the ETEX plastics manufacturing companies were divided, moving Hunter Plastics to the world-wide Aliaxis group, companies offering innovative solutions for fluid handling.
Hunter Plastics has always put customer service at the forefront of its strategy and in 2005 Hunter were nominated in the Builders Merchant Awards and for the first time crowned the ‘Supplier of the Year’.
In March 2006, Multikwik, an established range of plumbing and sanitary products, joined the Hunter family and increased the portfolio of products available to its customers.
An anniversary is a rare opportunity, it’s not just about a number of years but rather, the innovation, accomplishments, identity, culture, values and underlying successes that those years represented. Hunter celebrated this 40th Anniversary with a ‘delivering excellence through the decades’ Summer Ball.
Several of the founding Edmonsons family were in attendance, together with one of Hunters’ longest standing customers – celebrating a working relationship of over 34 years - demonstrating how dedication to getting the job right, keeps customers loyal. With over 300 attendees, including past colleagues, family and friends, the evening was a resounding success.
In 2007 Hunter again picked up the Builders Merchant Award for Supplier of the Year.
A new company identity was created, building on a solid reputation for award-winning customer service for two well-known brands in the market, Hunter & Multikwik.
Why Grey?: The science bit
“Grey may not be part of the fashion towards bright colours, however grey is considered sleek and modern, especially when it is used in association with blue and green - making it the ideal colour to compliment and unite the Hunter and Multikwik brand logos.
Grey has always been a considered a trusted colour, it is neutral and balanced and suggests practicality and earnestness.
According to ‘The Impact & Emotion of Colour’ Grey suggests dedication to your commitments and is therefore the ideal colour to support our commitment to delivering quality and innovation.”
Stephanie Bolton, Marketing Manager
Hunter also collected the Builders Merchant Award for ‘Supplier of the Year’ for the third time.
In late 2009, in a drive to improve efficiency, the Aliaxis group took the decision to consolidate and relocate the Hunter manufacturing and logistics facilities with those of its sister company, Marley Plumbing & Drainage, at the site in Lenham, Kent.
Whilst the manufacturing operations are all under one roof, the Aliaxis brands (which include Durapipe, Hunter, Marley and Multikwik) remain independent and face the market in the same way as before - enhanced by the efficiency and service improvements the operational consolidation will provide.
To support the manufacturing move and further enhance the individual businesses, the Aliaxis group re-organised its structure and senior management team in the UK.
Brian Blanchard (former MD) was appointed to the role of Aliaxis UK Building & Sanitary Director. And with over 24 years experience within the company, Steve Dunkley was appointed Brand Director of Hunter Plastics.
2010 also saw the launch of Foundry Finish, a plastic rainwater system which looks like cast iron but is as easy to install as standard PVC. Half round and Ogee profiles were launched first, with further profiles in the pipeline. The range proved popular with installers and merchants alike, due to ease of installation and cost compared to traditional materials.
To help further support the manufacturing move, the sales and administration teams also made the move to Lenham, closing the doors on the site at Nathan Way soon afterwards.
Consolidation of the brand teams created an Aliaxis Sales & Commercial team consisting of Steve Dunkley as Sales Director and Kevin Williams as Commercial Director, both encompassing the Hunter, Marley and Multikwik brands, headed up Martin Gisbourne as Vice President of all of the Aliaxis UK brands.
A natural extension of the Foundry Finish range was 110mm soil which was launched in 2013, helping to make rainwater and soil installations look the same on the outside of a building.
Soil was also the focus of the PVC range, with the launch of 110mm co-ex soil, pipes featuring at least 30% recycled content, with glossy long last colour on the outside.
Stan James joined the management team as Manufacturing Director with a wealth of previous experience in different industries which he set about applying to achieve an even higher level of manufacturing excellence.
Focusing on innovations both locally and as part of a team within the wider Aliaxis group is Rod McLachlan who joined as Innovations Manager.
2014 also saw the launch of Surefit+, a half round gutter with improved gloss levels and even easier to clip together.
Newly appointed Logistics Manager, Tom Hamlyn, project manages the implementation of a new fleet of vehicles to help us to deliver a more reliable, safe and professional customer service.