Pocket History


It was in 1938 when Harold Goodwin opened Goodwins Hardware Store in Westbrook, Margate, supplying large pots and pans for the huge tourist industry in Thanet on the south east coast of the UK.  Goodwins was one of the first places to have an account with Eveready batteries and torches.  But with the outbreak of war the whole of Thanet became a military area due to the long coastline, and Manston Airfield was central to the area.  Much of the stock was commandeered by the Government to help with the war effort and the shop was temporarily closed.


Our Founder H A Goodwin & The Ironmongers Shop


During this time Harold Goodwin was a member of the Auxiliary Fire Service, and on one particular day was shocked to receive a call, at the Eaton Road Fire Station, where he was based, informing him that a Mosquito aircraft had crashed through 93 Canterbury Road - his beloved shop!  On arrival at the crash scene in his capacity as a fireman he found that one of the Mosquito's engines had plunged through the roof and carried on through every floor of the building.  The second engine had landed  nearby outside the Fish & Chip Shop in Hartsdown Road and the main body of the plane, containing the two Polish pilots, had crashed onto the Margate to Victoria railway line at the rear of the shop.


Harold then had to set about rebuilding the shop and the business.  In those days paraffin was the main source of heating and Goodwins supplied hundreds of thousands of gallons to the local community in all winter weather.  During snowy weather when transportation was difficult, deliveries of important heating fuel was carried out by hand on toboggans.


H A Goodwin Trade Stand & 1950


Harold continued to trade as an old type Ironmonger until Brian Goodwin, his son, took over the reins from his father in 1964.  Brian continued to build on the business, founded by his father, which was now supplying hand tools and garden machinery as well as traditional ironmongery.  During this time Brian secured the Flymo Dealership and, up until very recently, was one of the three oldest Flymo Dealerships in the country.  During Brian's time at the helm customers and staff can recall many memorable events involving Goodwins, in particular the morning after the 1987 hurricane.  Chaos reigned as customers queued along the main Canterbury Road for candles, chainsaws, saws, nails and generators.  More than 50 chainsaws were ordered on that first day!


Goodwins of Westbrook Trade Stand & Brian Goodwin (on the far  left)


In 1990, the family tradition of the business was continued as it passed onto the  third generation of the family when David Goodwin took over when his father retired.  Although at the time the country was in a deep recession, due to being well known in the area with a solid reputation for trustworthy old fashioned service, Goodwins continued to trade comfortably with its strong and sturdy business base.


Moving into a new era, power tools and garden leisure, were the new order of the day - and valuable bonds have been forged with the UK's leading brands.  Very competitive pricing and superb back up service have lead, during this time, to Goodwins becoming one of the top two power tool dealers in England, as voted by the Dewalt company - we have always been very proud of this achievement for such a small independent store.  More recently we achieved the dizzy height of being the biggest Robin Subaru horticultural power products dealership in the UK, and we are still one of Kent's largest LPG bottled gas suppliers.  All this from a friendly little seaside shop in Margate!


Dave Goodwin Posing in the Shop & a few Dewalt Van Boys have pulled up for some coffee!


Our regular customers have been all too familiar with the fact that our store has been bursting at the seams for years, with boxes piled high and spilling out onto the forecourt and beyond.  Eventually we just had to tackle the situation, so we purchased the neighbouring property and effectively doubled the storage space, the display capabilities creating more room for our customers and staff.


A few years ago we were recommended to Elite Spas by one of the chemical companies we deal with as we tend to deal in leisure items as well as tools, over the years we've sold kites, pond pumps, exterior teak furniture, Quads and assorted off-road vehicles, BBQ's etc.  The result of this recommendation and subsequent meeting was that we were offered the Kent Dealership for Elite Spas.  We now have demonstration spas, fitted and working within our premises and we also take the Spas with us to our regular stints at the Kent Garden Show and the Kent County Show.


Dave bragging about the one that got away at another trade show!


We have had many highs and unbelievable business opportunities during this time, most notably supplying Her Majesty the Queen, the United States and UK armed forces with Dewalt power tools.  We have many other notable customers including: newsreaders, sports stars, pop stars (hello Buster), Radio 1 DJs, television celebrities and not forgetting all our hardcore tradesmen, building companies and members of the public.

Goodwins is a hive of activity and a social centre for many  involved in the construction industry who frequently pop in for a coffee and a chat. They can always be guaranteed of a cheery welcome and can enjoy a laugh with the staff (especially when rain stops play).


With the shop size and storage areas in excess of double the original capacity, coupled with our new workshops where we undertake warranty repairs for Dewalt, Makita, Robin Subaru to name but a few it was only a matter of time before we moved into the Ecommerce world of doing business.   In 2008,  our 70th year of trading we finally took the step of trading via the World Wide Web, and this Ecommerce site along with an Amazon and Ebay presence coupled with extra warehouse storage is the result of our endeavors to spread our expertise and service over a much wider catchment area


Shop Christmas Display & Dave posing (AGAIN) in one of the Spas with his very own MiniMe!!


One thing will always remain the same, despite growth and the ever changing market, and that is the traditional personal service that Harold Goodwin built his reputation and business upon 75 years ago.