Our History

Our name may be new, but our history is long.  Until recently, Conica Ltd was Charles Lawrence, the business that pioneered playground safety surfaces.

The Conica Timeline...


Our business was founded by Lincolnshire based entrepreneur Charles Lawrence and started life as a landscaping business.

Back in 1962, Lincolnshire had a huge number of ex WWII airfields which needed maintaining, so Charles cut the grass and carried out general gardening and landscaping work across many locations.

Mid 1970’s

Charles, wanting to expand and diversify the business, started to build tennis courts.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Charles then launched the UK’s first Playground Safety Surfacing system (1977).

Tracks, MUGA and synthetic turf surfaces soon followed.

By the end of the 1970’s, the company was both supplying and installing sports and playground surfacing solutions.


Charles Lawrence Group PLC formed.

The company achieved significant growth in its sports and playground businesses.

The PLC also formed a new maintenance business to focus on providing post installation support to existing customers.

The Playtop brand was created to provide a recognisable face for the playground installation business.


To meet the growing needs of the operating businesses within the group, a new, state of the art, tyre recycling plant was built at Jessop Way, Newark – Charles Lawrence Recycling Ltd was born.


Following the success of the Playtop brand in the UK, Playtop Licensing Ltd was established to enable the role out of the brand internationally.

First Licensee appointed in France


The group’s head office was relocated to a purpose built facility – Brunel House, Jessop Way, Newark.



The group acquires Charles Lawrence Scotland Ltd (previously, Charles had personally held a minority shareholding).

UK Coverage – c£20m turnover – 120 employees.

Early 2000’s

Charles Lawrence Group PLC split into 3 operating divisions:-

  • Sport (Charles Lawrence Surfaces PLC )
  • Playground (Playtop Ltd and Playtop Licensing Ltd)
  • Recycling (Charles Lawrence Recycling Ltd)

Extensive growth of the Playtop licensee network.

Charles Lawrence Recycling Ltd rebranded as Charles Lawrence International Limited.


The maintenance division of Charles Lawrence Surfaces PLC was rebranded as Replay Maintenance and established as a separate limited company.

Play surfacing continued, but in Scotland all work was subcontracted to Abacus Playgrounds Limited – Playtop Licensing Ltd acquires a shareholding in Abacus.

Replay Maintenance Ltd appoints a licensee in Scotland – Ecosse Sports Limited.


The group defines a new strategic direction and decides to move away from contracting to focus on surfacing solution development and supply.

Charles Lawrence Surfaces PLC sold to W H Malcolm Ltd.


The UK playground installation business, Playtop Ltd is sold to Abacus Playgrounds Limited.

Playtop Licensing Ltd acquires a shareholding in the new Abacus Playgrounds holding company (Abacus Lawrence Group Ltd).


Replay Maintenance Ltd divested from Charles Lawrence Group via a management buy-out.

Continued investment in the production process at Charles Lawrence International Ltd extends recycling capacity to 18,500 tonnes per annum.


Sale of Charles Lawrence International Ltd (CLI) and Playtop Licensing Ltd to Serafin GmbH – who earlier that year had acquired CONICA AG from BASF.


To align with Serafin’s long term strategy, Charles Lawrence International Ltd is renamed to Conica Ltd.


To achieve synergies within Serafin’s sports and playground businesses, Conica Limited and Playtop Licensing Ltd become wholly owned subsidiaries of Conica AG.


Conica Ltd acquires new 1,000 pallet space warehouse adjacent to the existing plant at Jessop Way.

Truck tyre recycling capacity now exceeds 20,000 tonnes per annum.


Conica Ltd opens new customer experience and training facility.

Get in touch

Want to learn more?

To find out more about our fantastic product range, to request samples or to arrange a meeting, please get in touch.

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