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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Long-term pump hire assists Ebbsfleet Garden City scheme

Long-term pump hire assists Ebbsfleet Garden City scheme

One of the UK’s most high-profile residential and commercial developments is making good progress, with the entire project scheduled to be completed by 2035. Located almost precisely at the point London meets Kent, Ebbsfleet has already undergone a significant transition prior to the planned construction of another 15,000 homes. The entire development spans hundreds of ...

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Hinkley Point C project requires dewatering solution

Hinkley Point C project requires dewatering solution

The sheer scale of Hinkley Point presents its fair share of challenges, necessitating that the experts at Sykes Pumps oversee the site’s far-reaching dewatering requirements. One of the difficulties of managing a site of this size and scope, particularly given its coastal location, and proximity to natural water courses, is taking rainfall and tidal surges ...

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Power stations and their continual reliance on submersible pumps

Power stations and their continual reliance on submersible pumps

As highly experienced suppliers to the power generation sector, Sykes Pumps draws on a wealth of knowledge that allows us to devise the best solutions to a wide range of everyday pumping applications. Whether our clients require assistance during a shutdown or maintenance period, a temporary fire system or a sump pumping configuration, our expansive ...

Pump hire assists annual maintenance work at power station

Pump hire assists annual maintenance work at power station

When a power station in Nottinghamshire required annual routine maintenance procedures, a lull in demand for electricity at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic provided a perfect window of opportunity for this to be carried out. No longer fully operational, the coal-powered plant acts as a reserve source of electricity generation and is due to ...

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Burst water main at Piccadilly Circus prompts emergency response from Sykes Pumps

Burst water main at Piccadilly Circus prompts emergency response from Sykes Pumps

When a well-known water contractor required an urgent pumping solution following a problem in London’s West End, a local engineer was sent to site immediately. A key water main had burst at Piccadilly Circus during the middle of the night and there were tangible concerns that the significant outflow of water could interfere with the ...

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Sykes provides pump hire solutions as key sectors battle through lockdown

Sykes provides pump hire solutions as key sectors battle through lockdown

While the lockdown imposed by the government has been essential to tackling the COVID-19 epidemic, for many people, businesses and services, it has not quite been as simple as just staying indoors. The healthcare sector has rightly been praised for its resoluteness in recent weeks and is one of many industries that has had no ...

Sykes Pumps provides dewatering  solution for water main project

Sykes Pumps provides dewatering solution for water main project

Seeking a bespoke solution to assist the construction of a major new water supply, a well-known contractor based in Cumbria contacted Sykes Pumps for a high capacity dewatering operation. As the project involved the construction of a twin 30km pipeline to enable unaided flow between a reservoir and a new water treatment centre, the client ...

Ongoing Hinkley Point C project requires Sykes dewatering solution

Ongoing Hinkley Point C project requires Sykes dewatering solution

The sheer scale of Hinkley Point presents its fair share of challenges, necessitating that the experts at Sykes Pumps oversee the site’s far-reaching dewatering requirements. One of the difficulties of managing a site of this size and scope, particularly given its coastal location, and proximity to natural water courses, is taking rainfall and tidal surges ...

Sykes Pumps responds to burst water main in Kent

Sykes Pumps responds to burst water main in Kent

When a burst water main in Kent threatened to impede road users at a busy roundabout junction, a major water contractor responded quickly to address the issue. The problem intensified with every passing minute and led to significant volumes of water creating puddles and subsequent disruption caused by the need for traffic to be diverted ...

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Sykes provides overpumping solution for Pooley Bridge reconstruction

Sykes provides overpumping solution for Pooley Bridge reconstruction

Sykes Pumps is helping to enable the construction of a new bridge in the Lake District village of Pooley Bridge, after the 18th century structure the village was named after was destroyed by Storm Desmond in 2015. The village has been served by a temporary bridge for the past five years, but now a national civil ...

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