Heritage & History

History of Manor Coating Systems, formerly the Shipley Paint and Varnish Company Limited.

Born in the early 1900’s, Thomas Raymond Smith (Ray) became a traveling salesman, who widened his product portfolio by selling paint around Yorkshire and Lancashire for a small paint manufacturer in Bingley.

In 1938, Ray joined with a local decorating contractor to purchase the business and the company started to grow and flourish, producing and delivering paint.  

During the Second World War, the company continued to supply paint to local manufacturers engaged in the war effort and even though Ray was called up as a mature soldier, the other employees were able to maintain the business during this time.

Ray could see the advances being made in paint products, so the business invested in companies supplying new paint technologies. As sales of decorative paint increased in the 1950’s, Manor Emulsion was launched which was possibly the first ever vinyl soft sheen emulsion on the market.

Ray’s three sons, Dale, Rodney and Martin joined the company in the mid 60’s and between them were responsible for keeping the production running and soon the company aimed to be a one-stop-shop, with each son having a particular area of expertise.  Dale developed new markets, while Rodney ran a new division of the company based in Leeds and Martin concentrated on developing the company’s production capabilities.

The company moved to its current premises on Otley Road in Shipley in 1972 with growth continuing at a rapid pace for Manor to become the largest seller of automotive paint, supplying body repair shops. Production increased and the first colour computer was purchased for the development laboratory in 1979 to help produce small batches of special match colours, which was essential to the company’s growth.

During the recession in the early 80’s the company refocused on designing and manufacturing its own range of products, with the development of a range of universal colourants to enable paint to be tinted “in can”. The industrial product range for metal finishing expanded rapidly, with the growth in primer finishes being particularly significant.

In 1995 the company suffered a fire, with the production and lab facilities being wiped out, however fellow members of the British Coatings Federation stepped in to manufacture paint under licence using the Manor formulations.

Recovering from this tragic event, the company continued to develop over the coming years with industrial sales becoming the largest part of the business. The business launched its third generation of industrial tinters and opened further depots to serve local customers.

Today, Dale’s son, Patrick and Martin’s daughter, Liz are integral to the company’s management team and continue to support its growth and development in producing high performance technologically advanced paints for its valued customers.