Category Archives: Facts & Figures

Extraordinary recovery for builders’ merchants’ sales

In the latest Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) report published in May, Britain’s Builders’ Merchants continued to report strong growth in Q1 2021, with total value sales up 8.6% compared to the previous quarter and 15.1% up on Q1 2020. Removing the effects of Covid, results are still positive, with merchants reporting an increase of 6.0% in Q1 2021 on Q1 2019.

Growth was fuelled by a bumper March, with total sales up 47.4% on March 2020 and by a no less extraordinary 23.0% compared to the same month in 2019. Sales for Kitchens & Bathrooms were up 18.7% on March 2020 but down slightly by 1% on March 2019.

Outdoor categories, particularly Landscaping and Timber & Joinery products, experienced exceptional first quarter growth. Landscaping sales were 41.4% up on Q1 2020 and an astonishing 32.3% up on Q1 2019. Over the same periods, Timber & Joinery Products was up 30.5% and 15.8% respectively.

However, for indoor trades like Kitchens & Bathrooms, where Covid restrictions has impacted the rate of recovery in these sectors, sales were down -1.8% on Q1 2020. Month-on-month, however, it was a positive picture, with sales up 12.3% in March compared to February.


The BMBI index for Q1 2021 was 120.7. Timber & Joinery Products and Landscaping were the strongest categories, each at 141.5. For Kitchens & Bathrooms the Q1 index was 107.5.

Download the BMBI Q1 report here.

The Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI)

The BMBI is a brand of the BMF. The BMBI report, which is produced and managed by MRA Research, uses GfK’s Builders Merchant Point of Sale Tracking Data which analyses sales out data from over 80% of generalist builders’ merchants’ sales across Great Britain. The full report is on


2019: A year most of us won’t forget!

2019 will go down as one of those years we won’t forget. Brexit dominated the headlines and created uncertainty across all spheres of business in the UK, including the builders’ merchant and retail stockist sectors. The year also reminded us the effect weather and long periods of rain can have on business and sales.


Total Builders’ Merchant value sales in Q4 2019 were -4.0% down compared with the same quarter in 2018. Adjusted for trading days, average sales a day dropped -2.4%.

Tools (-8.5%) and Timber & Joinery (-6.7%) were particularly affected, closely followed by Heavy Building Materials (-4.6%). Kitchens & Bathrooms was among the three product sectors to report an increase over the period (+3.0%). The other two were Renewables & Water Saving (+6.4%) and Workwear & Safetywear (+5.8%).


Quarter four 2019 did not end well, with total value sales dropping -13.9% compared with Q3 2019. The drop was less marked when adjusted for trading days (-5.2%).

Most product categories reported lower value sales over the period, with sales of the seasonal category landscaping down the most, by -33.2%, followed by Heavy Building Materials (-14.8%) and Timber & Joinery Products (-13.1%). Quarter-on-quarter value sales for Kitchens & Bathrooms fell by -6.4%. The only two categories to report growth over the period were Workwear & Safetywear (+11.2%) and Plumbing, Heating & Electrical (+3.8%).


The total BMBI index for Q4 2019 was 106.4, a significant drop from 123.6 in Q3 2019. The index for Kitchens & Bathrooms was higher than the total at 114.6 for Q4 2019, but had fallen from the previous quarter (122.3).

Our Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam and BMBI’s Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering, comments:

Looking back, 2019 was a year on hold. The first quarter started promisingly, but the RMI replacement and improvement market for shower enclosures and bathroom products was weakened by constant negativity in parliament and the press over Brexit. Different channels and different regions were affected in different ways, but some stockists reported sales down by up to 10%. The final three months were particularly weak.

“However, December’s General Election appears to have been a pivotal moment. The public and business responded with relief to the prospect of clarity and stability from a big-majority Government, and the constant carping in the media has eased.

