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Over 120 years of heritage
We've been sweeping since the 19th century! Wilkins Chimney Sweep was established in 1895 by Tom Wilkins in Newbury. Tom cycled to his customers with his brush and rods strapped to his bike's cross bar; understandably, he covered a rather smaller area than we do now!
The business was eventually passed from Tom to his son Bill, who continued to build on the reputation his father enjoyed. Bill had three daughters, none of whom wanted to be chimney sweeps, but his son-in-law, Frank Shurey, took up the reins when Bill was ready to hang up his brush.
Frank’s son chose not to continue the family business and the company was sold in 1998 to Peter Harris, who had been helping Frank part-time for a number of years. Peter expanded the business in 2006, taking on a full-time employee in the Newbury area.
In 2011, Peter and his wife Louise franchised Wilkins Chimney Sweep to expand the business nationwide, while still maintaining the quality for which we are known.
In 2018, Darren Taylor took over the Wilkins franchise and became the new Managing Director. He continues to maintain the high standards that Wilkins have become known for and is keen to meet new people to help expand the service nationwide.
We still uphold the traditional values of all those years past, and our sweeping practices remain the same - but now we use a vacuum to complement the rods and brushes, and we travel by van not bicycle!
We sweep chimneys all year round and, in addition, we also offer cage, cap and cowl fitting, as well as removing bird’s nests. We also provide a CCTV survey service in some areas.
Some local groups may be offered a discount – please ask your local Wilkins Chimney Sweep for details.
Look out for our distinctive vans with their smart black and yellow livery - they're now driving the streets from Whitley Bay right down to the south coast.
We like to think Tom would be proud of how the business he started, which still bears his name all these years later, has grown.
Tom Wilkins, left, circa 1895
Frank Shurey & Bill Williams, 1995
Peter & Louise Harris, 2013
Darren Taylor takes over as MD
...and about you!
Ambition, determination and commercial awareness are essential for our prospective franchisees. We’ll support you at all times but you’ll need drive and commitment to maximise success. Previous business experience isn’t required but an understanding that you’re investing in a business, NOT buying a job, is a must!
As a Wilkins Chimney Sweep franchisee, you’ll deliver a high-quality, professional service. Your attention to detail and great people
skills, alongside your training and brand, will ensure that you stand out and means that individuals from all backgrounds can thrive.
Proving that point, our diverse network of franchisees includes a former gym owner, a university student (who just wanted to get working!), a previous council employee and an ex-pub chain area manager, who all run their own successful, profitable Wilkins Chimney Sweep businesses.