Elliotts went back to its roots and delivered by horse and cart in Southampton on Wednesday 8 November to celebrate 175 years in business.
Staff took goods to city builders RH Hammond in traditional style from Elliotts headquarters in Millbank Wharf, using an authentic 19th century flatbed dray pulled by two horses. This commemorates the original delivery method used when Elliotts was founded in 1842.
Managing Director, Tom Elliott, and his father Stuart Mason-Elliott, Chairman, dressed in 1840s attire for the occasion, and Stuart even travelled to work on his penny farthing bicycle. Stuart commented: “Back in 1842, my ancestor Thomas Elliott ran a very different company. Our headquarters is still on Millbank Wharf in Northam but we now have 13 branches across the south and nearly 300 staff. We pride ourselves on our old-fashioned customer service and enjoy great relationships with our customers and suppliers.”
The cart was loaded with sand and timber by employees dressed as 1840s yardsmen before departing to make the delivery to Queens Terrace. There, it was received by longstanding customer Richard Hammond, Managing Director of RH Hammond, which was founded in 1894. Like Elliotts, the company is still family-owned.
The merchant is now run by the sixth generation of the family, Tom Elliott, and is the 112th oldest family business in the world, according to familybusinessunited.com.
Looking ahead to the next 175 years, Tom Elliott said: “We are proud of our heritage but, at the same time, we always make sure Elliotts is ahead of the game in supplying the latest and best products to our customers. Our range of building supplies is outstanding and we are constantly looking for new innovations for the business.”
Horse and cart was the original delivery method used by Elliotts in Victorian times in Southampton. Today the builders’ merchant is still owned and run by the Elliotts family and operates a fleet of 54 delivery vehicles across the south.
Facts and figures about Elliotts
Building the South
- Thousands of homes, buildings and businesses in the south have been built with Elliotts’ supplied materials and advice. This includes Southampton FC, the Royal Southampton Yacht Club and the city’s Prudential Building.
- Elliotts sells over 12 million bricks a year and always has nearly two million in stock.
- It stocks more than 20,000 different building products in 13 outlets.
- Starting with one horse & cart in 1842, today there are 54 vehicles in the delivery fleet
- On average, 248 deliveries are made a day.
- The delivery fleet covers over a million miles a year in the south coast.
- Elliotts has over 300 employees and several long-serving staff that have progressed with the company. The longest serving employee is Roger Tarry (44 years’ service).
- Elliotts employed its first female employee, Isla Winkworth, in 1954. New female toilets had to be built.
- Lauren Haines, who started as a typist in 1973, has progressed within Elliotts and became the first female to join the board of directors.
- Elliotts’ own charity – Challenge Adventure Charities – has raised over £4million over the last 10 years.
- Elliotts is a longstanding sponsor of Olympic gold medalist Dani King (her dad Trevor works for the company) and Trojans Rugby Club (Stuart Elliott used to play for them).