Martin Knight is the proud proprietor of M Knight and Sons, those sons being Shane and Steven, who have worked with their father for the last six years.
Martin is a qualified Quantity Surveyor, and has been working as a builder, carpenter, plasterer, specialist bricklayer and restorative conservation building expert for around 30 years. But words like ‘carpenter’ and ‘plasterer’ are just names of trades, and cannot adequately describe the comprehensive skill set that Martin possesses, which he is also passing on to Shane and Steven.
Shane and Steven are also qualified in the use of mobile access platforms (‘cherry pickers’) and other mechanical site devices.
Martin is more of an artisan, engineer and creative problem-solver than a jobbing builder. He learned the craft of restoring historic medieval and Tudor buildings whilst working for a company called ‘Thimbal Craft Industries’ back in the 1980’s. Through that company, he was involved in restoration projects for local councils and English Heritage, together with wealthy private individuals’ homes.
Thimbal Craft was owned by a legend within the conservation industry, the late Duncan Smith, (HNC, Eng, BSc Hons). Duncan worked closely with Martin for eight years; they made a formidable team, bringing creative and scientific techniques to solve complex building restoration problems, that had hitherto been unheard of within the restoration industry.
For example, Martin and Duncan worked together on a delicate project that required placing wooden pegs into beams, so that they would fit exactly without the need for excessive hammering and long labour hours; thus avoiding damage to other nearby ancient structures and reducing costs. After much head scratching, the two men decided to sleep on the issue overnight, hoping that some inspiration would present itself.
Martin arrived on site the next morning to find that Duncan had been working all night on producing a tooling machine for placing the pegs incrementally into their holes with finite millimetre accuracy. It is that inspiration that drives Martin to bring a similar level of ingenuity to his own work, whether the job is a loft-hatch in Lichfield or a mansion near Melbourne!
In effect, Martin’s time at Thimbal Craft was not just an apprenticeship, but a life changing opportunity, which put his career on a path away from becoming a normal building contractor to a calling as an artisanal restoration expert. Duncan Smith had a reputation for not being an easy man to work with; his standards were incredibly exacting, some have said bordering on obsessive, and Martin feels privileged to have been seen as a worthy protégé to his mentor.
Since then, Martin has worked with several other contracting companies in the Midlands, applying a variety of innovative techniques to complex building problems; those firms namely are A&S Enterprises, Ron Hoose Contracting, and Whittington Building & Conservation Ltd.
As a result, the company of Martin Knight and Sons today, stands on those foundations of exacting standards and attention to detail; together with the creative application of knowledge, experience, science and physics, that combine to ensure a job that will last a lifetime. Martin’s reputation, is, quite literally, built upon that level of commitment and professionalism.