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Our history

William H. Colt founded the business in 1919, initially manufacturing high quality poultry houses whose unique design allowed effective ventilation from whichever direction the wind was blowing. They were so well built that they were used by at least one client as holiday homes – the progression to timber framed houses soon followed.

In 1925 Jack O’Hea joined William Colt in partnership; together they advanced the business and became the first firm to import commercial quantities of Canadian cedar shingles into Britain. In 1931 the partners decided to go their separate ways, Jack O’Hea went on to found Colt International, a world leader in ventilation systems and William Colt continued with the supply and manufacture of timber framed houses at Bethersden. Some Colt houses have been designed by famous architects such as Sir Edwin Lutyens R.A, A.L. Osborne F.R.I.B.A. and Clough Williams-Ellis F.R.I.B.A. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted the Royal Warrant from 1984 until 1996.

new_build3You will find almost 16,000 of our houses in the UK alone, but they have also been built in all the countries of Europe, including Norway and Sweden, the Seychelles, the Falkland Islands, the Faroe Islands and even Africa.

For almost one hundred years now Colt Houses have proved themselves under the most severe conditions: they are warm in winter, cool in summer and considered very economical in upkeep. Specially designed and pre-fabricated in the factory. When erected each has its own individual character and there is certainly no feeling of mass production or standardisation.

The basic system which now uses the industry norm of 90mm pre-treated studs, the “140mm Eco Pack” being available to those requiring even higher levels of insulation and is now completely adaptable to any dimension and design.
In 2012 the company moved to Woodchurch from where it is still building, extending and refurbishing Colt Houses.


Cedar forest

Find out more about our new book COLT HOUSES THE HISTORY OF W H COLT SON & CO LTD by Clive Kennett.