Gainsborough Showers History

Gainsborough electric showers were first produced by the Woodley family in Birmingham in 1972. The Woodley family pioneered the instantaneous water heater in the UK, which is the technology still used in today’s electric showers forty years later.

The first Gainsborough electric shower was available with a 5 kilowatt heater, then a 6 kW and later a 7kW. These tankless heaters had external water controls (valves).

At this time in the UK there was a limited shower market. Only bath taps with integral shower mixers and school communal showers were in use. Mixer showers were in existence but were unpopular due to the UK’s gravity-fed water systems producing a poor performance. Installation was also difficult, adding a further barrier to this type of shower. More and more consumers were starting to holiday abroad on the Spanish Costas for example, with many experiencing showering for the first time.

The electric shower grew in popularity owing to its easy installation, providing that mains cold feed and electricity were available. At the time, The Electricity Council were the Government body set up to oversee the electricity supply in England and Wales. Their responsibilities included helping the Electricity Boards improve efficiency. They recognised the potential for the electric shower and the market developed through the Regional Electricity Companies and their retail showrooms with a supply and fit service.

The Woodley family sold the company to The Valor Group in 1985 and production of Gainsborough Showers was moved to Norwich, and became part of Heatrae Sadia Heating Ltd. In 1991 the renamed group, Yale & Valor, was acquired by Williams Holdings.

The market continued to boom over the next few years with the rapid development of the DIY superstore including B&Q, Texas Homecare and Sainsbury’s Homebase which all stocked ranges of electric showers, as well as mail order catalogue companies such as Littlewoods.

In 1997, Newmond bought the building products division of Williams Holdings, and four years later merged with Baxi, who also owned Aqualisa Products Limited. In 2002, Gainsborough Showers moved to Worksop in Nottinghamshire.

In October 2004, Baxi Holdings Ltd sold the Aqualisa division of the business (including Gainsborough Showers) for £82.5 million to a management buy-out backed by CBPE Capital.

Today, Gainsborough Showers operates out of Aqualisa headquarters in Westerham, Kent, while still maintaining a packing and distribution base in Worksop. We currently offer over 20 shower configurations ranging from our original electric shower concept to stylish, contemporary mixer showers. All of our showers are available to buy online direct from us. Our mission is to make buying a shower online quick, simple and painless. All of our showers therefore come with free delivery as standard to mainland UK addresses.