Woods of Windsor’s Roger Knowles dies

A FORMER Pendle man who founded one of Britain’s best-known bodycare brands has died.
Roger KnowlesRoger Knowles
Roger Knowles

Roger Knowles, who was born in Colne and grew up in Barnoldswick, transformed Woods of Windsor, alongside late-wife Kathleen, from a popular local pharmacy into an iconic worldwide name selling in 40 countries.

He started out in business at a Keighley pharmacy after finishing his education at Ermysted’s Grammar School in Skipton.

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When he sold the pharmacy to seek his fortunes in the South East in 1970, he bought the rundown shop in Windsor where he discovered the key ingredients for his millions almost by accident.

While clearing out a horde of junk in the attic of the Woods store on Windsor High Street, which had been there since 1770, he came across a box of books containing ancient remedies.

Mr and Mrs Knowles began experimenting with the development of potpourri and soon a limited line was on sale in the shop.

Sales boomed and Mr Knowles very quickly refocused the business on further product development including lotions, perfumes, soaps and other toiletries.

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They became available in upmarket stores such as Harrods and Selfridges, and later in foreign markets all around the world.

Mr Knowles sold the business in 2000 and retired.

His wife, Kathleen, died in 2004.

He came to the rescue in 2007 when the then owner went into administration, closing the flagship Windsor store temporarily, and he returned again in 2010 at the store’s relaunch after it underwent a major makeover.

Mr Knowles died on December 26th, 2012, and leaves behind a son and daughter.