Heelas' Special Service department and Mr HJ Ilsley

A collection of leaflets for the Heelas Special Services, circa 1950

Special Services

A unique department within Heelas was opened in 1925. Heelas had been offering a home-cleaning service through the British Vacuum Company for a number of years, but when the company wound up, Heelas decided to undertake cleaning work on its own. Mr H J Ilsley, an employee of the British Vacuum Company, was asked to take charge of this new department.

On a cleaning job in a church, Ilsley noticed woodworm in the wood. That kick-started his fascination, and within a few years, he became a country leading expert in woodworm. Eventually, the head of Rentokil asked Ilsley to undertake all of its big jobs.

The Special Services specialised in the treatment of dry rot and the destruction of the death-watch beetle.

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