Howdens was created by MFI in 1995, under a former director of Magnet, to separate its trade customers from retail. It retained MFI‘s factories – but not its brand names – when MFI split in 2006. It makes its own carcases and some doors, and many sizes and specifications have continued from MFI‘s.

Its name derives from its factory location, at Howden in Yorkshire, where Wren – whose owner established the factory before selling it to MFI – also has a factory.