John Dean was the founder of the shopblind manufacturing business based in Putney in 1894. He was the son of a Devon policemen who travelled to London looking for employment. John worked and lived in a furniture store where he slept at night on the shop counter and educated himself at the local library. Eventually John took over his brother’s blind business in London and ran this successfully throughout his life. Over the years, the company expanded and he opened branches in Dublin, Manchester, Birmingham, Bournemouth and Bristol.
John Dean became chairman at Fulham Football Club and was dedicated to the club as well as the business. He employed footballers to paint blinds during the summer months which supplemented their income and some of the players worked for him after their footballing careers had finished. When space was tight in the factory, blinds were stored under the stands at Fulham.
John died in 1942 and was succeeded by his son Charles Bradlaugh. This was during the second world war and blackout blinds were in high demand as well as new blinds for shops which had been bomb damaged. Charles ran the business until his death in 1958 and was succeeded by his sons Charles and Tony. Charles ran the Manchester division named Irving Blinds and Tony ran the London based company. During the 1950s and 1960s the business thrived, people had money but little to spend it on. Tony employed over 120 people and had contracts with most of the big retail stores.
Although Tony sold the business in 1968, it did not mean he would leave the blind trade. He already had another smaller blind manufacturing company, Radiant Blinds (using Tony’s initials Richard Anthony Dean) which had been set up to run alongside Deans and provide a double hit on sales opportunities. Once Deans was sold, he ran the venetian business for five years and then started selling exterior blinds again. Radiant Blinds grew and became an established , well-respected, independent company. Tony’s daughter Nicola joined in 1983 and worked closely with her father. In 1988 Nicola and her husband Roger started running the business and were later joined by Roger’s brother Ian until January 2015 when the Emerson family took over so Radiant continues to be a family concern.