The story of Airedale Springs has been a long and eventful journey that we are extremely proud of. From humble beginnings as a wire handle manufacturer to a leading spring manufacturer with a global customer base that still to this day relies on its strong family roots.
Over the years we have seen our families, friends and business partners contribute to the growth of our incredible business achieving outstanding customer service for over 70 years.
This month we take a look at the Airedale Springs journey, from its humble beginnings, our growth and development through the years and how we are still evolving today.
The Beginning and the Early Years
Airedale Springs Manufacturers was registered on the 7th June 1945 in Llandudno as the Registrar of Companies had not yet relocated back to London after WW2.
From a small “Garrett” in Keighley Gordon Parkinson and his partner Cecil Hopkinson were mainly engaged in the making of wire handles for glass accumulators, expanding curtain rails, and long close coiled springs with wooden handles designed to clear blocked drains.
In 1946 the Company moved to Royd Mill, half way between Haworth and Oxenhope. It engaged a number of key staff who were to remain with the Company for over 25 years. Many more would follow their lead over the years.
In July 1957 the Company purchased additional premises at Harry Lane Works next to Oxenhope railway station. The Companies registered offices were based in Skipton which is why the Company logo is based on the entrance gate of Skipton castle. Over the following years sales continued to grow and the Company expanded, it became a key supplier to a number of nationally renowned firms such as English Electric and Joseph Lucas.
The Developing Journey
With increased business the Company expanded and acquired a number of other organisations under the umbrella title of “The Dales Group of Companies”. The group consisted of 5 companies operating at 7 locations employing nearly 250 people. As well as springs they manufactured bed interiors, break shoes, fancy goods, radiator caps and provided sub contract finishing services.
With increased business and the need to remain competitive the Company looked at machines to automate production. In the 1960’s the importation of specialised equipment was still restricted. Due in no small part to the MP Sir Gerald Nabarro, asking questions in the house of commons, and the resultant press coverage, success was achieved in the Company obtaining the necessary approval for the purchase of the latest torsion coiling machines from Europe.
1973 marked the 25th anniversary of the Company. It held the first of many “25 year club” dinners to celebrate with the first 6 employees achieving this milestone.
The Company developed its core business in spring and wire form manufacture by selling part of the group to its respective major customers.
By 1974 the Company required more space and rented Bridgehouse mills in Haworth eventually closing Royd mill and Fleece mills in Keighley. For 24 years the Company operated from the two main sites at Harry Lane Oxenhope and Bridgehouse mill Haworth.
In 1988 Ebor mill in Haworth became available. The gradual move to Ebor mills over 12 months marked a turning point for the Company as the entire business now operated from one site, for the first time since 1946.
With all the extra space the Company invested in the latest equipment, incorporating computers to control the machines and its production control systems. This new high technology machinery and apprentice training programmes were successfully implemented and essential to ensure the continued economic production of a wide range of products to the highest quality standards.
To Hell and Back
On the 14th August 2010 Ebor mills, containing all the Companies production equipment burnt to the ground. The blaze consumed the whole building and everything in it, devastating operations in the space of a few short hours.
With everyone within the Company and the community working together, it was back in business within a matter of days, working from Haworth Masonic Lodge. Fortunately, the office block, being separate from the main building contained our records and computer systems but was not useable for over 4 weeks.
This was, and is still to date, one of the largest challenges faced by everyone at Airedale Springs, but, as a team, we made it through!
After an 11 month battle the Company, operating under very difficult circumstances, was eventually in a position to commence the construction of a new factory behind Bridgehouse mills, the same mill it had occupied from 1974 to 1989.
The Company moved into the purpose built, state of the art factory in May 2012, together with the very latest CNC equipment to produce the widest range of spring and wire form products in the Company’s history.
It has continued to invest in both equipment and personnel. By the end of 2018 it will have a total of 15 CNC machines and 5 apprentices out of the total of 32 staff. It will also see the construction of a building extension providing an additional 30% of floor space bringing the total investment in the business to £5 million since the fire in 2010.
Our Close-Knit Team Values
Being a family business, Airedale Springs has built a unique relationship with all those it has worked with. The “25 year club” started in 1973 will welcome its 49th member in November 2018.
We understand the importance of close-knit family values, and, from our own history, this is something that we endeavour to reflect in all of our business relationships.
It is the trust we build within the business that allows fellow businesses to trust our products; making a commitment to our staff as well as our customers ensures satisfaction in all aspects. At the end of the day, our strong commitment to both our employees and customers is a trait we are extremely proud of.
From the Past to the Present
Having delved into our past and followed our journey through to the present day, you might now understand how Airedale Springs ensures that our employees are given only the best equipment to work with and the latest training.
We are a family business with vast experience and are continuously striving to produce highest quality products possible and have a dedicated team commited to delivering excellent service to all our clients far and wide.