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.

Timeline

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Sykes demonstrates commitment to clean air strategy by adding two more reduced emission pumps

Sykes demonstrates commitment to clean air strategy by adding two more reduced emission pumps

As a progressive and forward-thinking company renowned for leading the way within our industry, we have always been on the front foot when it comes to minimising our environmental impact. A global trend geared towards both businesses and individuals reducing their carbon footprints has led to many companies actively pursuing the greenest operating methods, and ...

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Sykes continues to assist major residential development in Kent

Sykes continues to assist major residential development in Kent

Towards the back end of summer 2020, we reported our involvement with the £900m Ebbsfleet Garden City project – now expected to be completed by 2033. With the help of Sykes Pumps, the lead contractor has made significant progress pumping out a lagoon that originally spanned dozens of acres on the site. This huge body ...

Temporary jetting pump cleans mooring at popular yacht club

Temporary jetting pump cleans mooring at popular yacht club

A build-up of marine crustaceans and other shellfish on the moorings of a prestigious Sussex yacht club compelled the owners to take steps to remove them. As well as appearing untidy, barnacles and other forms of arthropods tend to harden on surfaces and become extremely difficult to remove if left untreated. In such situations, a ...

Emergency pump hire keeps popular shopping mall open

Emergency pump hire keeps popular shopping mall open

The breakdown of a sewer pumping station can have a very serious and immediate impact on its surrounding area, requiring an urgent response to prevent discharge spillage and allow repair works to be carried out. Designed to transfer waste from an underground well to a central main, pumping stations undertake a very important task. A ...

Generational residential development on track thanks to Sykes Pumps

Generational residential development on track thanks to Sykes Pumps

After years of delay caused by the original contractor going bust, a major housing development in Northamptonshire has been given the green light to proceed. The plan includes the construction of almost 1,500 new homes, a school, community centre and three sports pitches, with groundwork currently underway to help get the project in motion. Having ...

Sykes expands super silenced range with new high performance pump

Sykes expands super silenced range with new high performance pump

We are delighted to introduce the new HP150 super silenced jetting pump which has been added to our hire fleet with immediate effect. Following months of market research, Sykes Pumps has pledged a significant investment in our latest units which satisfy an increasingly common customer requirement and fill a gap that previously existed in our ...

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Pump hire tackles crippling floods to preserve busy train timetable

Pump hire tackles crippling floods to preserve busy train timetable

The infrastructural impact of heavy weather on railway services can never be underestimated, with strong winds and flood water particularly disruptive. High volumes of rainfall can wash away ballast – the bed of stones that supports wooden sleepers – and potentially render the line unsafe until it has been re-laid. Additionally, signalling points and other ...

Construction company hires pumps to aid road repair in Somerset

Construction company hires pumps to aid road repair in Somerset

The sustained period of heavy weather attributed to Storm Darcy has caused disruption across the country, with people in some areas even warned not to travel. Although the South West has not been affected as badly as some northern regions and Scotland, extensive rainfall has led to the water levels in rivers and streams rising ...

Sykes Pumps adds four new models to expansive electric submersible wastewater range

Sykes Pumps adds four new models to expansive electric submersible wastewater range

As the industry’s leading pump hire provider, we are constantly investing in our product fleet to ensure we stay ahead of market trends and can continue to provide our customers with the best solutions available. We are therefore delighted to introduce four new submersible wastewater pumps that enhance our range for specific duties and applications ...

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Housing development flood prevented thanks to Sykes Pumps

Housing development flood prevented thanks to Sykes Pumps

With a Welsh residential area at risk of dozens of homes suffering flooding due to excessive rainfall, a pump hire solution was required immediately to overcome the issue. When the new development was originally built, two attenuation lagoons were put in place to hold stormwater and prevent it from being released into the surrounding environment. ...

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