Lakeland's History

Our Timeline

In the school holidays over 50 years ago, three brothers in need of pocket money started helping their dad count polythene bags into packs of 100...

Those lads – Sam, Martin and Julian Rayner – didn't have the faintest idea where it would lead them, but by sticking to their father's philosophy of ‘always look after the customer and the business will look after itself’, Lakeland has blossomed into what it is today – one of the UK's leading kitchenware companies.


Our Plastic Fantastic Era

As Alan visited farms selling feed, he bought chickens to sell at Kendal market. He plucked and prepared them before packing them into plastic bags, and they sold better than the other smallholder's chickens. They asked if they could buy some bags from him, and word about Alan's bags began to spread.

Working from his garage, demand soon took off, and in 1964 Lakeland Plastics was born.

Alan went to his first Agricultural show (using his sons' pool table as a stand), where he sold plastic bags, covers for haystacks, silage sheeting and Lammacs – plastic coats to protect newborn lambs!

We outgrew the garage, and in the second half of the decade moved to Alexandra Road where we had more space to work.


The Big Freeze

Alan retired in ‘74 and his three sons, Sam, Martin and Julian (who was still at school!) took over the family business. Home freezing was the ‘in thing’, and Lakeland was leading the way.

A moment of inspiration told us; people who froze food, also cooked it! So along came the ‘Everything for Home Cooking’ catalogue. We scaled down the agricultural side, and headed in the direction of all things kitchenware.

Michelle Kershaw joined Lakeland and quickly learned everything there was to know about home freezing and kitchenware. Our resident expert, Michelle was the face of Lakeland, and eventually became our Customer Director, a role she loved dearly until she passed away in 2004.

Time once more to move to a bigger location, this time into the disused Station Master's house. Our first real office – orders were taken from the front room, and customer records were stored in the cast iron bath!


Mail Order Pioneers

From mailing 6 page leaflets, we went to full colour catalogues... a big step that got our range under more of our customers' noses.

We moved to our current home, a larger space by the railway station where we could have offices, a warehouse, and a little store to be proud of, all under one roof.

We started to be known as one of the UK's leading kitchen and homeware suppliers, and we gained a reputation for excellent customer service.