It’s All In the Details – SDS London

It’s All In the Details – SDS London


A sparkling and spacious new showroom has opened up in Wimbledon where glinting brass door knockers, glittering mirrors and gleaming switch plates are proudly on display alongside the mechanisms for fashionable sliding garden doors, sturdy locks, hinges, window handles and cupboard knobs in every possible shape, colour and finish. There’s even the odd bronze bathroom sink tucked away in the warehouse at SDS London, among London’s leading specialist architectural ironmongers and almost certainly its friendliest.

Founded nearly 40 years ago in the area of Battersea popularly known as Nappy Valley, this family-owned business grew slowly and steadily from one small shop to a bustling warren of premises that dominated the top of the Northcote Road. Stock was displayed floor-to-ceiling in towering displays that reminded many customers of Aladdin’s cave.

Customer service at SDS London has always been second to none, with every member of staff trained in the Guild of Architectural Ironmongery qualifications to be deeply knowledgeable of the stock and know how to understand and meet the needs of clients. But the packed Northcote Road showrooms could be daunting for the first-time customer, and for reasons of space much of the stock was held several miles away in the warehouse behind SDS London’s Wimbledon trade counter, meaning that retail customers often had to make a double visit.

But no more. Now the owners have let go of the historic Northcote Road premises and in December the whole business expanded into a new, purpose-built showroom in Wimbledon, uniting every arm of the company – shop, customer service team, warehouse, website, thriving global telephone sales department, and headquarters offices – all together onto one site in Weir Road.

The move offers many advantages for customers, not least the ample free parking at the front. There’s also plenty of space now to browse among the huge range of stock, from the traditional to the latest designer items, and from the affordably priced to artisan pieces handmade in British factories. The old higgledy-piggledy displays have been simplified, and the stock regrouped onto calm white boards that show off items clearly and to their best advantage, helping customers fi nd the inspiration they need.

The same personable staff are on hand to help, whether you have popped in quickly for a pair of £20 door knobs or want to bring in your architect to discuss restyling the ironmongery throughout your whole house in bespoke contemporary bronze – but now there’s a dedicated customer service area where you can sit down to talk through your needs. SDS London has the expertise to deal with any scale of project, having recently completed work on Coventry Cathedral and with numerous examples of high-end residential and commercial projects under its belt.

Despite the move there is a continuity of service to customers at SDS London; indeed, loyal employees have always stayed for years because of the supportive and friendly atmosphere. The business boasts among its staff a father and daughter, a set of twins and another pair of brothers, both of them employees of more than 25 years’ standing. Continuing in the same family spirit, the business has recently decided to convert to an Employment Ownership Trust, the same employee-owned business model that is used by the John Lewis Partnership. It has for many years been deeply involved in the local community, and among other charities and worthy causes it supports the Dons Local Action Group – which since the move to Wimbledon is now a near neighbour, just across the River Wandle.

The move to Wimbledon has also brought the services of SDS London within the orbit of a whole new range of customers in Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire, as well as its loyal clients in southwest London. It’s a new chapter in the company’s history. “Now we’re looking to move towards the future,” said sales and marketing manager Sam Thatcher. “We’ve grown slowly and steadily and now we want to grow a bit more – though not too quickly, we want to do things in a way that’s sustainable and correct. But we’re really excited about the future.”