“GfK’s Consumer Confidence index rose strongly in December, by 3 points, followed by a further 2 points in January. January also saw a strong 1.9% rise in house prices, according to Nationwide. Consumer spending grew 3.9% in January, according to Barclaycard, up from a lacklustre 1% growth in December. This has yet to translate into business across all sectors, but it sets the scene for better news for the home improvement market in 2020. We expect homeowners will have the confidence to spend on their property, including investing in a new or improved bathroom.

“One of the key factors driving such investments is the increasing trend to multi-generational living. Recent research quotes a 46% increase in multi-generational living in less than a decade. Older family members are moving into their children’s homes, and the number of households with 20-34-year olds living in their parental home increased from 2.6 million in 2007 to 3.4 million in 2017.

“More people under one roof means the bathroom is one of the most used rooms in the house. Bathroom furniture and showering spaces therefore need to be robust, low maintenance, easy to clean, safe and adaptable to different needs. For example, the less mobile require low thresholds so they can get in and out of the shower without tripping, and grandparents may need a shower seat and grab rail so they can shower safely and comfortably. But these improvements do not need to be ugly or utilitarian. There’s a new generation of ‘multi-generational’ products that are smart and stylish, well matched to the spa-like modern bathrooms that have become so popular.”

Each quarter, BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. For the latest reports, Expert comments and Round Table debate videos, visit

New decade, new #DesignedForLife brochure from Lakes

Lakes, a leading manufacturer of showering spaces and a carbon neutral company, kicks off the new decade with a refreshed #DesignedForLife brochure. Building on Lakes’ key themes of lifestyle imagery and bathroom sets that reflect life as lived, the 2020 brochure includes a new dedicated section for Walk-Ins, the new Bay Series and Lakes Stone launched last summer, and an extended Collection of Lakes Additions.

Lakes Additions 500 Series is a new collection of discreet foldaway shower seats and stylish grab-rails and bars. With a rise in multi-generational living, bathroom and shower manufacturers need solutions to suit a range of lifestyles and needs under one roof. The 500 Series adds safety and comfort without compromising on great looks or design.

Lakes’ brochure is rapidly becoming a powerful sales tools for merchants, stockists and installers. It makes the case for the whole showering space – the glass, tray, hardware, framing and optional extras. This innovative approach is helping Lakes’ customers explain the market easily and effectively, and makes the most of new selling opportunities.

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam comments: “Our brochures don’t just look different from the norm, they are also leading the way in defining the showering space market to give it a purpose and focus so our customers can sell more. From explaining the technical function of shower glass, through to the simple benefits of quick release – a spring mechanism that makes it easy to clean around the base of the shower – our brochure reminds customers of what matters for today’s lifestyle needs. The new brochure has hit the market already and we’re looking forward to its impact!”

For a copy of Lakes’ new 2020 #DesignedForLife brochure call 01684 853 870 or download it here.

Merchants’ sales of kitchen and bathroom products grow in Q3

Total Builders’ Merchants’ value sales were down -0.8% in Q3 2019 against the same period last year. The adjusted figure, which takes into account the difference in trading days, was down -2.3% compared with Q3 2018.

Value sales of Heavy Building Materials declined marginally by -0.4% year-on-year with Timber & Joinery sales also falling by -4.7% over the same period. Kitchens & Bathrooms was among the strongest categories with growth of +3.2% in the quarter.

Compared with Q2 2019, Total Builders’ Merchants’ sales saw marginal growth of +0.2% in Q3. However, when adjusted for the four additional trading days in Q3, the figures showed a sales decline of -6.0%, marking the second consecutive quarter with negative growth. Despite a fall in sales of -0.8% on an adjusted basis, the Kitchens & Bathrooms category was the second best performing category quarter-on-quarter.

Month-on-month sales in September were up by +1.0% compared to August on an equal number of trading days, with merchant sales of bathroom and kitchen products slightly more positive at +1.8%.

Mike Tattam, Sales & Marketing Director Lakes, and BMBI’s Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering, said: “With political parties outdoing themselves in predicting dire consequences, and politicians and the media flinging large numbers around, it’s no wonder people are uncertain and less confident.

“GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index dropped a further two points in October to -14. The index is calculated as an average of averages from five core questions. The questions are about people’s personal financial situation, based on how it’s changed in the last 12 months and how it’s expected to change in the next 12 months, how the general economic situation has changed and is expected to change, and in view of that, whether now is the right time to make major purchases?

“The gaps between their own situation and their expectations and views of the economy are huge. In October, consumers’ personal financial situation and expectations for the next 12 months are both +1 i.e., still positive, and the Major Purchase Index (which includes most RMI projects) is also +1 so it’s still a good time to buy. But, consumers’ views of how the economy has performed in the last 12 months have tanked (-33), as have their expectations for the next 12 months (-37)! Could there be any clearer demonstration of the negative effect of the grandstanding and self-serving behaviour in parliament and the snide commentary we’ve been exposed to in the national media?

“The Environment Bill that was introduced to Parliament after the Queen’s speech has been parked while we elect a new Government. If enacted, it will set environment targets for the UK. Industry will be required to recycle glass, metal, plastic, paper and card and cover the costs of doing so, including the costs of collecting and transporting the waste. Whether this Bill makes it or not, another will follow so manufacturers need to act now.

“That’s why Lakes recently announced new sustainable packaging to reduce waste. It will also make it safer and easier for our customers and installers to handle large heavy packaging. And it’s why we’re establishing a closed-loop mechanism to bring back packaging waste from stockists and installers to us.”

For the latest insights, download the Q3 BMBI Report here:

Slowdown in merchant Q2 sales of kitchen and bathroom products

Following a strong start to the year, Total Builders’ Merchants’ value sales were down -1.2% in Q2 2019 against the same period last year. However, the adjusted figure, which takes into account trading day differences, was marginally positive at +0.4%.

Most product categories recorded a negative performance, heavily influenced by poor trading towards the end of the period (June). Heavy Building Materials, the largest category, declined by -1.6% year-on-year. Bathrooms & Kitchens value sales were down by -1.3% over the same period. Landscaping was the best performing category, rising by +1.2%.

Quarter-on-quarter, however, the picture is more positive. Total Builders’ Merchants’ sales in Q2 2019 increased by +8.9% compared with Q1, and average sales a day (which takes into account the difference in trading days) were up +12.5% over the same period.

Month-on-month, sales in June were down by -9.4% on one less trading day compared to May. Merchant sales of bathrooms and kitchen products fared better, down -3.2%.

Sales & Marketing Director Mike Tattam, and BMBI’s Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering, said: “Three years of negative headlines with politicians changing position and pretending they haven’t, has taken its toll on public trust. It’s making people ask if they should buy products such as bathrooms and showering spaces now or wait until the fog clears and there’s less to worry about.

“Consumers are concerned about the wider economy, but while real incomes are rising, they’re much happier with their own finances and prospects. However, they’re holding back on big ticket sales like cars, bathrooms and showering products. Lakes, our own brand, is doing better than the market but we estimate that shower enclosures and associated products are down around 9% in the first six months. Unlike boilers, showers are not distress purchases, they’re planned in advance and can be delayed.

“Brexit concerns are also weighing on the pound with suppliers absorbing increased costs, but now that’s not sustainable in the long term particularly if sterling falls further.

“The public recognises Brexit as businesses’ biggest challenge, but 49% of consumers see online shopping leading to the decline in the high street as the second biggest. Helping stockists respond to it is the next challenge. Stockists want support from their suppliers who need to give a clear indication of their strategy and trading route so customers can make decisions on their own future requirements.”

BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. For the latest reports, Expert comments and Round Table videos, visit

Lakes’ new rollfold for premium stone resin shower trays

Lakes’ new rollfold for premium stone resin shower trays

Lakes, the leading manufacturer of showering spaces, introduces a new 8-page rollfold to support the launch of its premium stone resin shower trays. The rollfold continues the lifestyle theme of Lakes’ main ‘Designed for Life’ brochure for consistency in look and impact.

