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IndustryBed manufacturer
PredecessorClarke's Mattresses
Founded1946 in Skipton, North Yorkshire, England
FounderTom Clarke
Key people
Steve Freeman (managing director)
Revenue£152.1 million (2016–2017)
£14.6 million[1]

Silentnight is the largest UK manufacturer of beds & mattresses and is located in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, England. The company is owned by HIG Europe[2] who acquired the company on 10 May 2011, following a period in administration. The company also has exclusives rights to make & sell Sealy mattresses in the UK & Ireland and operates the Sealy factory in Cumbria. The company also manufactures Rest Assured beds & mattresses and was originally founded in 1946.


The brand is Silentnight, and the company name is Silentnight Group.[3]

The company was founded on 11 July 1946 by Tom Clarke.[4][5] It was founded as Clarke's Mattresses Limited in Skipton with the gratuity paid to Tom after he was demobbed from the Royal Navy.[6] The name was changed to Silentnight Limited in 1951 at the suggestion of Tom's wife, Joan. Clarke later said that the name change was a brainwave that brought millions into the company.

Barnoldswick industrial building during Silentnight strike – June 1986

During the 1980s, and again in the 2000s and the 2010s, the company was the United Kingdom's largest bed manufacturer.[7] For 18 months between 1985 and 1987, the company had a drawn out strike which is the longest strike action against one company in Britain, which took place over 616 days.[8]

Workers went out on strike from two of the Silentnight factories at the time, Barnoldswick and Sutton-in-Craven due to an increased demand by management upon production scales. The union also claimed that an agreement had been reached whereby the workforce would not press for a pay rise provided the company did not enforce any redundancies. Eight weeks later, 52 members of staff were made redundant.[9]

As a result of the strike, 346 workers were sacked by the company. The strike gained much support from the miners and the Labour Party.[10] Whilst the strike was discussed at length in Parliament[11] and it was noted for its generally passive nature, there were incidents of rock throwing and one notable event when the strikers' caravan was firebombed.[12] The chief executive at the time was Tom Clarke, the company's founder, who was a member of the Conservative Party and friend of Margaret Thatcher, who gave him the nickname of Mr Wonderful. This led to the strikers erecting boards at the picket line which read "Mr Wonderful's scabs cross here".[13]

Following a loss of confidence stock market the Clarke family bought out smaller shareholders & took the company private in 2003, but the company collapsed under the weight of its pension commitments and went into administration before its rescue by HIG Europe in 2011. Much of the existing management was replaced in 2011, including the Clarke family.


The company floated on the stock market in 1973[14] but due to market uncertainty and a loss of confidence with the management, the Clarke family took full possession of the company again in 2003 and the company became private.[15].

The companies fortunes declined in private ownership and, in May 2011, the company was saved from receivership by HIG Europe, a private equity company.[16]

HIG Europe spent £19 million acquiring the company, but in doing so, shelved some of the pension scheme rights for retired and current workers. The Pensions regulator served notice in 2013 that they would start legal proceedings to reverse this process and force HIG to re-invest £17.2 million back into the company's pension pot.[17][18]


The company employs around 1,250 people in the United Kingdom.[19] It is headquartered in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, in Pendle, where the company has been based since 1949, and in its current premises since 1961.[20][21] The company has one other active factory that manufactures beds under the Sealy brand located at Aspatria in Cumbria.[1] The company also operates a digital office on Quay Street in Manchester.

Formerly, the company had factories in Sutton-in-Craven (1970–1994),[22][23] Batley (closed March 2012)[24] and Keighley, which was closed in March 2002.[25] All of these, and the Barnoldswick plant, were in the former West Riding of Yorkshire when the company was started. The boundary change of 1974, put the Barnoldswick factory in Lancashire. The plant is a major employer in the area alongside the Rolls-Royce jet engine facility in the town.[26]

The company also had other plants around the United Kingdom as a result of its acquisitions of rival companies. Two plants in South Wales and Andover , which were part of the Ducal brand, were closed when the company re organized and went private in 2003. Many jobs from the closed Keighley factory were transferred to Sunderland, but this plant was sold off as a management buyout under the Stag Furniture brand in June 2005.[27]

During the period of ownership by HIG both turnover and profits have increased markedly, after the initial management clear-out & implementations of the turn round plan. Turnover grew by over 50% between 2012 & 2017 & a pre-tax loss of £4.5m was turned into a pre-tax profit of £11.6m in the same time period.


