A Teesside family business is celebrating its one hundredth anniversary
PC Richardson, now based in Stokesley, was established during the First World War by Percy Richardson and is a fourth-generation business specialising in steeplejack services.
Percy established the company in Middlesbrough in 1918, during the first World War, after working for a German chimney building company in Skinningrove during the war years. Having started as an apprentice bricklayer, Percy realised a gap in the market for building chimneys and later moved into offering high level repairs as industry on Teesside developed rapidly.
Percy himself was orphaned as a child and was brought up by his aunts in Redcar and Skinningrove.
Percy’s two sons, John and Bob, joined the business with John taking over the running of PC Richardson in 1965. Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, a number of John’s children joined the business and in 1991, his eldest son Peter took charge. His other son David is a director with John’s youngest daughter, Jane, also working in the company.
The company has faced increasing competition over the years and has successfully diversified into operating in overseas markets, especially in the Middle East.
PC Richardson, which is ranked Number 38 in the Sunday Times SME Export Track 100, has always employed a workforce from across Teesside and now has a team of 75. Some of the staff have been with the company for more than 40 years.
Peter Richardson, managing director of PC Richardson, said: “It’s hard to believe that the family business is now in its hundredth year. My forefathers identified a real gap in the market during the war which has progressed to a range of working at height services, repairing steel structures and working on bridges and viaducts.
“Over the years we have diversified into areas such as nuclear decommissioning at Sellafield, where we still have a strong presence, and we have large teams currently working in the Middle East.”
David Richardson, marketing director, added: “We are exceptionally proud of our workforce, and the number of families that work within it, predominantly Teesside based but many from the Cumbria area who work on our site at Sellafield. It is very rare in the current marketplace and we have built up a great reputation thanks to our team. Our people are key and without them we wouldn’t be here – a hundred years on.”
John Richardson, who is now 87 and although retired from the day to day running of the business, is still a director and keeps a keen interest on the performance added: “I am immensely proud of what my family has achieved and is still achieving in a very difficult and ever-changing market and in trying conditions around the world. My father would be delighted with the success of the business and seeing it continue to grow- and watch younger family members keen to join his company too.”
Timeline of the Business
1914 Percy Richardson started work for a German firm in Skinningrove working as a bricklayer and then building brick chimneys
1918 PC Richardson established by Percy Richardson
1950s PC Richardson continued to build brick and later concrete chimneys and expanded into the working at height sector
1960s Percy’s son, John Richardson, took over the business
1990s John Richardson retired and his son Peter becomes (managing director)
2009 David Richardson and Jane’s husband Geoff Ablett become directors.
2015 Peter’s eldest daughter, Emma, joins PC Richardson as business development manager.