Lakes Stone is a suite of stylish stone resin trays available in a choice of four sizes and three on-trend colours to suit rectangular showering spaces across Lakes’ Island, Coastline and Classic Collections. The innovative trays feature a premium matt finish with a through-colour, so its elegant and smooth looks are not affected if the tray is accidentally knocked.

The 30mm trays are anti-slip and anti-bacterial. A non-porous surface prevents mould or bacteria forming in the joints or beneath the surface – a quick wipe is all that is required to keep the trays clean and looking good. The trays are also easy to fit and can be inset into the floor, making them an ideal solution for a wide range of projects. All Lakes Stone trays are backed by a 10-year guarantee.

Lakes Sales & Marketing Director, Mike Tattam, comments: “Our focus is on product developments that help our merchants and stockist customers create stunning displays and achieve the utmost impact in their showrooms. It’s easy to focus on just one or two elements of a showering space, but the ultimate showering experience comes from a combination of glass, hardware, frame and the floor. So our priority is on delivering high-quality solutions in all these areas so our customers can maximise their sales opportunities and stand out.”

For a copy of Lakes’ new rollfold call 01684 853 870 or visit

BMBI reports Strong Q1 for Kitchens & Bathrooms

Total Builders’ Merchants value sales to builders, contractors, and kitchen and bathroom installers were up 5.9% in the first quarter of 2019, compared with Q1 2018. Product categories that grew strongly included Timber & Joinery, up 6.6%, Heavy Building Materials, up 6.8%, and Landscaping, which saw value growth of 15.6% as the year got off to a better start than 2018 with the milder weather. Bathrooms & Kitchens sales were up 1.1% year-on-year.

Compared with Q4 2018, Total Builders Merchants’ sales in Q1 2019 increased by 1.9%, but average sales a day (which takes into account the difference in trading days) were 3.0% lower over the same period. Sales in the Kitchens & Bathrooms category were up 4.7% on the previous quarter, achieving a higher growth rate than many other categories.

Total sales in March 2019 were up 8.3%, with the milder weather impacting positively compared to the same period last year. Kitchens & Bathrooms sales were up by 2.1%. Product categories that displayed the highest growth year-on-year were those related to external work. Timber & Joinery was up by 9.2% and Heavy Building Materials by 9.4%, while landscaping saw an even greater increase at 25.6% in March.

Mike Tattam, Lakes Sales & Marketing Director and BMBI Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering, comments:

“Much as we’d like to, it’s hard to block out the effects of Brexit on our lives and businesses. Businesses are frustrated by having to divert their time and focus from helping customers compete more effectively and grow, to focusing on minimising the potential disruption and delays from one of these outcomes so they can compete at all.

“Whether shower enclosure companies have their products made for them, or they manufacture as Lakes does in its own factory, most companies import, mostly from China. So, all brands have to factor in shipping, long lead times, port access, currency movements – and road haulage for the final leg of the journey – so customers can sell without disruption.

“There have been fewer delays caused by ships being diverted from UK ports, but it can take 48 hours getting through French ports as customs officials start flexing their muscles. The Road Haulage Association says there are not enough HGV drivers in the UK, and many EU nationals are returning home because their markets are good, wages are improving and there’s plenty of work.

“Many companies built up their stocks in Q1 to unprecedented levels to ensure continuity of supply in time for an unruly EU exit on 29th March. But carrying and funding up to five and half months’ stock in the short term is quite different from carrying it through to October 31st, the postponed exit date or beyond.”

BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. For the latest reports, Expert comments and Round Table videos, visit

Builders Merchants’ sales enjoy Q2 bounce

Builders Merchants’ sales enjoy Q2 bounce

Sales through UK builders’ merchants bounced back in Q2 2018, with the BMF’s Builders Merchants Building Index (BMBI) reporting 7.2% growth in sales value over Q2 2017.  There was one more trading day during Q2 this year, adjusting for this the average daily sales growth year on year was 5.5%. The strong performance in Q2 contrasts markedly to a weather-hindered performance in the first quarter of the year.

