Bulldog Tools are one of the oldest surviving tool businesses in the UK with a documented history stretching back almost a quarter of a century and it is thought that the first-ever forge on the current Clarington Forge site was established by Cistercian monks back in the 13th century.
However, the company that is now Bulldog Tools was founded 240 years ago in Wigan, England by William & Henry Parkes in 1780 and is one of the town’s longest-standing companies.
Later the business became known as WM Park & Co, a name which still holds a place in Wigan’s history with a road near the factory called Henry Park Street and over the years many local people have been employed in the forge, factory, warehouse and offices, forming strong ties with the Wigan community.
By 1800 Bulldog Tools were being used to help dig canals all over the UK and raw materials and finished tools were then shipped along the Leeds and Liverpool canal right up to the factory’s back door.
The tools have a long history of military use and the company’s shovels and spades were used to dig trenches and defensive works in both World Wars I and II and digging tools from the range are still used by the British military today.
In 1920 the iconic Springbok Rake first came into production and has been manufactured in the Wigan factory ever since. Much imitated but never equalled, the Springbok Rake is one of the UK’s most popular garden tools and is now supplied to customers in countries all around the world. The rake has featured in countless advertisements over the years including one with 1966 World Cup winning legend Sir Bobby Charlton!
During the 1960s the factory employed over 300 workers and every Bulldog digging tool leaving the factory after 1961 was manufactured to surpass British Standard BS3388. At this time many of the staff lived in company houses close to the factory and there was a large catering division, social club and even Bowling, Cricket and Football teams!
Several companies have owned Bulldog over the years with Rollins Group acquiring the business in 2004 and immediately beginning a 15 year programme of investment and improvements to the Wigan factory and warehouse, which is now one of the most modern and efficient in the industry.
In 2005 the Powerbreaker range of insulated digging tools was launched with a comprehensive UK testing laboratory and a range of tools which are individually tested to 10,000v and guaranteed to 1,000v and supplied with a unique certificate conforming to all of the standards set by BS8020:2011 for live working.
Rollins Group first exhibited Bulldog Tools at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2006 and have been showing and demonstrating their tools at the show ever since. In 2011, the Bulldog Forge Garden designed by Jon Wheatley won a coveted RHS Gold Medal and was visited by HM The Queen. This was just the latest in a long association between Bulldog and various members of the Royal Family and British politicians.
The company has twice held the Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Garden Spade, first in 2010 and again in 2012 with our largest spade measuring in at 4.5m tall and featuring in the famous Guinness Book of Records. The spade now takes pride of place above the reception at our Wigan factory.
As the Bulldog Tools range has developed and grown over the years a wide variety of catalogues and flyers have been produced to promote the brand around the world and Bulldog advertisements have been featured in most national newspapers and all of the most prestigious gardening and horticultural magazines. The distinctive and much loved Bulldog logo features on each and every tool, reassuring customers of the item’s quality, strength and heritage.
While the look of the tools may have been updated over the last 240 years, their quality and strength remain the same. Bulldog tools are appreciated by contractors, builders and tradesmen, gardeners and agricultural workers around the world and are exported worldwide from our close neighbours in Europe to countries as far away as South America.
Shop our range of Bulldog Tools on Greenham.
Disclaimer: The information provided through Greenham Pulse is for general guidance only and is not legal advice. Greenham Pulse is not a substitute for Health and Safety consultancy. You should seek independent advice about any legal matter.