Our Heritage

1974 - On 1st June Rob and Cindy Pellett married. They lived in Maidstone where Rob worked as a printer with South Eastern Newspapers. Cindy worked for a jewellers.

1976 - Rob and Cindy dreamed of starting a small holding and they decided to move to Forsham Cottage, Sutton Vallance. The cottage had a half acre garden which was plenty of space for their needs. They improved the garden, started growing their own vegetables and decided to keep their own chickens and a few goats. However, Rob wasn’t happy with the quality of the poultry housing available to buy and so he decided to build his own.

1979 - Unfortunately for the young couple, the economy was in recession with inflation at 27%. It was the Winter of Discontent. A printing dispute at the press meant that Rob, along with the other printers, was sacked. Meanwhile, Cindy had had a baby and left her job. With the future of printing looking bleak - they decided to try and sell their poultry houses.

Rob placed a small ad in the Kentish Messenger (ironically the very same paper that had sacked him). It simply said “Good Quality Poultry House For Sale”. Forsham Cottage Arks was born. They had 15 responses and made 7 poultry houses. The first poultry house was the Forsham 604 (which no longer exists).

1980 - In the first year, Forsham Cottage Arks sales grew as they concentrated on small poultry houses. They got orders from classified adverts, word of mouth and local country shows. However, Rob loved to experiment and in the summer of 1980 he designed and built his first dovecote. Proudly installed at the end of their garden, it wasn’t long before visiting customers started seeing the Dovecote and asked to buy them.

1983 - As the volume of orders increased they took on their first employee called Lenny. He was a retired joiner in the village.

1986 - As Forsham grew, they also attracted the attention of the council. Technically speaking, they didn’t have permission to have a factory at the cottage. So, Rob and Cindy moved to Goreside Farm in Kent. In the days before the Internet, their location was the shop front. Many customers didn’t know that they had moved away and would visit Forsham Cottage looking to buy a chicken house. In fact, there were so many customers visiting that their old neighbours next to Forsham Cottage started to make chicken houses themselves.

1988 - The range of poultry houses and dovecotes had increased dramatically adding the Lenham, Romney, Bedgebury and Orpington to the range. Harrods starts selling Forsham dovecotes and poultry houses and the botanical gardens at Kew installed a Lamberhurst Dovecote.

1990 - This was the year that Forsham first exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show. Their stand was very popular and they were asked to come back the following year.

1991 - The second Chelsea show proved a turning point for the business. During the show they made contact with a German distributer and started exported to France, Holland, Belgium and Germany. Almost over night their sales doubled and by 1992 they had to expand into a new facility.

1993 - Forsham supplied a Boughton Chicken House to Channel 4's 'Big Breakfast'.

1993 - Forsham exports 50 Dovecotes to Japan, where they are to be used as tee markers on a new Golf Course.

1997 - Forsham goes online, their website is launched at www.forshamcottagearks.co.uk .

2000 - The Poultry Club of Great Britain presents a Forsham Lenham chicken house to HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother in celebration of her 100th Birthday.

2002 - Forsham supplies a Lenham chicken house to Channel 4's 'Big Brother'. Many people commented that the chickens are more interesting to watch than the people.

2002 - Forsham Cottage Arks win the 'Pets and Wildlife' award at the GLEE show in London in recognition for their great designs.

2008 - Hugh Fearnly-Whittenstall raised awareness for the welfare issues of chickens as part of his Chicken Out campaign. He uses Forsham Cottage Arks Lenham housing for his hens.

2011 - Forsham Cottage Arks is bought by Omlet - makers of the popular Eglu range of chicken houses. The purchase brings together two companies that share a common vision of producing the best pet housing in the world.