The cold weather in quarter 1 seemed to stimulate growth in Quarter 2 within the Plumbing, Heating and Electrical category as people looked to upgrade old or failing equipment. The category had exceptional year on year growth up 13.3%, with April growing at 22.5% year on year driven by Boilers and Lighting.

Mike Tattam, Lakes Sales & Marketing Director and BMBI Expert for Shower Enclosures & Showering, comments:

“Home improvement retailers struggled with the weather and a less confident retail market this year. But, RMI continues to perform. This BMBI report shows that kitchen and bathroom Q2 sales were 6.1% up in value on the same quarter last year, and the past 12 months were 6.1% up compared to the previous twelve, making it the second best performing BMBI category.

“It’s been a relatively flat start to the year for shower enclosures though, with signs of improvement from this quarter. Merchant and stockist showrooms reported less foot traffic in June and July, coinciding with the World Cup and extremely warm weather.

“Compared to other ‘bathroom’ products, people spend less time thinking about shower enclosures: they look through the glass at the shower head, fittings, or tiles before they see the enclosure. That’s because enclosure brands have left it to others to promote showering spaces, and not explained why or how the showering space is important. However, emerging trends are shaping the market, providing opportunities for strong growth.

“Eight out of ten people now prefer to shower than take a bath. New build homes are shrinking, so housebuilders favour stand-up showers instead of baths, and lifestyles are changing with an increase in multigenerational households having an impact too. The bathroom is increasingly becoming a personal sanctuary and it’s an important space with enclosures at the heart of good showering.

“The most significant trend is the development of ‘The Haves’, driven by the rising value of homes, housing wealth and demographics. This group of generally older homeowners, especially the over 55s, own much of Britain’s housing wealth. They account for most of the UK’s savings, and they’re becoming more numerous. They have the money, and with rising house prices paying for the purchase, why wouldn’t they invest in their home? This powerful trend is driving most home improvement markets, not just bathrooms and showers. Watch this trend grow in importance.”

BMBI Experts speak exclusively for their markets, explaining trends, issues and opportunities. For the latest reports, Expert comments and Round Table videos, visit

Men vs Women: The battle of the bathroom

To find out which sex tops the tiles we commissioned a OnePoll survey of 1000 people aged 18-70. Here’s what we found…

  1. There is only a marginal difference between the amount of men and women showering daily. 60% of women shower daily. 57% of men shower daily.
  2. Men are happier to use a good old fashioned bar of soap than women. 33% of men vs 26% of women.
  3. Women seem to be busy in the shower. 33% more likely to shave, 25% more likely to exfoliate and 9% more likely to plan the day ahead.
  4. Women take longer in the shower, but only by 2 minutes.
  5. Men are far more likely to tackle any shower repairs. 51% of men tackle repairs themselves compared to 13% of women. 35% of women would prefer to use a specialist tradesman.
  6. When shopping for shower enclosures 43% of women would visit bathroom showrooms compared to 33% of men. More men would visit a plumber or builders merchant.
  7. When choosing a shower enclosure size is the 3rd most important feature to men and women.

No winners or losers in this battle of the bathroom!

Our survey reveals that many old fashioned perceptions about the difference in bathroom behaviours between men and women are much smaller than you might expect.

Source: OnePoll 2016

A Brief History of the Shower (part two)

We last left you in the late Victorian era, a point in English history that the modern shower owes a great debt to. It was from this point we begin to see what closely resembles the image of the shower we know and love today.

The late Victorian Era

So what made this period so pivotal? The combination of two things:

1. A new wave of ‘morality’, tied to which was an obsession with cleanliness and purity.

2. The industrial revolution and the succeeding years of engineering brilliance

From the 1880s onwards environmental and health standards rose sharply, with the introduction of an expanded London water supply network and improved access to gas lighting and heating throughout the country.

It’s important to note that at this time even the upper classes of England, mostly, didn’t have plumbing in their homes. They didn’t see the worth as their servants could heat water for them and the idea of a home with plumbing for the masses was way beyond their means; the shower was still the reserve of the knowing (lucky) few.



