Broxap Limited, based in Chesterton, Newcastle under Lyme, is a family owned business specialising in the design and manufacture of high specification street furniture, all types of shelters, design and build projects, plus sports, outdoor gym equipment and play equipment.
Founded in 1946, Sydney Lee started the company using ‘demob’ money he received on leaving the Navy after the Second World War. The original site for the business was on a hill on Clare Street, Harriseahead, not far from its current Newcastle premises, and was aptly called Hillsyde Foundry. Sydney employed just 2 people.
Hillsyde Foundry started out melting aluminium to produce cap guns and teddy bear money boxes for Woolworths, later moving into cast iron engineering production; melting iron through a Cupola that was installed.
From an early age, Sydney’s sons John and Robert began working in the family business. In 1974 Sydney acquired a new, larger site in Chesterton, and 3 years later a 13,000 square foot workshop and office was built. 7 people were now employed.
Over the years that followed, the Harriseahead site closed and Hillsyde Foundry, now based at Chesterton, began producing large engineering castings for customers such as JCB & Siemens.
After investing in a new Electric furnace melting plant to meet its increasing demand, the 1980’s saw Hillsyde undertake its first production of street furniture, beginning with the traditional red post box and securing work from Broxap and Corby from Manchester.
1992 saw Hillsyde make it's first acquisition with Broxap and Corby, and one that would change the direction of the business.
Broxap was relocated to the Chesterton site in 1994, though they continued to trade as 2 businesses.
"Broxap" became well known in the mid 1990’s when the name appeared on Stoke City Football Club’s shirts as the main sponsor, and later on the Port Vale away strip.
In 1998 and 1999, Hillsyde acquired 3 further companies – Streetscene Limited of Derby, Dorothea Limited of Buxton and Mawrob of Southport. They all complimented the growing portfolio of street furniture and architectural engineering products, and broadened the line to include cycle parking and shelters and canopy structures.
On 1st September 2000, Broxap and Corby Ltd merged with Hillsyde Foundry (Staffordshire) Limited to form 1 business, Broxap Limited.
Subsequent acquisitions between 2002-2005 of B&B Limited of Nottingham, Bollards Limited of Southport, Easthigh Limited of Nottingham and CEL Products of Newcastle upon Tyne, pushed the product line further to include steel and stainless steel litter bins and street furniture, and Cloak and Changing room furniture.
By 2007 Broxap was marketing its brand to Local Authorities, Architects, major Construction Contractors, Schools and the Healthcare Sector. With more stringent environmental legislation to comply with, and the emergence of products from the Far East, it became uneconomically viable to continue manufacturing castings ourselves.
On 28th February 2007, the final melt took place in Broxap’s foundry. Staff were deployed throughout the business. The foundry was disassembled and the area converted into warehouse stock and storage space, as well as an expanding Powder Coating process plant and Cloak and Changing room furniture workshop.
Further acquisitions followed, taking Broxap into the Timber Playground, Sport Equipment and Kennel markets. Play companies Hand Made Places of Bordon and Playline Designs Limited of Newton Abbot were bought in 2008 & 2009, and three Kennel businesses became part of the Broxap portfolio during 2006-2008 with the additions of Cosy Kennels, Kennel & Cattery Solutions and Canine Kennels.
The Shelters division was enhanced when Keep It Kool of Northampton, a business producing fabric tensile structures was added to the portfolio.
And Sunshine Gym saw Broxap Ltd branch into Outdoor Gym Equipment in 2017, supplying outdoor fitness equipment to a range of sectors including education, leisure, housing and healthcare.
Today, the company has become the leading designer, manufacturer and installer of street furniture in the UK.
Employing over 220 people Broxap Ltd has supplied products and services to illustrious events and clients such as QVM monument outside Buckingham Palace, London 2012 Olympic Games, 2013 Commonwealth Games and Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships, as well as transport initiatives such as TfL (Transport for London) and TfGM (Transport for Greater Manchester) and rail networks such as Centro.
Broxap is still very much family owned. Chairman John Lee, unfortunately passed away in 2022. His daughter Stacy, along with John’s brother Robert and his daughter Rachel, continue to actively work in the business, diligently navigating the business towards the family's ultimate goal of having Broxap's street furniture installed in every town and village throughout the UK. This quest continues.