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by Craven and Valley Life


This family-owned enterprise has come a long way from its modest inception, growing into one of the UK’s most prominent ladder retailers and earning recognition as a market leader that serves some of the country’s most esteemed household names. With a prestigious list of clients, including the likes of Warburtons, Walkers, Heineken and Boohoo, their reputation is well-deserved.

But despite their soaring success, the company’s unwavering dedication to their local heritage and the people they serve has remained steadfast – and the team believes this is just one of the driving forces behind their fantastic accomplishments.

A further unique quality that has contributed to their ever-growing success and appears to set them apart from the competition is their prime location. With easy access to the M65 and, therefore, the M6, most parts of the country can be reached with relative ease.

Join us as we embark on a nostalgic journey to celebrate this milestone anniversary, delving into the rich history, notable milestones, and remarkable accomplishments that have shaped Browns Ladders into the flourishing business it is today…

The team at Browns Ladders

1948: Humble beginnings…

Let’s flashback to Brierfield, Nelson, in 1948, when Britain was grappling with the aftermath of WWII’s devastation. Amidst the chaos, a young Clifford Brown was fueled by a steadfast ambition to provide quality ladders and access equipment to the public at affordable prices, and thus Browns Ladders was born.

Little did he know that these humble origins would pave the way for an enduring and remarkable legacy. Undeterred by the inevitable consequences that lay ahead, the business would grow steadily for the next two decades.

1970: The Annapurna South Face Tragedy

As Browns Ladders continued to flourish, 1970 brought an unexpected and poignant moment that highlighted the profound impact of their products on people’s lives – reminding us how the seemingly ordinary can suddenly become extraordinary.

That year, a pair of handmade timber ladders from Browns Ladders unexpectedly played a pivotal role in a tragic event in the South Asian mountain range of Nepal.

The company had supplied these ladders to renowned mountaineer Chris Bonington for an ambitious expedition just months before. These ladders would soon serve a sombre purpose as they were transported halfway across the world. In a heartbreaking turn of events, they were repurposed as a makeshift stretcher to carry down the body of Chris’s fellow mountaineer, Ian Clough, who had tragically lost his life to a falling ice pillar during the gruelling descent.

Chris Bonington later referenced Browns Ladders in his sombre recollection of the expedition, ‘Annapurna South Face’ (1971), for their contribution during the gruelling trek.

1977: New Leadership and a New Vision

As Browns Ladders entered a new era in 1977, Adrian Sugden and Colin Roe from the nearby Nelson Joinery took the reigns. With fresh ideas and a new vision, they transformed the premises with alterations and a new extension.

1997  2001: Growing and Adapting

Over the next two decades, Browns Ladders continued to evolve and adapt to the shifting landscape. In 1997 Trevor joined the team to elevate the company’s profile and explore the possibilities of on-site ladder inspections and repairs.

“This year, the company also conducted its first on-site ladder survey at John Wilman Wallpapers. A service the company still carries out to this day to almost 400 loyal ladder survey customers, with the help of their six in-house inspectors.

By 2001, Colin had retired, and Adrian joined forces with Barbara and Trevor Ginley to form a new and dynamic partnership.

2004: Making a TV debut

Just a couple of years later, the family-run ladder specialists made their television debut. They contributed to a heartwarming cause by supplying ladders to a Christmas special of the hit BBC TV show ‘Changing Rooms’. In the episode, the team renovated the village of Boscastle in Cornwall, which had been devastated by floods earlier that year.

Today: From strength to strength…

Today, with a lifetime of memories, accomplishments and stories behind them, Browns Ladders offers an extensive selection of ladders and access equipment catering to a wide range of needs. Their comprehensive product line and service offerings include everything from loft ladders to scaffolding, work platforms, garden ladders, health and safety training courses, ladder inspections, window cleaning supplies and much more.

Now under the leadership of Barbara and Trevor Ginley, the dedicated team at Browns Ladders has not only expanded the company’s product offerings but also embraced innovation and adaptability in a rapidly changing world. This is evident in their recent brand refresh, executed by the Burnley-based Creative and Marketing Agency, Root Fifty-Two.

Trevor and Babara Ginley

In a statement, Browns Ladders Director Trevor Ginley said, “We owe this fantastic 75-year milestone to our clients and staff, past and present, and would like to say a huge thank you for all of their contributions to our success. We’re incredibly proud of our roots here in Lancashire and simply wouldn’t be where we are today were it not for the support of our vibrant local community.”

Trevor went on to emphasise the company’s unwavering commitment to excellent customer service, which has played a crucial role in their ongoing success. To express their gratitude to the local community, Browns Ladders will be sharing a collection of local memorabilia from Nelson and the surrounding areas on their Facebook page, inviting everyone to join in and engage with the company’s rich history.

What’s next for Browns Ladders?

“We’ve no plans to take our foot off the pedal!” explained Trevor. “We’re thrilled with our recent brand refresh and continuously strive to innovate and improve our service offerings where possible. We like to think of ourselves as up against the big names in the industry, but by remaining loyal to our values, providing a fantastic customer experience, and engaging with our community – we know we’ve got what it takes!”

As we look back on Browns Ladders’ remarkable 75-year journey, it is clear that the company’s perseverance, innovation, and dedication to serving their local community has paved the way for their success. As the company continues to build on their strong foundation, one thing is for certain: the future looks bright for Browns Ladders and the generations of customers they continue to serve.

Happy 75th anniversary, Browns Ladders!

To learn more about Browns Ladders and the services they offer, please visit their new website , or give them a call on 01282 615517.

Browns Ladders team