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When Henry Sykes traded Sheffield for London to found a small engineering business on Upper Thames Street, few could have envisaged the company’s status today.

By 1900, Sykes’ organisation had already worked on some of the city’s highest profile pumping schemes. Business headquarters were transferred to Southwark, coinciding with the introduction of several new innovations that became synonymous with the name Henry Sykes.

Prior to the 20th century, his prospering firm was registered as a Private Limited Company under the stewardship of Henry Sykes Jr.

The First World War unsurprisingly had the potential to be a destabilising time for the company – particularly as many employees had been conscripted. Amazingly, some of the remaining workmen helped design and construct special rolling-friction winches which allowed Allied forces to pinpoint enemy locations!

The interwar period saw the acquisition of 51 acres of Greenwich marshland, adjoining the Woolwich Road at Charlton. Even now – 90 years on – Sykes retain an extremely strong presence in the area, which is where our flagship depot is based.

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Stakeholder and long-term staff member Edmond Jackson died the year the Second World War broke out, but was recognised as the inventor of several revolutionary machines during an association that exceeded four decades.

Once again, Sykes played a significant role during the ensuing six years of international conflict – this time by assisting the construction of steel masts that would house radar installations for British Army intelligence.

Even more remarkably, however, was the rapidity with which pumps were supplied after MOD units failed. Without them, the Mulberry Harbours (widely considered one of the World War II’s greatest engineering accomplishments) would undoubtedly have sunk.

1957 marked the company’s centenary year and it was also around this time that another major development – the ‘Univac’ pump – was introduced to market. Many generations of the Univac product have since been developed with the current adaptation still prominently available.

Fifteen years on, and with the company still going from strength to strength, Sykes unveiled our first submersible pumps.

Domestic growth prompted expansion overseas, with Sykes venturing to the Middle East by the mid-1970s. Following two unconnected procurements, the Braithwaite Group merged Henry Sykes Ltd with the well-established Andrews Heat for Hire to form what we know today as Andrews Sykes.

The company’s reputation has continued to flourish, and in the last twenty years Sykes Pumps have been responsible for an incredible number of huge developments both in the UK and abroad.

It remains to be seen exactly what the future may hold for the organisation but maintaining a steady level of progress and expanding our international presence remain two constant targets.

Last week, avid viewers of one of the country’s most popular television soaps may have spotted a Sykes Pumps General Purpose unit being used as a prop on set. With the dramatic storyline unfolding, our pump was set up to dredge a body of water which – known to those watching at home – was being used to conceal two corpses that were dumped by the plot’s protagonist. Interestingly, Sykes Pumps was contacted off the back [...]
At Sykes Pumps, we’re used to receiving last-minute callouts. Our ability to handle projects at short notice is the reason so many customers know they can rely on us when things go wrong. So, when East Sussex based house-building contractor required us to supply an urgent pumping rental scheme, they contacted us at the eleventh hour. The customer in question was about to close its site for the Christmas period when a situation arose that required [...]
It is with great delight that we announce the opening of a new hire depot in West Sussex, which will be ready for business straight after Easter. Andrews Sykes have enjoyed significant volumes of commercial activity in West Sussex and opening a new branch within the region itself will enable us to offer an even better service to our customers based there. Having a more localised presence will be of great benefit to clients located nearby [...]
Sykes Pumps was recently approached by a major building and civil engineering company and asked to help assist with the repair of a local culvert. Before work could take place, our engineers were required to provide an immediate pumping solution to over-pump the stream – cleaning out all the silt build up and then removing old metal sheeting to allow the contractor to replace it with a new one. Our response was to propose the hire [...]
Snow, rain and freezing conditions continued to sweep across most of Scotland last night, prompting yellow weather warnings across parts of the country. The Met Office issued a yellow “be aware” warning, with snow and ice covering much of Scotland as temperatures plummeted overnight. Lows of -13.5°C were also recorded. Rising daytime temperatures have however begun to cause much of the remaining snow to melt, leading to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency issuing flood warnings across [...]

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