1900s adverts for plumbing fixtures
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You’ll notice from these 1905 and 1911 plumbing fixtures ads, that the earliest forms of the over-bath shower of the early 20th century is miraculously unchanged in many ways compared to some of the over bath options we see today.

For obvious reasons the evolution of the shower took a bit of a break during the war years as people’s attention, resources, and invention were focused elsewhere.

bathroom advertising post war
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Post-war years

After years of austerity and hardship following World Wars I and II, coinciding with a sharp rise in the middle classes there was a general need for positivity, life, colour and aspiration. The glamour of Hollywood movies influenced a desire for certain luxuries and choice in bathroom design.

The bathroom was fast becoming a source of pride for the aspirational housewife of the 1950’s and 60’s, although the functionality of the shower remained much unchanged, it was now something that would start to become a little more commonplace in the average home.










Following the lead of the American market by the 60’s the English bathroom finally started to adopt the shower as an option. At this point the first electric showers were introduced, which finally saw an evolution from the water tank, providing people with the option of an instantly hot water supply.


The seventies simply saw the shower market grow further, becoming more commonplace in the average household, and saw the supporting bathroom furniture in a more varied selection of questionable colours.

1970s bathroom advert
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The Era of the power suit, the brick sized mobile phone, the CD player and the DeLorean. This really was the time of technical revolution, creating a culture of ‘more is more’ which can often lead to technical advances that aren’t always a valuable step forward – not all of which lasted the test of time. Manufacturers started to produce showers with multiple settings, multiple jets coming from different directions and even coloured lights.


Around 62% of all houses now had a shower, with the electric shower allowing for a shower conversion in the smallest of spaces. No household need go without.


Lakes Bathrooms introduces PureVueHD; the low-iron glass providing superior clarity AS STANDARD on our Classic and Coastline ranges. This may not be revolutionary in technology stakes, but for the first time this costly optional extra is available as standard at no extra cost, providing people with the superior shower experience we as a company always intended.

To find out more about PureVueHD click here

What does the future hold?

With the way technology seems to be advancing in other business and industry sectors we could make some pretty safe assumptions about the next evolutions of the shower. Some of which ‘might’ already be in development;

Enclosure heads-up displays:

Have you seen the film ‘Minority Report’ or anything supposedly set in the future, where every technology seems to be controlled on a transparent glass screen? Well this technology already exists and has done for a number of years. Since the introduction of portable devices, people now spend very little of their time without access to a screen. This is the same with the bathroom, proven by this year’s alarming stats about the number of people using their smartphones whilst using the toilet! The shower screen and enclosure could simply the next step in this evolution, touch screen glass that allows us to browse and view whilst showering.

A Brief History of the Shower (part one)

In terms of the history of invention the household shower is still a relatively modern one, especially in relation us filthy Europeans. The First domestic applications didn’t really surface till around 1900 but the history and evolution of the shower drastically pre-dates this; it’s this evolution and where we are now that we’ll be discovering now.

Let’s start at the beginning…

1,000,000 BC

If you hadn’t guessed, this is a slight assumption, but the original showers definitely would neither of been man-made or indoors. The very first ‘showers’ would have been natural formations – think less ‘The Flintstones’ using a woolly mammoth to spray water through the bathroom window and more Raquel Welch under a waterfall.

Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia

There is some evidence to suggest that early advanced cultures had indoor shower rooms for the upper classes where servants would pour jugs of water over them for cleaning purposes.

