SELLING baby’s prams or fitting carpets in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion – family firm Buxtons has done it all.

The company is celebrating its 100th year.

And it has just had to tweak its own family history after discovering another relative had a hand in its creation.

Buxtons is now a Woodingdean-based flooring and blinds experts.

The family always believed the business was started in 1919 by Percival Buxton, the great-grandfather of current directors and cousins Damian and Scott Buxton.

But Damian has just discovered Percival’s father, Percy senior, also helped start the fledgling business.

“Following our trawling through the letters and information in our archive, it turns out that in fact we may be a fifth generation Brighton business and not fourth,” he said.

“Percy senior, my great-great-grandfather who died some time in the 1930s, was therefore technically the first generation – and myself and cousin Scott are the fifth generation.

“Sadly, as both my grandmother and grandfather are deceased, we cannot get any further information or verification on this.

“What is known is that Percival really took the company forward as a young man, and his father Percy may have helped financially to start it up and just kept a hand in, but due to age stayed in the back seat.”

Percival Buxton opened his first shop in Ditchling Road just after the First World War. It was a traditional furniture shop selling secondhand furniture and he would hire a handcart for four pennies a day and make his deliveries up and down the streets of Brighton.

The business flourished, thanks to its reputation for quality goods and customer satisfaction, but there were challenging times as ahead.

“The biggest thing was getting through the Second World War,” said Damian.

“It was a case of changing throughout those years, but the family still managed to run a business.

“Being independent and having the right attitude all contributed.”

After the war, Buxtons added to its range of services, introducing new furniture, prams, cycles, toys, carpets and linos, and by the early 1960s, the shop had developed into more of a department store with the introduction of a contract flooring department.

Buxtons also opened branches in Shoreham and Crawley.

Throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, its reputation strengthened and its commercial flooring department not only survived turbulent economic times but grew.

In 2006, the company made a partial move from Ditchling Road when it relocated its flooring and blinds division to the then newly built Woodingdean Business Park.

The original shop in Ditchling Road closed in 2009 so the business could concentrate on its flooring division.

It has five directors, employs 20 staff and runs a fleet of vans. Among its successes as a flooring expert have been working with royal palaces in London and it has also built a significant relationship with the Royal Pavilion.

Over the past half century, it has supplied and installed flooring in many of the Regency Palace’s reception rooms.

With one fitting, a crane had to be used to lift heavy rolls of carpet on to the first floor, while taking care not to hit any of the delicate minarets on the roof.

“With my great-grandfather being a local, Buxtons have built a close link with the palace,” said Damian.

“We have done all sorts of bits and pieces at the Pavilion.”

More recently, the company fitted a beautiful Axminster carpet, which took months to design and was the most lavish created by the Royal carpet makers, in the recently refurbished Saloon.

It was closed for almost three years while a team of conservators, restorers and craftsmen returned the room to its 1823 glory.

“It’s a good feeling to have links to the Pavilion because it is such a significant building,” said Damian.

And it was a fitting place for the company to hold its centenary celebration for staff, customers and suppliers.

The celebration showed off the history of the family firm in a display of artefacts from the company’s vaults, including original ledgers, photographs and receipts, plus an original Buxtons Silver Cross pram donated by a customer.

“We are 100 years old this year,” said Damian. “For all that time, the family has owned and run it. It’s great and we’re very proud.”