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LION was founded in 1977 by Martin and Margaret Harrold. Originally based in the Hockley area of Birmingham, the business started life as a contract and retail picture framing business. Martin quickly realised there was scope to expand into the distribution side of the trade and produced his first catalogue of framing hardware in 1981. The LION Catalogue went on to become a standard reference for the whole framing trade.
In 1988 Martin and Margaret relocated the business to part of a former rope factory known as Universe Works, just to the east of Birmingham city centre. At that point they decided to close the framing side of the business to concentrate on the burgeoning distribution business. As LION continued to expand, they acquired more sections of the old works, eventually reaching the 50,000 sq ft site we occupy today.
In 2000 Martin and Margaret’s daughter Nicola joined the business and began developing the company’s online presence, making LION the first framing trade supplier to offer a fully transactional website.
In 2016 Nicola was appointed Managing Director; the business continues to evolve while maintaining the family business ethos.
Framing hardware remains core to the business, but over the last decade we have established LION as a leading supplier of picture frame mouldings, all made for us by the finest European manufacturers. We are always developing new products including ranges aimed at other parts of the wall décor trade, such as our sub frame system for printed panels.
Our website is constantly updated and improved to ensure we offer our customers highly informative product information and a great user experience.
You may ask why we're called LION. Well, LION's founder Martin Harrold worked in the marketing dept of famous Birmingham automotive manufacturer Lucas Industries before leaving to set up his own business in 1977. While he was there he was involved in a rebranding exercise that phased out Lucas' old logo, which included a lion. Martin always preferred the old lion version, thinking it had good connotations for a business, and so when he set up his own company he named it LION.