Industry Update – Celtic Fireworks acquires the Kimbolton Retail brand.

Posted by Christopher Adlam on

Last week Celtic Fireworks, one of the U.K’s biggest retail fireworks brands, announced the acquisition of Kimbolton Fireworks Retail. As part of the acquisition one of the Senior Firers from our sister company Fully Fused Fireworks has taken on the role of Kimbolton Retail Brand Manager and we wish Kevin every success in his new position. Matt who was the representative for Kimbolton Retail, at Phoenix Fireworks has moved across to join Celtic to work alongside Kevin.

Kimbolton Fireworks has an interesting story, having been started by Reverend Ron Lancaster MBE FRSC in 1964. He has always had a fascination with fireworks which took root as a young boy growing up in Huddersfield. He would go up to the moors when they were testing parachute flares. The boys took broom sticks in order to hook the parachute first before their friends. The other boys were after the silk of the chute, Ron was after the failed flares.

When he came to Kimbolton School as Chaplain he asked the Headmaster if he could have some space to continue his research work. From there he started to do displays, initially to cover the costs of research but soon the company was formed and his reputation as the Master Blaster Pastor took off. Kimbolton went on to produce some of the most memorable displays at home and abroad. VJ Day, 50th Anniversary on the River Thames, the handover of Hong Kong, The London 2012 Olympic Games to name just a few.

The retail side of Kimbolton Fireworks was started by Ron’s son, Mark Lancaster, who developed the brand alongside his staff to become a well-respected brand, echoing the quality standards established by his father. On the older product artwork there is a white collar at the top, a nod to Ron’s religious connections. After Mark left to pursue his career in politics the brand continued to grow.

From those humble beginnings in the back of the school to a purpose-built factory on the edge of Kimbolton the company flourished for many years. However, as competition started to build, with other companies starting to import display fireworks too and domestic manufacture became increasingly expensive the end of the last U.K. manufacturer of display fireworks was in sight. Ron has written a book called 'Fireworks: Principle and Practice' (ISBN 10: 0820604070  ISBN 13: 9780820604077) which has become a widely respected source of knowledge and information for today’s generation of pyrotechnists. Ron is held in high esteem as one of the great influences on the U.K. firework industry in modern times and his knowledge and experience is thankfully recorded in his book. Recently he kindly signed a copy of his book as a prize for a Fully Fused Fireworks Virtual Firework Display design competition.

Sadly, Kimbolton Fireworks temporarily ceased trading in 2019 and ownership transferred to Phoenix Fireworks. The Kimbolton Retail brand continued, but manufacturing and displays did not. It was the end of a remarkable chapter in the history of U.K. pyrotechnics. Kimbolton’s staff dispersed, some staying in the industry, including Chris Adlam, the former Factory Manager, who joined Fully Fused Fireworks, a professional firework display provider, as General Manager and who has gone on to help create HEX Fireworks, an online retail firework supplier.  Georgina Younger, who worked in the busy season at Kimbolton Fireworks from 2015 joined the Fully Fused team in 2019 taking on the role of Display Coordinator a year later. Georgie has extensive experience working on high profile displays in the U.A.E. and has used this experience to great effect since joining the team, making the role her own, managing display logistics and designing displays.

Following a restructure at Phoenix Fireworks the acquisition sees the writing of a new chapter. The Kimbolton retail brand name lives on under the new stewardship of Celtic Fireworks and we wish it every success.

Team HEX

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