2021 – an excellent centenary year

From its modest oil and candle making origins in the City of Lincoln in early 1900’s, to its position today as a UK manufacturer of lubricants (Qualube) and paints (Woco), not to mention its prestigious Royal Warrant, the Witham Group has come a long way in its 100-year history.

In 2015 Witham Motorsport, part of the Witham Group following its passion for motorsports and motor-racing, partnered with French automotive high-tech lubricants manufacturer, MOTUL to further expand its range. Alongside this the company continued to develop its Woco Paint range, produced originally back in the mid-1920’s. From manufacturing shoe polish and wax candles for local workers and factories, recipes soon progressed to producing industrial paint, a natural partner to lubricants as blacksmiths turned their skill to making machinery. The growing need to paint workshop floors, outbuildings, farm sheds, OEM machinery, made offering lubricants and paints under a single roof a viable and effective development.

The family owned business owes much to Albert Smith, the former factory foreman of the Star Oil & Grease company who went on to set up the Witham Oil & Candle Company just after the 1st World War; around the same time, he employed his two sons, plus Les Bottom, who would go on to become his longstanding salesman. Many years later, after the leadership of Albert’s two sons Arthur and George, Albert’s grandson, Alan Smith and Les Bottom’s son, Geoff Bottom would become partners, establishing Witham Oil & Grease Co. and embarking on a partnership that would endure for more than 44 years. Today, three generations later, Les’ grandson, Nigel Bottom is the company’s managing director, still honouring the original tenets of Quality, Value and Service.

Lincoln has always been an industrial city, synonymous with agriculture and manufacturing. As mechanisation developed, Witham’s lubricant ranges expanded accordingly. The company continues to remain heavily involved in agriculture but its growth has extended to other lubricant sectors, PCMO (Passenger car motor oil), HDDO (Heavy duty diesel oil), Marine and Horticulture sectors, working with local and international partners and OEMs.

Innovation has always been at the forefront of the company’s growth. A decade ago, Witham reviewed their own environment and sustainability approach, examining their internal systems from packaging to production and blending, to their product range and deliveries. Most recently, the company announced the completion of the Blendtek blending system – a revolutionary and environmentally sustainable process using ultrasound (sonic) technology to blend all its lubricants. This innovative technique highlights just how far Witham has come in its first one hundred years.

In 1991, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II honoured the Witham Group with a Royal Warrant for its products and services. Their royal reach continues to expand; they now supply individual royal family members across Royal Estates throughout the UK. Nigel Bottom adds “The Royal Warrant has had a greatly positive effect on our business, both inside and out. From ensuring our operational standards and environmental credentials are second to none to giving our teams huge pride when they know that we are only one of 750 companies in the whole world to receive such an accolade... This is great for us as a company, and for British manufacturing as well as our industry.”




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