  • 2008/09 turnover was £110.8m
  • 2009/10 turnover was £107.1m [28]


  • 2012/13 turnover was £98.9m with pre-tax loss of £4.5m
  • 2013/14 turnover was £109.3m with pre-tax loss of £3.2m[29]
  • 2014/15 turnover was £125.1m with pre-tax profit of £3.3m[30]
  • 2015/16 turnover was £137.5m with pre-tax profits at £3.9m[31]
  • 2016/17 turnover was £152.1m with pre-tax profits of £11.6m[32]


  • Layezee
  • Perfecta
  • Rest Assured
  • Sealy
  • Silentnight
  • Studio[33]
  • The Pocket Spring Bed Company


  1. ^ a b "Turnover tops 150m at Silentnight". Insider Media. 28 November 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Silentnight Group acquired by HIG Europe". Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  3. ^ "SILENTNIGHT GROUP LIMITED - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  4. ^ "The History of Silentnight | Silentnight". Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  5. ^ "SNBL REALISATIONS 2011 LIMITED - Overview (free company information from Companies House)". Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  6. ^ "Founder of Silentnight group dies". Keighley News. 4 May 2006. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Jobs to go at Silentnight as turnover drops off". Manchester Evening News. 10 August 2004. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  8. ^ Owen, Jonathan (3 February 2013). "The women who changed Britain forever". The Independent. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  9. ^ Cope, Sally (8 March 2002). "200 jobs at risk as firm hints at factory closure". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  10. ^ Mustchin, Stephen (8 August 2014). "Dismissal of strikers and industrial disputes: the 1985–1987 strike and mass sackings at Silentnight". Labor History. 55 (4): 448–464. doi:10.1080/0023656X.2014.932521.
  11. ^ "Silentnight (Industrial Dispute) (Hansard, 6 November 1985)". 6 November 1985. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  12. ^ "Firebombs and stones thrown in bed-factory strike". Craven Herald & Pioneer. 11 October 1985. p. 1. ISSN 0961-1908.
  13. ^ White, Clive (10 April 2009). "What came after the longest strike in history was finally put to bed". Craven Herald. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  14. ^ "BBC NEWS | UK | England | Lancashire | New suitor for Silentnight". BBC News. 3 October 2003. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Family take Silentnight private in £72m deal". The Yorkshire Post. 12 September 2003. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  16. ^ "Silentnight saved by HIG Europe buy-out". BBC News. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2017.
  17. ^ Wilson, Harry (13 January 2017). "Judge backs pensions chief in battle with Silentnight". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  18. ^ Kleinman, Mark (7 May 2013). "Silentnight Owner Braced For Pensions Payout". Sky News. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  19. ^ "Silentnight saved by HIG Europe buy-out". BBC News. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  20. ^ Athey, Neil (3 August 2016). "East Lancashire bed manufacturer hails record year after £140million sales". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  21. ^ "Restructuring beds in at Silentnight as sales top £100m". 20 April 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  22. ^ "History of Local Buildings". Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  23. ^ "Factory site is put up for sale". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. 29 August 1998. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  24. ^ "Silentnight's Pendle future secured with a £1 million investment". Pendle Today. 25 March 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  25. ^ "220 jobs axed in factory shutdown". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. 8 March 2002. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  26. ^ LIvesey, John (29 July 2009). "Warm welcome in Barnoldswick for Rolls-Royce jobs boost". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  27. ^ "Clock is ticking in race to save remaining jobs". The Sunderland Echo. 27 February 2006. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  28. ^ "Silentnight saved by HIG Europe". BBC. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  29. ^ "Restructuring beds in at Silentnight as turnover tops 100m". Insider Media. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  30. ^ "Silentnight turns 125m turnover". Insider Media. 27 July 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  31. ^ "Silentnight hails record sales performance". Insider Media. 2 August 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  32. ^ "Turnover tops 150m at Silentnight". Insider Media. 28 November 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  33. ^ Frackiewicz, Hannah (5 June 2017). "Silentnight latest company welcomed into BFM". Retrieved 31 August 2017.

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