The changes to industry over 50 years have been vast, but the glazing industry in particular has seen enormous transition. A local firm, West Norfolk Glass, has experienced this first-hand, with two generations of the family business mapping the changes over the five decades since it was founded.
When John Parker started West Norfolk Glass in West Winch in 1967, he predominantly worked with local builders, cutting and installing single glass panes into timber windows in new-build homes.
Back then, the glazing industry was on the cusp of radical change with the advent of double glazing, which offered an affordable solution to help keep homes warm, draught-free and secure. As fuel prices began to creep upwards (a trend that hasn’t really stopped in the 50 years since!), homeowners saw energy efficient double glazed windows and doors as a way to reduce their property’s running costs.
In the early 70s, West Norfolk Glass moved to South Everard Street in King’s Lynn, and John’s business followed the trend moving into PVC and aluminium framed double glazing, along with secondary and timber framed double glazing solutions.
When the Glass & Glazing Federation (GGF) was founded in 1977, John saw the importance of membership of a body that would develop industry standards and protect both employees and consumers. West Norfolk Glass is still a member today.
Building on its now well-established coverage across north Norfolk, the company relocated to its present Hereford Way premises, close to King’s Lynn’s Hardwick area, in the late 80s and John’s two sons, Geoff and Philip, joined the family firm. Family-like service has always been important to West Norfolk Glass, and it prides itself on the large number of loyal customers who have come back to it over the years for new installations and additional products such as car ports, garage doors, flat roof and roofline products.
Over the half century that West Norfolk Glass has been established, glazing products have changed immeasurably, with constant improvement to the range of timber, aluminium and PVCu framed windows and doors on offer, along with beautiful, virtually maintenance-free wood-effect products such as Bygone Collection and Evolution Windows – practically indistinguishable from original period windows, West Norfolk Glass is the area’s only installer.
Times and fashions change, and with it the way we style and enjoy our houses. Today, many homeowners are choosing to extend their living space with conservatories, orangeries and bi-fold doors, which blend indoor and outdoor areas during the summer months. There’s even a swing back towards minimal aluminium frames in property development which, combined with modern double or triple glazing, create a stylish, contemporary look.
Now retired, John Parker still spends time at West Norfolk Glass’ showroom, which is managed by his sons, supported by a small in-house sales team and fitters. Having been established for 50 years, West Norfolk Glass is looking forward to many more years of helping Norfolk families to improve and enjoy their homes.