Design Classics #45: Barber Wilsons Taps

This classic tap is designed by Barber Wilsons

traditional taps from Barber Wilsons
traditional taps from Barber Wilsons

This classic tap is found in homes up and down the country. It even has a place in at least one of the Royal Palaces, as the company, which was founded in 1905, holds a royal warrant to supply kitchen taps and bathroom mixers to HM the Queen.

Today Barber Wilsons is one of only a handful of companies still designing and making taps in the UK. They are still hand-made and are, as the current MD and fourth generation Wilson, Simone, says “reassuringly expensive”.

When Barber Wilsons was founded, all taps looked like this and they were one of around 250 brass foundries in the UK all making household taps. Then, in the 1960s, demand fell off as people began to want more modern designs.

Undeterred, the company concentrated on its industrial side, making large brass taps for fire engines and oil companies. Until one day, a representative of another traditional bath manufacturer, Czech and Speake came knocking and asked them to manufacture and supply some of the old style taps.

Barber Wilsons taps are reassuringly expensive
Barber Wilsons taps are reassuringly expensive

And that, as the story goes was that. Barber Wilsons were back in the domestic market. They no longer supply Czech and Speake, but do make some products for Aston Matthews as well as selling their own range.

Their royal connections have also led to success in America and the Barber Wilsons is now the sole surviving independent family-run business in the industry. Simone’s son, Henry, is the fifth generation of the family and Simone is hopeful that her son will one day want to take over the reins of the family firm.


Barber Wilsons kindly sponsored  the Modenus Blog Tour along with MieleBlancoPoggenpohl and Silestone for kitchens. For bathrooms, sponsorship was provided by V+A Baths  and Mr Steam as well as Jenn Air, and Du Verre. With thanks to them all. 


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Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.