1st March 2021
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Find out the history of our company starting for our humble beginnings and where we are today.
Alfred Beckwith starts his removal company from his shop in Tidey Street, Brighton but closes the business down at the outbreak of the Second World War and goes off to fight for king and country.
On discharge he reopens the business. As was often the case during this period it was removals in the summer months and delivering coal in the winter (many other removal companies combined their business with that of a funeral director). The business expanded, he was joined by his brother Ken and became a member of BAR (British Association of Removers).
Approaching his 80s and with now only two vans operating he made the decision to sell to John and Claire Ballard and Barry Clark.
The partnership of John, Claire and Barry had to quickly upgrade the vehicles and with the striking new vans and the logo ‘gently moving’ set about raising the profile of the business.
The existing good reputation, regular contracts, the buoyant housing market, hard work and dedication led to steady growth. The team consisted of John Ballard doing the carrying out surveys and operating the business, his wife Claire doing reception duties and the accounts, Barry the company foreman and his wife Sue administration and reception. In 1987 we were invited to join Britannia Movers International (a co-operative of family run businesses, combining together for their international shipping and national corporate contracts such as McCarthy and Stone. This gave us access to steady work and a network of removal colleagues.
The partnership takes over the long establish and well respected BAR member Dickenson and French Removals, Eastbourne, increasing our catchment area.
This did not turn out to be the best business move as the country was hit by the worst recession since the 20s. The housing market virtually collapsed, this was a very difficult time for our business and for the first time we had to consider reducing our work force rather than increasing it. One of the causalities was Simon Clark, the son of Barry, a founder partner.
We survived the recession because we had some major removal contracts including moving a large proportion of Stuart Grangers estate to Brazil, Glyndebourne Opera House where we were not only involved in moving their offices to and from temporary accommodation and storing a large proportion of the props.
Britannia contracts also provided us with regular work. These were boom years for Brits moving to Spain and France and Barry and John were able to use their previous experience in this field to become a major force in the Sussex area. The companies policy of always buying new vans and trailers was rewarded as we were now carrying out long distance work where truck reliability is essential.
By 1999 European work had become an important part of the business and we needed to recruit a specialist in this field, so Simon who had used his break from the business to very good effect working in import and export in general haulage was the obvious choice. He continued to grow the European aspect of the business until the 2008 crash which particularly affected the Spanish side.
The Spanish market completely disappeared, we were very lucky that Simon switched our resources to carrying out work to Switzerland, found us an excellent agent for customs clearance and we developed this niche market. It helped that yahoo were moving their European head office to Lucerne and we were one of the companies they allocated work to. The French market held up pretty well and we were lucky that operating our business in Sussex we were far less affected by the housing collapse than our colleagues in the north of the country.
Cameron Ballard having had an apprenticeship since a young age decided to take up a permanent position in the business in 2009 and soon discovered a natural ability at estimating and sales.
In 2012 Beckwith (Brighton) Ltd purchased Europa House a striking building as you enter Newhaven on the A26 providing excellent warehouse facilities, smart, modern offices and roadside yard space. Late in 2012 we bought the trading name and long standing business of Hammonds of Lewes. The hand over to the next generation began in 2014 when Barry reached retirement age (he does however continue to work enthusiastically for at least three days a week!) and he passed his shares on to his son Simon. We now have an excellent team of full time, experienced Move Consultants. In 2018 John finally decided to retire from the day to day running of the company and has handed on his responsibilities to Cameron but still plays an active roll and continues as chairman. Beckwith continues to grow and diversify and has recently acquired a long established Sussex based BAR member.
Don’t just take our word for it! See what our customers have to say.
We would like to express our gratitude for the very professional and smooth services you provided for the move to our new home last week. The team worked hard and were very thorough, tidy and organised. They were very polite and also a calming influence during a fraught day for us.
"Professional and courteous personnel punctual and hard working. Our 4th move with Britannia and we will use you again! A dog friendly removal company."
"From the moment your co-ordinator arrived to survey our move to the signing off with your foreman on completion. The whole operation was carried out with understanding, precision, care and professionalism. This resulted in the minimum disruption to our business. All of us at Cordek would like to place on our record our thanks to job well done."
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1st March 2021
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