A milestone year for manufacturing engineer as it marks 150th anniversary

As a company founded in 1864, A Taylor & Son has witnessed incredible change and events, both in its own operations and the world around it. 2014 marks the 150th anniversary of the family-owned subcontract manufacturing engineer, one of only a handful left in the region.

Looking back, the company, which specialises in fabrication and machining for the oil and gas industry, has experienced phenomenal growth over the last decade, with this milestone year the platform for its plans for further expansion.

To mark this special occasion, A Taylor & Son joined forces with the Leeds Rugby Foundation, a registered charity that uses sport to make a lasting, positive impact on individuals’ lives by delivering projects in the heart of the community.

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Fittingly, the charity had its own celebration in 2014, to commemorate 150 years of rugby in Leeds. The collaboration has worked so well that A Taylor & Son will continue to be a long-term partner of the foundation.

From its beginnings at the Kirkstall site Albert Taylor established in 1864, A Taylor & Son has achieved global supply status and a world-wide reputation, namely in the oil and gas sector. Created as a general fabricator, in 1947 it was bought by TW Jeffery. With Bill Benson at the helm, in the 70s the company moved into manufacturing for the oil industry.

The rate of expansion from 2003 - adding three sites to its portfolio, including the historic H.Pontifex works on Pepper Road in Hunslet where the firm’s head office now resides, and taking its workforce from 60 to 130 - is largely due to this sector remaining buoyant, as Commercial Director David Minskip explained: “We have grown with our key customers. A Taylor was predominately just a fabrication engineer, but today we add value in the way of machining, assembly and testing. Virtually all the products we manufacture cross all our skill disciplines so we are in essence supplying the finished product to our customers, an invaluable service.

“With the general demise of the sub contract sector throughout the UK over recent years, the company has invested heavily in purchasing its own machine tools to create an impressive and diverse group of both conventional and CNC machines housed in a modern, purpose-built machining facility.

“A Taylor adopts a ‘quality without compromise’ attitude, having held BS5750 and then ISO 9001 accreditation since 1992 and supported by a highly skilled workforce with a wealth of experience in the most exacting of industries. Everyday people’s lives depend on the integrity of ‘Taylormade’ products.”

A key advantage for the firm is that it enjoys a high retention rate amongst its staff. This is a special year for the A Taylor & Son workforce, but more so for three employees who have reached 25 years of service with the company: Purchasing Expeditor and Health and Safety co-ordinator Tim Edgley, Plater Les Foster and QA Manager Alan Griffiths.

New blood is combined with this experience with the company’s strong and well established heritage regarding apprenticeships, which was consolidated in 2013 with the A Taylor Training Academy at the Pepper Road site. “Apprentices are an important part of our business,” added David. “We have always had them, we have 12 at the moment, and they are the future of our company.”

While A Taylor & Son looks back at its heritage, its eye is firmly on the future. Its next phase of expansion will commence in the next 18 months, including the expansion of its Pepper Road site, which will hopefully bring job creation in the future.

“We have never been a company that rests on its laurels,” added David. “On the contrary we are looking to add to both our capacity and scope of services to ensure the increasing demands of our core customers are met and ultimately galvanising our position as one of the country’s leading subcontract fabrication engineers.”