Leading fire safety and security door manufacturer, Sentry Doors, is celebrating a major milestone this year as its recent acquisition, Knowles, marks its 100th anniversary, giving Sentry a combined heritage of over 130 years.

As part of Sentry’s ambitious growth plans, the company acquired E. & S. W. Knowles in August 2022. Bringing the company under the Sentry banner and launching the Knowles product range has made Sentry the UK’s leader in fire safety and security doorsets.

Following the acquisition, Knowles, a renowned specialist door manufacturer, went on to celebrate its 100-year anniversary earlier this year. To celebrate this milestone event, Sentry Doors, which is part of the Cairngorm portfolio, hosted a special event for employees at its Birmingham site on 12th October.

The celebration day featured a pub quiz, and attendees were treated to catering from a host of local street food vans. The previous owners of Knowles were invited to take part and share their memories of the firm throughout the years. The event was also attended by members of the Sentry Executive Team and Chairman Jon Gatfield.

Established in Birmingham in 1923, by former miner William (Bill) Knowles, the company came from humble beginnings. Having observed piles of sawdust at his father’s workplace, Bill invested £4 in a cart to haul the sawdust around local engineering companies.

Following Bill’s death in 1942, the company was taken over by his stepson Horace Wright, who began to convert timber offcuts into skittle boxes, pram handles, mirror backs and fire surrounds. The business thrived, and eventually began producing custom-made doors in the 1980s.

Knowles grew into a highly successful company, before being acquired by Sentry Doors last year, and to this day, Sentry continues to build on its 100-year heritage and honour its family roots and manufacturing excellence.

The extensive Knowles product range now sits within the Sentry Doors catalogue of market-leading products, giving customers access to a complete range of fully certified, bespoke timber fire and security door sets, designed for the social housing, public sector, commercial and residential markets.

Production of the Knowles range still takes place at its 60,000sq ft facility in Birmingham, where the focus is on manufacturing specialist timber internal doorsets with fire rated, acoustic and PAS 24 security certification. The 100-strong team in Birmingham offers bespoke, sector-specific solutions that meet the exacting requirements of its customers.

Sentry Doors continues to be headquartered in Doncaster, where it has an additional 40,000sq ft facility. This takes the company’s total footprint to 100,000sq ft across the Birmingham and Doncaster branches, both of which are fully equipped with the latest manufacturing equipment.

Since the acquisition, Sentry has invested £1.2m to support the expansion of production capabilities in Birmingham. This enables Sentry to offer a complete, end-to-end service, consistent lead and delivery times and a first-class customer experience.

Ty Aziz, CEO at Sentry Doors, celebrated alongside staff at the event, and commented:


‘We’re delighted to be marking this incredibly special occasion with our Knowles colleagues. A trusted pair of hands for 100 years, Knowles has a rich history and a well-earned reputation for manufacturing the highest quality fire doors. This milestone gives Sentry Doors a remarkable, combined heritage of 130 years, and together, we look forward to many more successful years at the forefront of UK industry.’


Steve Horner, MD at Knowles and Sentry board member, also attended the centenary event, and added:


‘This was a wonderful event and a fitting tribute to the amazing staff, both past and present, who have helped to make Knowles so successful for 100 years. As part of Sentry Doors, we’re now looking forward to the next chapter, and with strong backing and investment, we’re confident that we will continue to grow and build on our many years of success.’


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including the Knowles range




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