Heather AttwoollHeather is the Company Director in charge of the Camping Department, she has been involved in the family business from the age of 13 closely following in her mother Sylvia’s footsteps. Heather is currently in charge of day to day business and buying for the Accessory and Furniture section. When not at work she is a keen traveller and enjoys walking.
Anna AttwoollAnna has as been involved in the family business for a number of years even throughout her time at school and university. Putting her advertising and marketing degree to good use, she now is mainly in charge of the company website. She also has a big part in the Clothing and Footwear department. Anna’s hobbies include running, travelling and festivals.
Mike AttwoollMike started taking an interest in the family business from the age of 13 having a close interest in the Tent and Awning section. He has a vast technical knowledge in this area and you may have seen Mike on our YouTube channel! Outside of work, Mike has an interest in anything outdoors, travelling the world and is a qualified snowboard instructor.
DougDoug is our Tent Manager, he has extensive knowledge of all things camping having worked for the company for over 20 years. An expert in tents, if he doesn’t know the answer then he will know where to find it as he works closely with our suppliers to deliver a first-class service. When not at work Doug enjoys camping and travelling the world.
Chris AttwoollChris has also worked in the family business from a young age. His knowledge of tents and awnings is profound and he also a great deal of expertise in skiing and snowboarding too. Chris briefly spent some time working for our Hire department, but camping is where his heart is. Outside of work Chris enjoys walking, skiing and festivals.
GuyTo say Guy has a passion for skiing is an understatement! He is our Ski buyer and absolutely loves this part of his job. He is also knowledgeable on tents and awnings so when the ski season is over he puts his camping head-on. Needless to say, his main hobby is skiing but he is also an avid cyclist and backpacker.
4th Generation Family-Owned Business
Starting in the early 1920’s John Attwooll ran a successful animal medicine business from premises in Uley, Gloucestershire.
He prepared and sold all manner of remedies to cure the ailing Cotswold livestock. Visiting local farms and attending various agricultural shows the business grew throughout the county.1920
In 1936 John and his family moved to the present site at Whitminster, Gloucestershire. He continued to concoct such remedies as Cotswold udder drench and lamb’s worm oil, also acquiring a small marquee company A.E. Drew of Ross-on-Wye.
When the Second World War started the government commandeered all the marquees to support the NAAFI. Undeterred he diversified into collecting apples and pears from local farmers orchards to supply cider and perry producers, including Showerings the makers of Babycham1936
After the war, John’s son Peter took over the firm and branched out into the manufacture of marquees and canvas goods such as boat covers and lorry sheets. The very first marquee linings we designed and made by Peter’s wife Sylvia, first on her sewing machine in the bedroom and later in a new purpose-built factory.
It was really in 1960 when the camping department was formed. It was Sylvia’s idea and was a very small and novel industry at the time.
She ran the business alongside bringing up four children. Tents were erected in a wooden shed for customers to inspect and purchase.1960
Ken Dodd opening 1976
As the camping business grew, a marquee was used as retail space replacing the shed.
Further success led to a permanent building and in 1976 the new showroom was opened by Ken Dodd and his Diddymen.
Sylvia Attwooll can be seen on Doddy’s left in this photo; she was presented with one of his famous tickling sticks. This was probably one of the first large out of town superstores at the time.1976
In the 1980s caravan awnings were introduced and the camping retail expanded with sites opening on garden centres in Swindon, Cirencester and new premises in Newport, Gwent. Sylvia’s daughter Heather introduced skiing equipment and clothing at this time, an exciting complement to the summer offerings. Brother Nigel in charge of the Marquee hire and eldest brother John overseeing production in the two on-site factories1980
Over the last 30 years, the camping shop has grown year on year and now stands a 30,000 square foot building dedicated to the demonstration of tents, awnings, and ski gear, a homely coffee shop alongside a huge range of camping and leisure products.
The past decade has been revolutionised by the invention of inflatable structures and the increase of online sales.
As we head towards our centenary the business is still a family-run affair with John’s grandchildren, the 4th generation, still very much involved. Peter following his father’s footsteps into the manufacturing side with Chris, Mike and Anna working in the Camping Department. William also works on the marquee ‘yard’.2020