Since 1969, the Company has been subject to take-overs including the ‘Cavenham’ empire when Sir James Goldsmith was Chairman. Keymer is now owned by a Trust set up by Neil Wates (deceased), who acquired the business in 1980. Due to dramatic fluctuations in the demand for bricks during the early 1970s, a decision was made to stop brick manufacturing and concentrate on the production of handmade clay roofing tiles.
In 1978, architects and planners were concentrating more on the conservation and preservation of all types of buildings; this attitude gave new life to the company and resulted in the increased production of roofing tiles and fittings. In 1981, the very latest micro-processor controlled kilns were installed to reduce fuel consumption and provide better working conditions whilst still retaining the traditional production methods. Recession in the construction industry during the 1990s led to a decline in the home market and a reduction in the production of tiles.
Keymer, the premium handmade roof tile brand, is now owned by Wienerberger, the leading supplier of wall, roof and landscaping innovations. The brand, renowned as one of the world’s oldest operational roofing manufacturers, made its fourth move in its 400 year history and was re-launched from its new home at Wienerberger’s factory in Ewhurst, Surrey in 2015. Situated in the plain tile heartland and 20 minutes from the original site, Keymer’s handmade clay tiles will continue to be produced using the orange clays of the South Weald and the same traditional equipment and processes at it’s new home. The company has invested heavily to ensure the handmade manufacturing process is retained, meaning that all Keymer products will boast the quality and performance they have become famous for.