After a twenty year career with two of Britain’s largest electrical appliance manufacturers, John Barson decided to strike out on his own, creating Burley Appliances. Back in 1975 Burley consisted of John Barson, a garage and a few components.
For the grand sum of £5, John commissioned three wrought iron basket designs. It took John all day to assemble his first electric fire. The next day he drove into Leicester with his fire and sold it. Things looked promising but production would have to speed up if the family were not to face starvation!
The first of several turning points came when John visited the electrical buyer at Harrods. Returning with an order for 12 fires, there was no looking back. John took on his first employee and found a bigger garage. John’s son and daughter, after leaving school, also joined the Company.
The real breakthrough came when Burley became the approved supplier to the Northwest Electricity Board. Within 3 years Burley supplied all 14 of the British Electricity Boards (around 900 outlets).
The export market, a totally unexplored area for Burley began to be developed. This market goes from strength to strength. Today Burley exports to all major countries throughout the world.
The next major development for Burley was the introduction of the Empingham model. This was the first model of its kind that could be both inset and freestanding. Today, this has been widely accepted as industry standard.
The 90’s also saw Burley move into the gas appliance market, introducing the first flueless gas fire to be sold in the UK. This market continues to grow.
The Barson family tradition continued with the appointment of John’s son Steve as Managing Director.
Burley purchased Straxgas, an award-winning manufacturer of high-quality flued gas fires. The Straxgas Theme is now in full production at Burley.
Burley entered the market of renewable energy with the purchase of Navitron which is now one of Britain’s largest providers of solar water heating systems.
Contract sales continued to expand for both electric and flueless gas fires.
Burley introduced a new corporate identity to complement its brand new range of contemporary electric fires.
At a time when many companies were suffering from a worldwide economic recession, Burley bucked the trend and expanded its manufacturing output and range through the acquisition of Magiglo, an established producer of flued gas fires.
The Burley Fireball range of wood burning stoves was launched, boasting unsurpassed fuel efficiency, clean burning technology and a magnificent flame picture.