Hygienic Paints

The Hygienic Paint Company operated in Oulton and Woodlesford for over 25 years from the early 1950s until 1977. It started after Daniel Colligan, who already owned Glidalex Paints off Kirkgate in Leeds, bought the Wesleyan chapel at Bentley Square in Oulton for £1170 in 1949.

The chapel and adjacent schoolroom had been requistioned in 1941 by the government for use as a food store but the poor amount of compensation available after the war wasn’t enough for the trustees to make the necessary repairs so they decided to sell. Permission to use the premises as a warehouse or for light industry was granted by the Rothwell Urban District Council in 1948.

Hygienic Paint produced oil and water based decorative paints. In the 1950s emulsion paints were becoming available to replace whitewash and distemper, a kind of coloured glue, which had previously been used to cover walls.

A fire occurred around 1960 which caused serious damage to the west side of the premises and a short while afterwards the company moved to occupy the Minerva Works alongside the canal adjacent to Bentley’s brewery. The site had been used since 1936 by Ragosine, later Rocol, which made specialist lubricants for industry and aircraft engines. They moved to a new base at Swillington. 

At around this time Hygienic Paint acquired Hudson’s Paints, a Leeds company which brought with it a lucrative contract to supply paints, specialist as well as decorative, to the Ministry of Defence.

In 1972 the company directors were R.J. Colligan, his wife E. Colligan, and his two sons, D. Colligan and Brian J. Colligan. They acquired a retail outlet called Homecharm and this proved to be the most profitable arm of the operations.

In 1977 competition in the D.I.Y. market along with an unsuccessful foray into export markets, where there were technical problems with the storage of paint in very high temperatures, led to the company’s demise. It was sold to Beaver Paints which after a short while chose to close its Yorkshire operations to concentrate on a sister plant in London.

The premises were used as an industrial estate for some years but eventually demolished.

Brian J. Colligan set up his own paint manufacturing business, C&S Paints, in a warehouse behind Cooper’s garage and lived with his wife Mary in a house on Pottery Lane in Woodlesford.