Ancient Greece (the first real showers)

The early Greek civilisation is the birthplace of the technical prowess that established the ideas of sewage systems, running water and the first iterations of what we can begin to recognise as a working shower system. Utilising aqueducts made of lead piping to carry large supplies of water and using water pressure to public shower rooms, the Greeks introduced showering as a social activity for the masses and not simple as the reserve of the wealthy.

picture if ancient Greek showeer
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Ancient Rome

The Romans adopted the Greek showering pastime, but for the first time saw the true hygienic benefits, suggesting that showering should occur on at least a weekly or even daily basis.

drawing of a plan for a shower in 1700s
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1767 AD, England (The age of the modern shower)

In 1767 Englishman William Feetham patented the first mechanical shower. The system wasn’t a rip roaring success because as it was operated by a hand pump, making it only a step up from your servant pouring water over your head as seen thousands of years earlier – it also just recycled the same dirty water over and over again. A few further iterations based around this original concept gained moderately more success; but real success wouldn’t begin to appear until 1850 when these systems were connected to a running water source.


Prior to the 1880s the majority of shower designs were rather like having a pail of water tipped over you from a height, but by the 1880s the range of products were evolving in new and exciting directions.

picture of a cage shower
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Needle shower/Cage showers

The needle or cage shower directed jets of water all-round the torso, but wasn’t really sold for pleasure or its cleaning prowess, as with many things in the Victorian era its was promoted for its supposed health benefits – often described as a liver shower or bath, thanks to supposedly offering a stimulating massage for internal organs. Needle showers were marketed to gentlemen’s athletic clubs as well as private houses.

A rain shower

A rain shower also known as a spray bath, was a desirable fitting for modern, hygienic public baths and hospitals. With an overhead spray coming from a circular head pointing straight down or slightly slanted the rain shower was a very close representation of today’s standard systems.

Combination showers/Canopy showers

Canopy showers or canopy baths were produced by a number of manufacturers and varied from the simply functional to the highly ornate, with both options being the reserve of the very wealthy. These impressive shower bathtub combinations became the centrepiece of the room with some being up to seven feet high. With many being ornately carved, highly polished woods or finely enamelled on the exterior; this iteration of the shower started to signify a move into the shower as not only functional but also designed to enhance the home setting.

During this Victorian period of invention most showers were sold on pure functionality, heavily based on any associated health benefits. As we move out of the Victorian period we start to see the shower move into the common domestic home and further develop back into tools for enjoyment and functionality.

In the next parts you’ll see what has happened in the next century to lead to the showers we have today and the possible advances of the future.

To browse the beauty of contemporary showers enclosures click here.

Showering is an essential part of a premium bathroom

Showering has come a long way from the ‘Psycho’ days of wrestling with limp shower curtains and clunky perspex enclosures. The wetroom and walk-in now create a feeling of relaxed spa living and we’ve come to take this facility for granted as a standard feature in the bathroom.

In a recent survey of 1000 consumers, aged between 18 -70, conducted by for us by OnePoll, we found that over half those surveyed said that they shower daily (50%) and 62% said that they’d rather have a separate shower enclosure to combining this with their bath. So there’s a clear majority in favour of showering and having a separate space for that, with almost a quarter (24%) saying that the style of the enclosure would be the biggest influencing factor in their selection process.

With showering having the edge in daily cleansing, it’s easy to argue that showering is an essential part of a premium bathroom and style plays a very important part in the choice of enclosure. Some of the most popular designs we sell are our Coastline walk-in styles. This perhaps illustrates the increasing trend for creating the boutique hotel feel in our own homes, with the focus on quality of materials to create an opulent and indulgent feel.

Whilst style is an essential consideration, so too is space. Over half of those consumers polled said that the size of the enclosure was the most important feature of their choice. So designs that maximise on available space lend luxury to the bathroom experience. Where the layout allows, a larger footprint for showering is preferred, as we see from our premium sales, where our larger sliding doors are our best sellers, often replacing baths. However, the feeling of space doesn’t have to come entirely from floorspace; mirrored enclosures offer reflective magic that conjures light into smaller rooms. These fit the growing trend for form with function, by combining the practicality of mirroring with aesthetic impact and adding a point of style.

70% of our total Coastline sales are made up from walk-in designs, clearly demonstrating that the customer base for the premium collection favour the ease, style and freedom of minimalist screening.

Finally, it’s fair to say that the concept of premium implies choice and having the option to bathe and to shower separately, yet in equal style, must surely be the ultimate statement of luxury.