160 Years of Sykes Pumps

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.

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.

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Sykes Pumps assists construction of replacement railway bridge

Sykes Pumps assists construction of replacement railway bridge

The rebuilding of a railway bridge in Bristol was dependent upon the availability of a reliable pump hire solution. Our client requested an arrangement that would permit the removal of groundwater at multiple locations and allow construction workers to proceed with an upgrade project costing hundreds of thousands of pounds. As the contractor was required ...

Sykes Pumps aids Cumbria pipeline installation

Sykes Pumps aids Cumbria pipeline installation

A Keswick-based contractor sought a tailored pump hire solution for the purpose of transporting water during an underwater tunnelling job, prompting them to contact Sykes Pumps. The proposed hire would allow the contractor to successfully proceed with the installation of a new pipeline that was being constructed to allow the transfer of water within Cumbria ...

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Surface water removal kick-starts building work on residential development

Surface water removal kick-starts building work on residential development

In April this year, permission was granted for more than 100 homes to be built in the Cheshire area following approval of the preliminary development designs. The local council has now given the green light for work on the project to commence, with the contract awarded to a northern-based civil engineering company that has previously ...

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Multi-pump solution aids repair works at sewage treatment facility

Multi-pump solution aids repair works at sewage treatment facility

All wastewater treatment plants require regular maintenance visits to ensure machinery and equipment continues to function properly, and in accordance with environmental legislation. On such specialist applications, it is important that assessments are carried out by experienced engineers who can identify common faults and propose no-nonsense solutions in the event that something goes wrong. Only ...

Infrastructural development reliant upon bespoke dewatering solution

Infrastructural development reliant upon bespoke dewatering solution

The construction of a new industrial estate along the Kent coast was causing the main contractor – a leading civil engineering company – a number of issues. Properties were being built just a few yards away from the shoreline, bringing with it the challenge of contending with a very high water table. Our client was ...

Building contractor enlists the help of Sykes Pumps on renovation contract

Building contractor enlists the help of Sykes Pumps on renovation contract

In recent months especially, Sykes Pumps has worked closely with some of the country’s largest utility companies to help upgrade various parts of their infrastructure. Our expertise in this field is well-known, with clients often citing our excellent range of equipment as one of the key reasons they seek our assistance. Earlier this month, we ...

Andrews Sykes agrees season-long partnership with Hibernian FC

Andrews Sykes agrees season-long partnership with Hibernian FC

We are delighted to have committed to a sponsorship package with Hibernian FC, which will run for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign. The deal sees Andrews Sykes become official partners of Hibs and entitles us to a range of advertising benefits that will help promote our brand across Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland. ...

Independent festival in Hampshire seeks help from Sykes Pumps

Independent festival in Hampshire seeks help from Sykes Pumps

When a music festival in Winchester required a solution for a complicated waterfall flow, Sykes Pumps Hire were approached to solve the issue and ensure festival goers could witness a unique attraction operating as planned. The festival’s main stage was redesigned four months before the opening date but the waterfall stations were not yet functional. ...

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Sykes installs over-pump arrangement to facilitate vital repair works

Sykes installs over-pump arrangement to facilitate vital repair works

Sykes’ pump hire experts were recently called into action after a building contractor got in touch looking for a solution to assist them with a culvert repair. Our client specifically required us to over-pump a subsidiary of the River Rother in West Sussex, so that water could bypass the section needing attention. The customer was ...

Wiltshire-based demolition contractor requires pumps for dust suppression

Wiltshire-based demolition contractor requires pumps for dust suppression

Although perhaps most commonly associated with irrigation, water transfer and sewage movement, pumps can also be used on other specialist assignments including dust suppression applications. In such scenarios, liquid can prove particularly effective in capturing airborne particles and cause them to fall downwards rather than disperse into the open air. A leading demolition contractor recently ...

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