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HomeCFJ Awards NewsCFJ Awards judge Fiona Bowman reveals rich connection to flooring history

CFJ Awards judge Fiona Bowman reveals rich connection to flooring history

ONE of The CFJ Awards’ esteemed independent judges, senior FM consultant Fiona Bowman, has written to CFJ in the wake of our recent History of Flooring supplement to tell us about her family’s deep historic connections to flooring.

‘Your really interesting supplement about the history of flooring prompted me to look for a couple of photographs,’ wrote Fiona. ‘There’s so much history attached to the industry that I’m pleased I have some ancestral connections.’

She continues: ‘All those years ago, Nairn was affected by trade agreements and European treaties and in order to sell linoleum in Europe and beyond, they had to produce it there. They bought a factory at Choisy on the outskirts of Paris and my grandfather William Clark, who was born in 1866, and who was a senior manager of the Fife factory, was sent to become managing director of Nairn Flooring’s Paris operation at the end of the last century.’

Fiona notes that she still has one of the photographs of Sir Michael Nairn and William at the Great Paris Exhibition of 1900.

‘An extract from a book on the history of Nairn Flooring shows that my father Georges Clark, who was born (10 October 1896 in Paris) became managing director of the Paris factory after my grandfather retired. My father then came back to the UK, and after a fascinating military career in World War I, eventually became a senior manager of the Kirkcaldy, Fife operation.’

Fiona tells us that by World War II her father was too elderly to go to war so he became a captain in the Home Guard and was engaged in turning the factory into a Shell plant. ‘Nairn stopped production of linoleum until the war was over, producing shell casings for bombs for the war effort. I have photographs somewhere of him and the predominantly female workforce as all the men were away fighting in the war.’

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