Celebrating 50 Years
In 2016 Conquest celebrated their Golden Anniversary – 50 years of hand crafting furniture in Hampshire. Founder John Adey, was joined by his sons Jonathan and Richard and their wives Dawn and Lucy, as together they welcomed customers, colleagues and employees to celebrate this milestone at their Hampshire showroom.
Precision is our watchword
Over the last fifty years the furniture industry in the UK has changed significantly, with imported and flat pack furniture having come to dominate the market. Conquest stand apart as a furniture maker – providing a full service end-to-end, from the first drawings and concepts through to the final fitting – everything custom designed, built and fitted around the customer’s specific requirements. Conquest are famous for their perfectionism and precision and to understand it’s origins you have to go back to 1957 when Conquest’s founder, John Adey began his apprenticeship as a pattern maker with Vosper’s shipbuilders in Portsmouth. It was a woodworking job that required engineering levels of precision, as the wooden patterns that John carved, enabled the creation of sand moulds, which in turn would then be used to produce metal castings for the parts and fittings of ships – such as the propeller.
The White Heat of Technology
These were the days of the ‘white heat of technology’ and John’s deft touch with a wood chisel and his perfectionist approach began to get him noticed.In the early 1960’s, John’s precision woodworking skills had come to the attention of both the toy and the defence industries. Together with a friend, John set up a company that specialized in this precision woodworking and they took on many commissions. In 1966 John set up his own successor company, initially called Acraplas – a fusion of the words accurate and plastics, which ultimately became known as Conquest. For one customer, John carved millimetre perfect scale model motor cars to enable the production of casts for plastic Scalextric racing cars. For Marconi Space and Defence Systems, John’s fledgling company carved scale models of the Skynet 2 satellite, a torpedo and a prototype magnetorquer – a system used for controlling satellite movement. It was perhaps, these precision woodworking skills applied to the high tech worlds of space and defence technology that provided the guiding principles for Conquest right through to the present day. Traditional skills applied creatively and to engineering levels of precision, to create products designed to meet today’s needs and those of tomorrow.
New Workshop and Showroom
The company began to take orders from domestic customers – initially owners of neighbouring businesses who had marvelled at the workshop and the superior quality products emerging from it and wanted these skills applied to furniture for their own homes. Once their friends saw the quality of the work and the furniture itself, built to the exact specifications of the home and fitted beautifully, a steady stream of orders followed. Over time this enabled John Adey to invest in a new base and showroom in Farlington, Hampshire in the early 1970’s. Here he introduced new workshop technology and recruited a talented team of designers and craftsmen so that orders could be taken, furniture made to the highest standards and fitted in a timely fashion.
The Present Day
Since then Conquest has made and fitted kitchens, studies, bedrooms and lounge furniture in thousands of homes across the UK and beyond, with open plan kitchen living spaces, home based offices and media centres being especially popular in recent years. At the fifty year celebration event in 2016, John’s son Jonathan – Conquest General Manager, commented, ‘ We are one of the last remaining furniture companies with national reach that continues to employ all of our own people from designers and furniture makers right through to the fitters that install the furniture. It’s the only way that we can be certain that the customer enjoys the best possible experience from start to finish.’
Here is a short film of our story.