In celebration of our 80th year in the business, we are revisiting our heritage as we outline the story of how we became one of the UK’s leading housebuilders. Continuing our trip down memory lane, we are now looking at Miller Homes during the 1980s, a decade that included world firsts and continued success for the company.
Following a successful collaboration with the Calor Group during the 70s, two semi-detached Miller homes were fitted with new innovations in solar heating. Considered a world first, Professor Sir Hermann Bondi, Chief Scientist at the Department of Energy and Chairman of the Advisory Council on Energy Conservation, described the project as ‘a major step forward and a special contribution to energy conservation’. 1980 saw tours of the houses for Surveying and Architectural professionals and building societies and local authorities, with Sir Hermann officially opening the solar home.
Only four years later we were able to produce the first speculative solar heated houses in the world. The houses, which were introduced into a live development, incorporated heat recovery, air tightness and substantial insulation which, when combined, were predicted to save up to two thirds of the energy that a standard house would use.
Moving completely away from technology and innovation, in the summer of 1982 our site teams discovered what was believed to be the best-preserved surviving Roman building in Scotland. A Roman bathing site was discovered in Bearsden near Glasgow and our Roman Road development was planned around the bath-house, allowing the historic building to remain intact.
In 1984, our Golden Jubilee celebrations were in full swing and, as always, we were eager to give something back to the communities in which we were involved. An adventure playground funded by the Sir James Miller Edinburgh Trust was opened at Edinburgh Zoo. Members of staff and communities alike were involved in the festivities, including a specially designed Miller Group float which took part in the opening ceremony of the world-renowned Edinburgh International Festival.
In an interesting twist and as part of a brand new sales initiative, Miller Homes Southern began a unique experiment which involved a couple who were paid £200 to live in a Miller show home. Chosen from 150 applicants, the couple were tasked with transforming the show house into a home. In the four weeks they were with us, sales rocketed and the first 15 £100,000 homes were sold ahead of the estimated three months target.
In 1986, James Millers and Partners Ltd reached one of its most important milestones when the company officially changed its trading name to The Miller Group Limited. To coincide with the new name, a brand new logo was introduced.
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