BSI launches Kitemark Centenary Celebrations in Hemel

Press release: 25th June 2003

BSI chairman, Sir David John, was joined today by The Mayor of Dacorum Borough Council, Cllr. Mrs Carol Green, for the launch of centenary celebrations for the Kitemark, the world's best known symbol of quality and safety.

Sir David hosted a reception for customers, local dignitaries and staff at BSI Product Service's Maylands Avenue headquarters before officially opening the Faraday Building, BSI's latest test centre on the site. The new £500,000 electro-magnetic compatibility (EMC) test facility will allow BSI to test the latest powerful electronic equipment.

The spiritual home of the Kitemark

Hemel Hempstead has become the spiritual home of the Kitemark since BSI Product Services moved to its existing site on Maylands Avenue in 1959. Today, virtually all product testing for Kitemark certification is carried out in Hemel Hempstead, where BSI employs 230 people.

Sir David said: "The Kitemark is a symbol that more than 85% of the British public recognise, one that has contributed mightily to the success of BSI and one that has given millions of Britains over the last century the knowledge and comfort that the products they come into contact with are safe and reliable.

"The Kitemark has adapted to every challenge thrown at it from tramway rails to today's high tech applications in the telecommunications and information technology sectors and our investment in the Kitemark is clear with the unveiling on this new £500,000 EMC testing laboratory. It also demonstrates our commitment to our 45 year presence in Hemel and I look forward to continuing our relationship with the community here."

The Kitemark was registered as a trademark on 12 June 1903, when a sub-committee of the Engineering Standards Committee (BSI's original incarnation) saw a need for a mark that manufacturers could use to show compliance with the standard specification for tramway rails. The Kitemark remains relevant to today's world with the latest scheme launched in conjunction with the Environment Agency relating to flood defences.