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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Cosmetics manufacturer seeks electric submersible pump replacement

Cosmetics manufacturer seeks electric submersible pump replacement

As the UK’s leading specialist supplier of bespoke pump solutions, we are used to devising complex arrangements that have been uniquely tailored to suit the niche requirements of customers. On some occasions, however, a straightforward replacement will more than suffice in instances where essential upgrades or maintenance work is being carried out. Earlier in the ...

Over-pumping system facilitates development of major Lancashire hospital

Over-pumping system facilitates development of major Lancashire hospital

The £13m expansion of Blackpool Victoria Hospital is seen as a critical step in addressing their emergency department’s soaring patient numbers, with plans signed off and the project already underway. A contractor has been appointed to build the new facility, which will be constructed adjacent to the former emergency and urgent care units. The three-storey ...

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Sykes delivers drain down solution to assist pipework upgrade

Sykes delivers drain down solution to assist pipework upgrade

Before conducting any repairs or upgrades on a pipework system, it is essential that the sections affected are drained properly ahead of work commencing. In most cases, a specialist pumping solution will be required to oversee this process – which is where we come in. A well-known utility contractor was recently responsible for upgrading a ...

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Andrews Sykes ramps up investment in Scottish operations

Andrews Sykes ramps up investment in Scottish operations

Following a growing demand for our services across North Scotland and the Highlands, we are delighted to commit to a significant financial investment to further enhance our operations throughout the territory. In recent years, Andrews Sykes has worked closely with companies immersed in Aberdeen’s major industries – oil, offshore and construction – and this has ...

Sykes conducts pipe flushing for new biomass heating system

Sykes conducts pipe flushing for new biomass heating system

The Government’s lauded Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has prompted many businesses to switch to more sustainable heat sources, with biomass allowing up to 90% of combusted fuel to be converted into useable heat. Effectively, fuel is fed into a boiler and burnt at high temperatures to product thermal energy, before being transferred to a heat ...

Thames Water seeks emergency pump hire following burst water main

Thames Water seeks emergency pump hire following burst water main

An emergency pumping requirement demands an instant response, particularly when the implications of inaction include members of the public being severely inconvenienced. This was the situation a revered construction company found themselves in after a burst water main in Thamesmead left a quiet residential area flooded. The contractor was left to handle the project on ...

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Sykes introduces two new electric pumps to help customers reach emission targets

Sykes introduces two new electric pumps to help customers reach emission targets

With emission laws constantly changing and red diesel being phased out in April 2022, there is now a significant and growing demand for electric driven pumps. At Sykes Pumps, we are known for our ability to pre-empt global trends and introduce new products that are in line with the evolving requirements of customers. That’s why ...

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Pump hire averts drainage issues on residential site

Pump hire averts drainage issues on residential site

When a major housebuilder working on a new residential development in Surrey encountered a drainage issue on site, they turned to Sykes Pumps for assistance. The problem stemmed from the fact that many homes were already occupied before connections had been fitted to the drainage system installed beneath the properties. Essentially, this meant that rainfall ...

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Local authority seeks Sykes’ input on canal repair project

Local authority seeks Sykes’ input on canal repair project

Like almost everything, canals, banks and locks require sporadic maintenance and inevitably succumb to wear and tear over time. A wide range of work may be undertaken to help preserve a canal and its surroundings, with the primary objectives normally being to prevent any long-term disruption to waterways and avoid any environmental destruction. For more ...

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Submersible pump solution facilitates repairs on Kent lock

Submersible pump solution facilitates repairs on Kent lock

Even today, locks play a crucial role in water navigation and allow boats to be raised or lowered between different stretches of a canal. From time to time, these unique contraptions require maintenance to ensure the integrity of components and their continued functionality. Sykes Pumps was recently contacted by an infrastructural project manager working on ...

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