History of Robson
A step through the history of the 113-year-old family owned Sheffield business
Where it all began
George Robson (1875-1944) was born in Hawick in the Scottish borders in 1875. His father William was described as a farmer, corn merchant and saw miller. George left Hawick and came to work at one of the large steelworks in Sheffield.
In 1906, at the age of 31, he started his own business in Napier Street, Sheffield. A one-man and one-woman business. He was paying himself a weekly wage of £3 and a secretary received 15s. The annual turnover was £2,700 three years after the firm was started.
The company then moved from Napier Street to Eclipse Engineering Works, Hodgson Street in 1916.
George died in 1944 and his son Douglas took over the running of Robson. Douglas was an engineer and started his working life at English Steel, Sheffield. Douglas worked alongside Ken Croxton, who had joined the company as an office boy.
Proving to be a successful team with turnover reported at £250,000 in 1961, Robson were on the move again a year later to larger premises to support the growing business.
This time to new, purpose-built offices and works at Coleford Road, Darnall where they still reside today.
After Douglas Robson passed away in 1979, his son James took over the running of the company, at the age of 31. Coincidentally, this was exactly the same age his grandfather George had started the business!
Jim, as he was known, successfully managed Robson until the day that he passed away in 2013, but not before he oversaw a prestigious night in Robson’s history. Not known to actively seek accolades, 2011 showcased the Robson Group’s skills and achievements, with Jim being very proud to see Robson achieve four awards at the Sheffield Business Awards, including ‘Outstanding Business of the Year’ and ‘Manufacturer of the Year’.
In 2016 Geo. Robson & Co (Conveyors) changed its name to Robson Handling Technology, reinforcing the message that the modern, progressive and long-established company was much more than a conveyor manufacturer. Signalling its ambitions and drive to deliver a successful professional business in the 21st century, these last three years has seen a strong focus and investment in developing people, systems, products and services to enable Robson to be a true end-to-end solutions provider.
The Robson family are still closely involved in the business, with Christine Robson (Jim’s widow) the owner and her daughter Abby Young (Robson) as Company Secretary.
Since 2016, Christine has placed her faith in a strong, diverse management team with a wide range of expertise and knowledge to deliver the positive changes that are moving the company forward.
With a strong order book of over £20m across a diverse range of industries from Airports and Biomass to Sugar and Steel to name but a few, the future continues to look very bright. And with Abby’s son, Charlie Young already extremely inquisitive when he visits the Robson factory in Sheffield, the company is in an encouraging position to allow him, one day, to follow his ancestors in continuing to develop the Robson brand!
Article Published : 10 November 2019