Deans history spans three centuries as the leading UK manufacturer and installer of blinds and awnings. The company was founded in London by a policeman’s son, Tom Dean, in 1894 and was later taken over by his brother John. John Dean started out making canvas bags, which were in great demand as water carriers by the British forces across the Victorian Empire, especially in South Africa during the Boer War.
Between the two world wars Deans became well known nationally, not only as a major force in blind making but also the owner was chairman of the local Fulham football club during its inter war heyday.
The company is still privately owned and the current owners are just as enthusiastically and directly involved as the family ever were.
Today, Deans manufacture and install a wide range of awnings and blinds including patio awnings, commercial awnings and shop blinds, canopies and many other types of sun shade products and incorporate modern CAD and electronics to compliment the many traditional skills which we retain. The operation of these external blinds vary from the most sophisticated electronically controlled automated types to those same Traditional Victorian awning produced long ago. We also now install the very latest bi-fold door blinds and skylight lantern blinds which can be individually operated or managed through central digitised systems.
John Dean 1872-1944
John Dean was a well-known London entrepreneur who built a thriving business in Putney, London called Deans Blinds of Putney.
However, John Dean was more well known for his enthusiastic support of Fulham Football Club and was a benefactor and Director before the first World war and most of the inter war years.
A founder member of the Fulham Football Club Limited with 100 shares his association started in 1903 but he left in 1908 after an acrimonious argument with Henry (later Sir Henry) Norris. John Dean’s continued to support the clu8b with donations from his then thriving business and re-joined in 1920 as a Director and later took over as chairman following the resignation of James Watt.
John Dean was a well-known London entrepreneur
In the 1927-28 season John Dean invested a five figure sum into the club as well as guaranteeing all outstanding loans when the team were relegated to the third division and a very difficult financial situation existed. Mr Dean also turned down numerous approaches from property developers for the Craven Cottage ground thus establishing for ever this internationally known footballing landmark.
Mr Dean was a tough businessman but he generously supported his staff and the players at the club. At a time when wages to football players were low and erratic he employed many of the team during the off season as blinds installers at his blinds factory in Putney.
Later, in 1933 John Dean personally financed the double signings of two star players, International (both in football and cricket) Johnny Arnold and Michael Keeping who helped the club move up into the higher leagues and reach the semi-finals of the FA cup in 1936.
John Dean cut a stylish figure with his elaborate waxed moustache which was said to to show his mood by the upward or downward swirl of the pointed tips.
After his sudden death in March 1944 John Dean’s sons Charles and Anthony, who continued to run the Deans Blinds Company, held Directorships with Fulham FC but they were not of the same charismatic mould of their father and later names such as Tommy Trinder and Jimmy Hill became better known as celebrity members of the club inner circle.
However it is clear that without the support, both financial and moral, of John Dean and his blind making enterprise the club would not be enjoying its Premier League status today.
Fulham Football Club and Deans Blinds
Fulham Football Club and Deans blinds were inseparable for many years from their inception in the late 1800’s right up to the second World War. This is because one of their founders and long time Chairman and Benefactor was one John Dean, the founder of our Company.
John Dean, who can be seen proudly standing on the left of this photograph, was particularly pleased at the time as his Team had just won the Division championsip, again, for the 1906-1907 season. Many of the players you see here in this photograph would have been Deans employees during the summer. Unlike today when a player in the premier league earns hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pounds, a week these chaps would have barely scraped by on a couple of pounds win bonuses and so had to supplement their off season income by installing and manufacturing blinds for Mr Dean.
Back them many wealthy people would have their outside blinds and canopies removed in the autumn and stored over the winter to be restored in the spring. Most of these awnings and canopies would have been made with wooden frames and cotton canvas covers and would be stored under the main wooden stands at Craven Cottage. Just think, wood and cotton canopies under a wooden stand with thousands of excited chain smoking fans above – Health and Safety was a world away in those distant days.
There was a time when Craven Cottage was threatened with Closure and would have become a housing estate long before the second World War but Mr Deans stepped in with an enormous sum at the time of £5000.00 to secure the ground and therefor this iconic home of Association Football.
We may not employ football stars at Deans anymore but we think all our staff are stars in their own right and many of them share their experience with customers earned in the many years they have been with us.
About Deans Blinds
Deans has always been supportive of the blinds, shades and shutters industry and has been closely involved with the British Blinds and Shutters Association since its inception and was a founder member in 1919. Download the BBSA code of practice here.
Deans believe that its employees are key to their continued success and a National Training Award Commendation in 1991 was followed up in 1993 by Deans becoming one of the first UK companies to achieve the prestigious Investors In People standard confirming their commitment to quality and training; This award has been re-confirmed 6 times since 1993. CHAS, Safe Contractor and Construction Line Health and Safety certificates endorse Dean’s commitment to the safety of it’s staff and customers.