About Thos. Storey


The first 65 years (1930 – 1995)

Established in Stockport in the 1930’s, Storeys first became famous as original manufacturers of the unit construction “Bailey Bridge” system, a product first used by Allied forces during the second world war and praised by both British and American Generals as playing a key role in the successful invasion of Europe.

Throughout the next 50 years the system and its heavy-duty successors were sold by Storeys to over 100 countries around the world including the USA and Canada. They were used in a variety of applications from oil exploration to natural disasters and the company’s name became synonymous with engineering excellence.

Privately owned by its founder until 1960, it then became part of the well known Acrow Group; the company then became one of the UK’s first MBO’s in 1984.  A 12 year period under the stewardship of UK venture capitalists (during which time the company became one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of steel freight containers), was ended in late 1996 when the business was acquired by the present owners and once again became privately owned.

t  1930
  t  1995



1997 – 2006

Late in 1996 with the bridging business sold to a competitor Fred Ellis and John Huggins – 2 of the bridging company directors - bought the sub-contract division and in just 12 months had increased its turnover by 50% and the company was on its way to becoming the number one steel fabrication supplier to the UK’s earthmoving and construction equipment manufacturers.

The 1999 acquisition of Lloyds UK, a specialist sheet metal fabricator in Rugby, helped firmly establish Storeys in another high profile manufacturing sector and also brought in several new customers. The company was now twice its 1996 size.

2000 saw the addition of Walton Fabrications – an old Midlands engineering company which was under threat of closure - and a further doubling in size making the Group one of the largest privately owned component manufacturers in the UK.

Aggressive capital expenditure programmes during the next four years brought in laser profiling centres at both Stockport and Rugby plants as well as larger CNC press brakes, robot welders and state of the art painting and powder coating facilities.

By the end of 2004 Thos Storey Group had enjoyed 8 years of unbroken growth. 


Gained IiP status in 2004

In 2005, following the loss of a major contract, the decision was taken to close the Walton Fabrications factory in Wolverhampton and move the remaining work to Stockport. 

Gained A4YP status in 2005



During the period 1997 to 2005 the Stockport factory had more than trebled its output to almost £15million; this had been achieved despite the fact that the factory was over 120 years old and only 59,000sqft.  It became obvious that a new factory was required. 

A redundant steel-making plant in Openshaw was identified as having the potential to be renovated.  This meant that not only could a large, bespoke, modern facility be created, but as it was only 3-miles from the Stockport factory, all of the current workforce could be transferred.

By January 2006 the shell of the renovated factory was complete and the fabrication hall was handed over to TSF for the lengthy fit-out of new cranes and state-of-the-art finishing facilities, along with the distribution of power and other utilities that are essential for production on this scale.

The machinery from Stockport was moved into the new facility throughout May/June 2006, and production had to begin again immediately to ensure there was no loss of output to Customers.

By 30 June 2006 every single employee in the Stockport factory – 197 people – had completed the move to the new premises.  These numbers were quite an increase from the 85 people who worked in the original factory in December 1996.





Following the relocation, and the enhanced reputation of its new facilities, contracts were won in the unrelated public service vehicle and waste management vehicle sectors.  By the end of 2007 sales had risen substantially to £27.4million and numbers employed approached 300.

To achieve these growth figures the business needed a constant supply of skilled workers and to ensure this TSF became engaged in training through Craft Apprenticeships and initiatives through several training agencies.  One such initiative was the Thos Storey Welding Academy.  The objective of this was to supplement traditional welding apprenticeships with a short course aimed at those who wanted to retrain or change career.  This proved to be highly successful and provided training to some 25 people, of which more than half became full-time permanent members of Thos Storey staff. 

This sales growth coupled with the investment in people was recognised by being named ‘Business of the Year’ by Manchester Evening News. 


Gained Carbon Action status in 2008


2008 - 2009

2008 started well and by June 2008 the Company was 5% over another very ambitious growth budget.

The second half of 2008 saw the credit crunch and the beginning of what became a global economic recession.  The company’s main construction customers began aggressively de-stocking throughout their factories and their entire distribution chains in order to conserve their cash.  The Company was forced to respond by reducing its workforce in line with these events and a severe downsizing exercise was effected across all members of staff and many overhead spend areas.

However, the full cross-section of skills were retained within the remaining workforce, and with the Company’s proven ability to train and develop people quickly it remained well positioned to respond to the increased demand which began to show signs of returning during the last quarter of 2009.


2010 -

By January 2010 the breakeven point of the business had been reduced below the sales levels which were scheduled for the first half of 2010.

New work wins in unrelated sectors were recorded which further reduced the Company’s dependency on the construction sector.

Already in the first quarter an additional 21 direct operatives have been recruited, and a further 22 are planned.


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