Kohler Mira Ltd
|Predecessor||Walker Crosweller & Co Ltd (1921–1986)
Caradon Mira Ltd (1986–2001)
|Headquarters||Cromwell Road, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL52 5EP|
Kohler Mira Ltd is a plumbing company based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire known for its brand of Mira showers.
Walker, Crosweller and Co. Ltd. was founded in London in 1921 by James MacFarlane Walker.
In 1933 the company also made gas and air flow, pressure and vacuum recorders (instrumentation) for industry. These were made by the Arkon Instruments subsidiary.
In 1936 it launched the Leonard thermostatic mixing valves; this was world's first thermostatic shower. In 1937 it moved to Cheltenham, known as the Whaddon Works.
In the Second World War, all shower valves for British military use were made by them. By 1950 the Leonard brand of shower equipment was becoming the main brand used for institutional buildings – schools and hospitals. This was due to persuading the Ministry of Education to install temperature-regulated showers. The thermostatic mixing valves were not just used for showers but for general heating of water, including their thermostatic steam water heaters.
In 1956 they introduced the Unatap range of spray mixing taps. These were used to save water – thought to be 5,500 gallons of hot water per washroom per year. They were developed in conjunction with the Building Research Establishment.
On Thursday 24 August 1961 the company was floated on the London Stock Exchange with a share price of 8s 6d. The previous year the company had made £88,000 profit. The company chairman was Mr J.M. Walker.
In November 1961 it introduced the Leonard 72 thermostatic mixing valve which controlled water temperature as well as flow.
On 27 June 1963, the company took over the Miraflo Ltd company, and it became a subsidiary. Miraflo made shower mixing taps. In December 1963 Richard Walker became chairman, following the death of his father. He was also the managing director. From 1966–7 he was the President of the British Valve Manufacturers Association (now the British Valve and Actuator Association). In November 1967, the company formed the subsidiary Richard Fife Inc. to market its products in the USA. It would also have subsidiaries in Germany, South Africa, Belgium, and Canada. In April 1968 it began television adverts – the first time showers had been advertised on British television. By 1968 it was selling Kelta shower fittings.
By 1970 turnover had reached £2 million, and it exported to 37 countries. From 1971–2 Richard Walker was President of the Comité Européen de l'Industrie de la Robinetterie (now known as CEIR). In 1972-3 the company made a 90% increase in profits to £328,000, and Richard Walker had been made OBE.
In April 1974 the company was bought out and left the LSE. The managing director was Dennis Arbon, until 1980.
In 1976 it launched the Miralec brand of shower with temperature stabilisation. Mira Thermostatic replaced the Leonard brand. In 1978 it launched its first instant electric shower. In 1979 the Rada brand was introduced to sell the Mira showers in export markets. In 1981 it introduced a thermoscopic electric shower for the domestic market.
In 1986 the company name changed to Caradon Mira Ltd. In 1988 the Miralec brand became Mira. On 3 October 1989 MB Group (former Metal Box) bought Caradon plc for £337 million, and the company became MB-Caradon plc. In 1995 it introduced its first thermostatic electric shower.
Caradon Plumbing Solutions, part of Novar, was bought by HSBC Private Equity on 9 October 2000 for £442 million. In December 2000 Richard Walker died.
On 19 July 2001 Mira Showers and Alstone Shower Cubicles were bought from HSBC Private Equity by Kohler Company for £301 million. The bathroom division, Twyford Bathrooms, had been sold to the Sanitec Group (a Finnish company) in January 2001 for £84 million.
Kohler Mira UK Ltd currently comprises three main brands: Kohler UK, Mira Showers and Rada. Each brand offers its own range of products:
As the commercial division of Kohler Mira Ltd, Rada products include taps, Showers, mixing valves, flushing valves and emergency showering solutions for healthcare, education and sports and leisure industries.
The factory is situated between Cromwell Road and Clyde Crescent in Cheltenham, to the east of the Whaddon Road football ground (it sponsors the club), in the middle of a residential area. The GCHQ site at Oakley is nearby to the east.
- Spirax-Sarco Engineering – also based in Cheltenham
- Company history
- "Kohler Mira Limited: Welcome to Kohler Mira UK Businesses Homepage". kohlermira.co.uk. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
- "KOHLER UK | Luxury Designer Bathrooms and Kitchens". www.kohler.co.uk. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
- "Mira Showers Products". mirashowers.co.uk. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
- "Kohler Rada Ltd". radacontrols.com. Retrieved 9 July 2016.