Open day commemorates merchant's impressive history

Higgins Building Supplies celebrates 150th anniversary with commemorative open day and official opening of newly refurbished depot.

A family owned builders’ merchant with branches in Wellingborough and Irthingborough has staged a special commemorative open day to mark a major company milestone.

Formed in 1866 and now managed by a fifth generation of the Higgins family, Higgins Building Supplies has been meeting the building and DIY product needs of customers across Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire for 150 years. 

Its open day, which was held on the 15th September, was a way of saying thank you to past and present customers, suppliers and staff for their contribution to the company's longstanding success.

On the day, visitors to both Higgins branches were able to benefit from free catering, free 150th anniversary merchandise and exclusive promotions and offers across a wide range of product lines.

Visitors to the Wellingborough branch were also able to meet a number of the different manufacturers and distributors whose products are stocked by Higgins. 

Some 23 companies turned out in support of the business’ 150th anniversary with either display stands or mobile display vehicles on-site on the day.

This included:

ACO Grange Marley Alutec H+H Marsh Industries
Bradstone Ideal Standard Plasson
Bristan John Guest Polypipe
CEMEX Kartell   UK RM Cylinders
Clark-Drain Keystone Siniat
Fakro Knauf TIMco
Forterra Long Rake Spar Wienerberger

Higgins also used the commemorative open day to stage the official opening of the recently refurbished counter area at its Wellingborough branch.

Following a sizeable investment by the company, this area now benefits from a larger, brighter and more open plan layout with a greater variety of products on display. This enables customers to more easily browse before they buy and helps to simplify the product selection process. 

HM Lord Lieutenant for Northamptonshire, Mr David Laing, cut the ribbon to declare the new counter area open assisted by Mrs Betty Higgins - wife of Colonel John Higgins who ran the company from 1959 to 1978.

The celebrations then continued in the evening with a street party in the yard of the Wellingborough branch.

Live music was provided courtesy of Northampton based indie rock band, Slim 47, whilst a commemorative Higgins beer was available at the bar. This was brewed especially to mark the company’s 150th anniversary by local craft brewery, Hart Family Brewers.

During the evening, Nigel Higgins, current managing director, gave a speech thanking guests for their on-going support before announcing the winner of the company's 150th anniversary scratchcard competition to win a Vauxhall Combo van.

The company also held a charity raffle which raised £350 for the Alzheimer's Society. The prizes on offer included restaurant vouchers, Higgi bears and a Bose Bluetooth speaker.

Speaking of the day, Nigel Higgins said: “The Higgins 150th anniversary open day was always designed to be one of the highlights in a year of celebratory events and initiatives. After months of preparation and planning, we’re delighted it was so well attended by customers and so well supported by our suppliers.

“We decided to combine the event with the official opening of the new trade counter area at our Wellingborough branch in order to make an important point about the business. Namely that we are proud of our past but equally committed to the future.

“This significant investment will help ensure Higgins is perfectly placed to build on its impressive history and to meet the needs of our trade and DIY customers for many years to come.”

- ENDS -

Images and captions:   

Higgins Open Day 1a.jpg
Open for business
HM Lord Lieutenant for Northamptonshire, Mr David Laing, cuts the ribbon to declare the new counter area at Higgins Wellingborough open assisted by Mrs Betty Higgins. Betty’s late husband, John, was the third generation of the Higgins family to run the company from 1959 to 1978.

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Toasting a major milestone
HM Lord Lieutenant for Northamptonshire, Mr David Laing (centre), previous MD, Terry Higgins (left) and Terry’s son and current MD, Nigel Higgins (right) raise a glass to celebrate Higgins Building Supplies’ century and a half of success. 

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Success across the generations
HM Lord Lieutenant for Northamptonshire, Mr David Laing (left), Terry Higgins, MD from 1978 to 1996 (second left), Terry’s son and current MD, Nigel Higgins (second right) and Jerry Higgins (right),
son of Colonel John Higgins, MD from 1959 to 1978, look at photographs and press cuttings from Higgins’ proud 150 year history.

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Supplier support
Numerous manufacturers and distributors of building industry products supported Higgins’ 150th anniversary open day with display stands or mobile display vehicles at the company’s Wellingborough branch.

For more information on this story, contact Wayne Leith at

Notes to editors:

- Higgins Building Supplies is a family owned builders’ merchant serving trade and DIY customers from across Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

- Formed in 1866, Higgins Building Supplies celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2016 making it one of the oldest independent builders’ merchants in the UK today.

- Higgins Building Supplies currently employs 47 people across two depots; one in Wellingborough (which is also home to company’s head offices) and a second in Irthingborough.

- Higgins Building Supplies offers an extensive range of products including bricks and blocks, timber and joinery, paving, tiles, insulation, plumbing and heating, workwear, power tools, hand tools, paints and decorating materials.

- Though an extensive product range and service initiatives that include expert advice, an estimating service and same day/next day delivery, Higgins can support customers with projects ranging from major developments and ground works to self-build, extensions and landscaping.

- For more information on Higgins Building Supplies, visit or like the company on Facebook at





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