Company History

We’ve come a long way over the last 160 years, building a reputation as a world leader in the development and supply of specialty soap bases.

Manufacturing Soap Bases Since 1856

History

Stephenson Group was formed in Bradford, Yorkshire, England in 1856 originally manufacturing soap based agents for the processing of wool, along with Furniture Wax and Polish products. Over the course of the last 50 years Stephenson Group has diversified and opened up new markets with new creative chemistry and innovation.

The amalgamation of Thos. Bentley & Son with Stephenson Bros and the subsequent takeover of J.C. Thompson Ltd formed the foundation of the current Stephenson Group; and the manufacturing operations were focused on a state of the art facility in Horsforth, Leeds.

In the late 1990s Stephenson Group transformed with the introduction of Personal Care products focused on speciality soap bases using saponification technology.

This brought a new dimension to the company and now forms a key part of the group’s operations. Stephenson Personal Care is now well established as one of the world’s leading speciality soap base manufacturers and continues to meet the demands of customers worldwide.

Stephenson Group Ltd is run by CEO Jamie Bentley – now the fifth generation of the family to lead the company.

 

1856

Stephenson Bros formed in Bradford, Yorkshire, England in 1856 originally manufacturing soap based agents for the processing of wool, along with Furniture Wax and Polish products (Stephenson Furniture Polish)

 

1967

Stephenson Bros acquire Thos Bentley & Son Ltd business continues.

 

1978

The Bentley family buy out Stephenson shareholders to take 100% ownership of the combined business.

 

1983

Stephenson Bros Ltd purchase J C Thompson & Co Ltd textile chemical manufacturers, change the company name to Stephenson Group Ltd and form a new division called Stephenson Thompson Textile Chemicals.

 

1985

Alongside textile chemicals Stephenson Group diversifies into Industrial Chemicals with the introduction of SRC Recycling Chemicals and the development of the first Anti tack agents for the rubber industry.

 

1990

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Major redevelopment of Brookfoot Mills manufacturing site, in product range for Personal Care, the development of translucent Horsforth, Leeds increases capacity and quality.

 

1995

Introduction of soap based and opaque soap noodles.

 

1998

Stephenson Group creates what becomes world famous 'Crystal' Melt & Pour soap base range for Personal Care applications.

 

1999

Stephenson Group consults and advises on 'soap-making' for the film Fight Club.

 

2000

Stephenson Group wins the Queen's Award for Export Achievement for the first time.

queens award
 

2001

Stephenson Group forms new division- Stephenson Personal Care. The division is now well established as one of the world's leading speciality soap base manufacturers with hundreds of customers in over 50 countries.

 

2002

Development and investment in new state of the art warehouse at Brookfoot Mills manufacturing facility, Leeds.

 

2007

Again awarded Queen's Award, this time for Export and Enterprise. Stephenson Group relocates from Bradford to manufacturing site in Horsforth, Leeds.

queens award
 

2008

The Stephenson Group launch an in-house Soil Association Certified Organic Personal care brand 'Bentley Organic'

 

2009

Stephenson Personal Care launches a range of full certified organic soap bases including Liquid Soap and Bodycare bases, certifications include EcoCert, Soil Association and USDA Organic.

 

2010

Stephenson Personal Care becomes the first and only soap base manufacturer to offer 100% RSPO Certified Sustainable Palm and Palm Kernel Oil soap bases. A key step in our sustainability ambitions.

 

2014

Peter Greven GmbH & Co.KG acquire Stephenson Group Serfax division, the business supplying speciality recycling chemicals for the Paper and Pulp industry. Stephenson Group launches an internal continuous improvement program ‘Darwin’ whilst Stephenson Personal Care has a full re-brand across all platforms, including fresh focus on Digital Marketing.

 

2015

Stephenson Group have patents granted for Sustain Carbonation control ingredients for US and Canada. We install the first fully automated batch reactor on site at Brookfoot House, Leeds. Stephenson Group launch a newly designed website, a US ecommerce site, alongside new standalone websites for Alkon Solutions, Textile Chemicals, Personal Care and Innovation.

 

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