Image

We are proud of our roots. Manchester is where it all started for us and our Hyde branch continues to be the beating heart of the Shawston business.

Nevertheless, Shawston became a truly national business when we expanded our branch network into London.  Our London branch continues to supply our vast product range to the South of England which has rapidly become our biggest customer base.

Our journey over the last 50 years, has seen us venture into new and developing market sectors, establish a nationwide network of 5 branches and create an employee owned culture that is the envy of many.  Forever Shawston is built upon the foundations of delivering unrivalled customer service and industry leading product quality.

We see many similarities with the Manchester worker bee. Manchester’s hard-working past, and the creation of a structured and harmonious working environment have greatly impacted on our own business culture and ethos.

You could say we have created hives of activity via our 5 nationwide branches and have a colony of 120 hardworking bees.

Image

Our Vision
"To be a great place to work with a passionate and committed team providing unrivalled customer service, delivering a quality product enabling us to be the market leader in our industry."

Bee Different.

Image
Shawston was founded in Manchester in the 1970s.  Originally a steel merchant with a fabrication shop situated in Hyde, Shawston has seen many changes over the last 50 years.  After the construction of a purpose-fit warehouse in the late 2000’s and the subject of a Management Buy In (MBI) in 2001, Shawston was destined for success.
Image

In 2003, we spread our wings and took our business to London. Our second depot in Hounslow embraced the Shawston culture and strategy, leading to exponential growth and the branch was soon relocated to High Wycombe - which is now our largest depot in the UK. We have 11 of our 25-strong vehicle fleet hitting the centre of London every day by 6am.

Image

The acquisition of Tipton Jones in Salford in the mid 2010’s, a steel tube importer and distributor, added to the portfolio and allowed Shawston to create a steel tube processing facility – Shawston Steel Tube – their role is to service our 4 nationwide branches and allow us to actively manage the supply and demand requirements of the 4 market sectors in which we operate.

Today Shawston is a large UK-wide business, its evolution from 10 employees with annual sales of £750k to 120 strong employee owned company with sales approaching £25m is somewhat revolutionary.

With 5 nationwide depots in London, Manchester, Salford, Birmingham, and Glasgow our heritage and work ethic still play an important part in both our company strategy and the way we do business.

Shawston has evolved into a large UK nationwide business selling into the Mechanical Services, Commercial Fire, Dry/Wet Riser and Residential Fire market sectors.

The decision to become fully employee owned in 2015 was an important point in the history of Shawston. It signalled our intent to provide job security and wealth opportunities for the next generation of Shawston employee owners. And the next. And the next. By putting the business into the hands of the Shawston workforce in 2015 we have seen a huge transformation - loyal, committed co-owners with a true voice on how the company plans its future.  

Today, we are a thriving business with over 100 employee owners, all committed to our goal of delivering unrivalled customer service and creating a forever Shawston.

Shawston are wholly owned by its employee shareholders.
Our co-owners have a greater common purpose, a vested interest - both personal and financial - in the future of Shawston.  The way we choose to run our business depends greatly on our workforce taking ownership of their day to day roles and pulling together for the benefit of the business.  We are different. There is a real sense of togetherness at Shawston creating a business harmony that you rarely see within our industry.  We own it and our methods reflect the business we are.
Image
You will see throughout the Shawston website and much of our supporting communications the worker bee. The worker bee is symbolic with Manchester’s hard-working past, and the creation of a structured and harmonious working environment. Our culture and ethos are very much centred around this prospect. You could say we have created hives of activity via our 5 nationwide branches and have a colony of 120 hardworking bees!

In the beginning…

1970's

Shawston was founded in the 1970’s in Hyde, Manchester. Originally a pipe fabrication business, or as it was more affectionately known back then ‘metal bashing’. It decided to enter the fire market in the late 1990’s when fire protection was starting to become a big growth market in the UK.
Image
Image
Image

New ownership

2001

In 2001 Shawston was the subject of a MBI by the current management team. When acquired Shawston had an annual turnover of just £750k per year and employed 10 people out of a single depot in Hyde. It would be the great business minds of the founder members that would provide the strategy which would see the company blossom into the 120 people business it is today with an annual turnover of £25m.

Image

Spreading our wings

2003

The founder owners quickly realised that London was a huge market and expanded Shawston into its second depot in Maidenhead. It rapidly outgrew the Maidenhead depot and is now located in a 28,000 sq m depot in the Sands Industrial Park in High Wycombe where it provides fire protection and mechanical services products to the south of England.

Image
Image
Image

Modernising our operational platform

2009

This year saw the development of a brand new ‘purpose built’ 22,000 sq m depot at its current location in Hyde, Manchester. Today this location is still the heartbeat of Shawston and operates as a thriving depot serving customers throughout the north of England.
Image

Securing the tube supply chain

2010

Tipton Jones had been a long-time supplier of tube to Shawston, so it was a straightforward business decision to acquire Tipton Jones when the opportunity arose. Renamed Shawston Steel Tube, it continues to be a busy tube depot operating out of Salford, Manchester. This strategic acquisition has allowed Shawston to source tube direct from the best tube mills across the world at the best prices.
Image
Image
Image

Branching out across the border

2012

By now Shawston had established itself as the fire sector market leader within England and Wales. Our decision to expand the group into Scotland was a natural one allowing Shawston to bring all the benefits of deep stocks, unrivalled customer service and a multi-market presence to the Scottish fire sprinkler, dry & wet riser, and mechanical services markets.
Image

A truly national presence

2014

Not content with a presence just in the North, the South and Scotland, Shawston further expanded its branch network in 2014 into the Midlands. It is this network of five branches that allows Shawston to provide next day delivery to all corners of the UK. And because our products are delivered from our regional branches and not via a central feeder hub, we are helping to limit the impact of our vehicles on the environment.
Image
Image
Image

Creating a ‘Forever Shawston’

2015

The founder owners agreed that the best way to ensure a safe, sustainable, and secure future for the business was to pass it into the hands of the employees. So, in 2015 Shawston officially became an employee owned business and today over 95% of employees own shares in their business.
Image

From strength to strength

2020

Today Shawston are widely recognised as the ONLY UK SUPPLIER to service Mechanical Services Contractors, Commercial Fire Sprinkler Contractors, Dry and Wet Riser Contractors, and Residential Fire Contractors.  With a thriving employee ownership culture, a young and dynamic leadership team that is the envy of our competition, and a strong balance sheet, the future for Shawston looks long and bright.

Image