Stephen Nicholson, founder and managing director of S Nicholson and Sons

S Nicholson and Sons, a Bishop Auckland-based bespoke decorating firm is celebrating a significant uptake in work, thanks to the summer sun and a slight relaxation in COVID 19 restrictions to allow those working in manual jobs to return to work.

The firm, which specialises in renovating heritage and period properties around the North East, found it difficult to complete works during the early part of the lockdown, due to an inability to enter properties.

Within the last few weeks, the government has introduced some relaxation to the guidance, particularly for sectors like painting and decorating, which cannot be carried out remotely.

In addition to this, the warm weather experienced since mid-April has led to an increase in customers enquiring about outside decorating work, including doors, windows and masonry, and how indoor decorating may be able to take place in empty properties.


The firm’s previous work has included Raby Castle, Rockliffe Hall and Hallgarth Manor, and it is currently undertaking the renovation of the High Force Hotel, in addition to work that has been requested since restrictions were relaxed.

Stephen Nicholson, founder and managing director of S Nicholson and Sons, said: “People in the region want to get back to normal, or as normal as they can, so they’re looking at what they can do to cheer themselves up.
“Spring and summer are always busy times, when people want to spruce up their properties a bit, and because the weather’s nice, it’s the perfect opportunity for us to do some outdoor painting. We can complete the jobs while maintaining social distance and our customers can benefit from the improvement immediately.

“Of course, right at the start of lockdown, people were worried about having tradesmen visiting their homes, but we’re all better informed about the required PPE now and it’s more accessible, so customers feel more confident about having work done.

“We’ve certainly noticed a change over the past few weeks. We’re very busy with customers ringing up asking if we can fit them in to touch up woodwork and stonework. Many older buildings need annual painting to protect them in the winter months, so I understand that owners will have been very concerned that this might not be able to take place.

“However, we’ve been very fortunate with the weather so far and the team are well-practiced with their social distancing and hand hygiene. We’re looking forward to getting back to normal as soon as possible.”