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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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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Stand-in pump hire replacement keeps MOD pumping station online

Stand-in pump hire replacement keeps MOD pumping station online

Towards the end of summer, Sykes was contacted by a utility contractor working on behalf of a Ministry of Defence site in Lincolnshire. Our client was looking for a temporary solution to be installed as a replacement for units located in a pumping station on site. The customer’s existing pumps required routine maintenance and so ...

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Sykes modernises hire fleet with two submersible drainers

Sykes modernises hire fleet with two submersible drainers

We are pleased to introduce two new class-leading submersible drainer pumps as part of a continual investment in our expansive hire fleet. By routinely assessing the requirements of customers, we are able to constantly upgrade our range to include technologically advanced innovations that ensure we accommodate market trends and offer the latest products available on ...

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Introducing the latest edition of Sykes’ popular pump guide

Introducing the latest edition of Sykes’ popular pump guide

We are pleased to announce that our new pump pocket books are now ready for distribution to customers, providing up-to-date information on our product range and accessories. With simplicity and convenience in mind, the guide’s layout has been modified and improved to cleanly display the key features and specifications of every unit in our hire ...

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Overpumping systems bypasses sewer mains on hotel grounds

Overpumping systems bypasses sewer mains on hotel grounds

Before a hotel could reopen for business following a change in ownership, the new management team had to address an outflow of sewage that had been streaming over a footpath on site for the previous few months. Prior to the hotel changing hands, the building was left derelict and the sewage connection to the mains ...

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Submersible pump hire enables infrastructural upgrades

Submersible pump hire enables infrastructural upgrades

One of the country’s largest construction companies recently contacted Sykes Pumps in search of equipment that would help them carry out improvement works on a culvert situated beneath a busy motorway. The conduit allows water of a local stream to pass below a major road, but years of neglect necessitated that both the culvert itself ...

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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