40th Anniversary Koi Water Barn
Koi Water Barn has now reached our “ruby” year, which means we are now celebrating our 40th anniversary since opening our doors in 1983. The Pithams, who started the Koi Water Barn legacy in koi, date back a further generation! Sidney Pitham was one of the first people to bring koi into the United Kingdom from Japan in the 1960s. This started a three-generational passion in koi keeping.
Generational knowledge and expertise have been passed down through the eras. John Pitham, who was a successful corporate chef, took a giant step into entrepreneurship by starting Koi Water Barn UK in Lilly’s Farm Chelsfield in 1983. John worked full-time as Head Chef at British Petroleum in London whilst at the same time building the company and the awareness of koi (almost unknown at the time). After working diligently in both fields, he finally took a leap of strategic faith, and left his full-time job in the culinary world for good and focused his full attention on the business in koi.
In 1998, after the sad passing of John Pitham, his son Tony took over Koi Water Barn and grew the small business to new international heights. Koi Water Barn is now one of the most respected Nishikigoi enterprises worldwide with Tony at the helm. Growing up, Tony was always told that no Westerner could ever win at the prestigious All Japan Koi Show. Tony took this as a personal challenge and tenaciously and tirelessly worked to break through barriers and became the first non-Japanese dealer to supply the Grand Champion koi at the All Japan Koi Show in 2006, aka the Grand Championship of koi shows, held in Tokyo annually for over 50 years.
Over decades in the industry, Tony has created a family-like bond of brotherhood with most of the leading Japanese koi breeders. This gives Koi Water Barn and its customers a direct link to the very best koi at the best prices.
Several times a year, Tony and other members of the KWB team visit Japan and travel from the northern farms in Niigata to the breeders in the South, like Sakai and Momotaro koi farms. Tony spends days sifting through greenhouse ponds and hand-select the best koi Japan has to offer.
Out of this deeply personal connection with Japanese culture and koi itself, Tony has been given the rare privilege to judge at the All Japan Koi Show on multiple occasions. His keen eye for up-and-coming koi, decades of experience, and ability to spot winners is greatly respected and appreciated.
Over the years, Tony and Koi Water Barn have reached beyond the shores of Great Britain and successfully opened doors in South Africa. In 2017 Tony partnered with Dr. Haidar Al Yousuf in the UAE and began introducing high-grade Japanese koi to the market that has not been seen before in the region. Dr. Haidar Al Yousuf, who was awarded the title of CEO of the year in 2022, is also a serial entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in the aquatic industry. Tony and Dr. Haidar have designed new methodologies in pond design and construction, allowing new feats to be accomplished that weren’t thought possible in extreme temperature conditions.
Now, in 2023, Koi Water Barn Dubai is the leading koi specialist center and are experts in pond and water garden design and construction in the Middle East. We have clients and projects extending to all areas of the Gulf and surrounding countries. Our aim at KWB Dubai is to use our knowledge and experience to grow the love of the beauty and culture of Nishikigoi, even in our extreme climate and environment. We are proving that the culture and serenity koi ponds bring to households can be available in environments never thought of before.
We have stood the test of time and grown our reputation for the past four decades, and we believe the best is still yet to come. We look forward to the next 40 years together with you.