NEWS | Round-up

Obituary Geoffrey Pidgeon

GEOFFREY PIDGEON, the man behind bathroom retail forerunner Humphersons and Original Bath rooms has died, aged 95.

Born in Fulham in 1926, Pidgeon went into the bathroom market after World War Two. He joined the Humphersons family plumbing business and oversaw its significant growth and success to become a key name in bathroom retail, gradually moving it from the trade counter to boutique Chelsea showroom in 1970 and supplying premium hotels across London and beyond. With his deep technical knowledge of plumbing products and their applications, Pidgeon sat on 14 British Standards committees and was heavily involved with the metrification of the building industry and its components. He was always an ardent and forthright campaigner for the, now standard, water-saving valve flushing systems in WCs.

He also took the company into the infant fitted kitchen market by taking on national agency for Nobilia and supplying emerging kitchen specialists around the UK. Humphersons went on

to become the first Bulthaup dealer in the UK and opened showrooms in Knightsbridge and in the Heal’s flagship store in Tottenham Court Road. Later, when the family business was sold, he launched a new company – Original Bathrooms – selling and distributing advanced European bathroom products around the UK. Specialising in Italian products particularly, he introduced brands such as Flaminia, Fantini, Signorini, Sbordoni and many others to the UK. It was then that he started to put together information gleaned from his own wartime experiences and those of many others to write his book – The Secret Wireless War – which is universally accepted as the reference book on the transmission of the Ultra secret intelligence and many of the other vital aspects of the Bletchley Park operation.

In October 2019, he received the Légion D’ Honneur from Her Excellency the French Ambassador and the Minister of Defence as the 6,000th British recipient for their contribution to the liberation of France.

He leaves three sons and a wide family who will miss him very sorely.

Nick ‘Hoppy’ Hopkinson

MARK TWO Distribution founder and KBB industry legend Nick Hopkinson MBE DL has died. Hopkinson – known fondly by many in the industry by the nickname ‘Hoppy’ – described himself as a ‘philanthropist and fund-raiser’. He founded Mark Two, the Bolton-based bathroom distribution business, in 1984. Though the Mark Two business went on to close in 2015, he remained a key figure in the industry for many years, investing in several other ventures, including Faith Furniture and Clifton Trade Bathrooms. Hopkinson’s dedication to the KBB

industry was rewarded with the Special Achievement Award at the kbbreview Retail & Design Awards in 2010. Since the news was announced, tributes have been pouring in from industry friends and colleagues. Damian Walters, CEO of the BiKBBI, said: “I am shocked and saddened, brought to tears in fact, to learn that someone I looked up to, respected and admired has passed away. As I developed the concept of BiKBBI, I looked at your business success and entrepreneurialism as a guiding light.” Martin Mongan, CEO of Bristan


Group, said: “Such terribly sad news. A proper legend in everything he put his mind to. His charitable works will be a very fitting legacy to an incredible individual. RIP.”

Russell Barnes, the former managing director of Laufen UK, said: “RIP Hoppy - a special person in so many ways and a mate forever. Will so miss you but forever in my thoughts - goodbye buddy.” Jim McCay, CEO at The Kitchen Depot Holdings, also paid tribute by saying: “A beautiful, caring human being. I’m so privileged to have met him and to be considered as a friend. Never to be forgotten.”

Hopkinson was also known for his charitable interests. He spent more than 20 years as director of fundraising for Bolton Lads and Girls Club, raising millions of pounds for the charity during that time. In honour of his charity work he was awarded an MBE in 2009.

In April last year Hopkinson was chosen by the Queen to take on the role of High Sheriff of Cheshire – a role he held until March 2021. He is survived by his wife Lesley, three sons and three grandchildren.

· October 2021

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