For over 75 years the Holden family have been in the furniture industry.

Our history

The involvement of the Holden family in the furniture trade started in the nineteenth century, long before the formation of the limited company which trades today, beginning with William Holden who was born in Yorkshire in 1850 and was the great grandfather of our current Managing Director.

It was in the early 1880s that William developed a keen interest in furniture and made countless articles in his spare time at home. As this sideline continued William decided to leave his job as a foundry worker and opened his first shop in Belper selling his own furniture. He then went on to own a factory and a sawmill in the same town, employing a number of people. Unfortunately in 1905 disaster struck when the manufacturing premises were gutted by fire and rendered useless. However, not to be defeated, William went on to open a large manufacturing works in a former flourmill known as Unity Mill and soon afterwards bought a sawmill in nearby Ambergate. Once these were in full swing he expanded into retail once more with the opening of a further eleven furniture shops to give a total number of twelve. He even had a shop in London for a short while. Out of these, only the shops in Belper, Burton on Trent and Newark bore the Holden name. Six out of his seven surviving sons had their own shops to manage but by the 1970s the number of shops had been reduced to two, one in Long Eaton and the one in Newark. Leslie Knowles, one of William’s grandsons, retired in the 1970s from the Long Eaton shop, leaving the Newark shop as the only surviving part of the family business.

The Newark shop was originally known as W. Holden and Son and it was William’s son Edwin (Jonathan’s grandfather) who came to Newark to manage this store. In 1935 Edwin decided that the time was right to move the business to other premises on Stodman Street, nearer to the town centre. The new premises were by no means large, but following the acquisition of 14 cottages, a few walls were knocked down and the whole premises were turned into showrooms. The shop was then known as E. Holden & Son, which is still the registered company name today. Unfortunately Edwin did not live to see the completion of his dream project as he died in 1943 whilst he was still only in his 40s.

It was just prior to this that Mr Eric Holden, the current Chairman, was called to serve in the army and it was left to Edwin’s widow, Mrs D. E. Holden, to carry on the running of the business. She was a formidable businesswoman and held office at national level in several business organizations, including the British Red Cross and locally as the first woman President of Newark Tradesmans Association.

When Eric returned to civilian life, he and his mother began to move the business forward and it was Eric’s ambition in the early 1950s to turn their Stodman Street store into the largest ground floor showroom in Newark. Eventually, by purchasing the adjacent Yorkshire Penny Bank in 1958 this ambition was achieved and the showroom size was up to what was then a huge and spectacular 5,500 square feet.

The mother and son team grew the business to provide the foundation for the company’s move to its present Middlegate / Castlegate premises and many customers today still tell stories of Mrs Holden running her office in such a way that woe betide anyone who was late with their weekly “club” payment!

In 1973 the Holden family purchased their Castlegate premises and in 1984 Mr Eric Holden’s son Jonathan joined the business after a career of twelve years with the Midland (HSBC) Bank and is currently our Managing Director. In 1986 Jonathan was joined in the business by his wife, Marion, who is a Director of our family holding company and who has special responsibility for the soft furnishings and interior design areas of our business.

Today...

Today we have a loyal and reliable team of eleven staff.

Jonathan and Marion Holden, who have been running the business for over 26 years, lead our team with daughter Emma.

We have a great team of furniture sales staff who are all extremely knowledgeable and willing to help. Many of them have been with us for a long time and they are all fully trained to sell every type of merchandise which we offer.