Broxap Limited, based in Chesterton, Newcastle under Lyme, is a family owned group of businesses. Founded in 1946, it specialises 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.
Sydney Lee started the company 70 years ago using ‘demob’ money he received on leaving the Navy after the Second World War. The firm then employed just 2 people.
The original site for the business was on a hill on Clare Street, Harriseahead, not far from its current Newcastle premises. There the firm became incorporated as Hillsyde Foundry (Staffordshire) Limited.
Hillsyde started out melting aluminium to produce cap guns and teddy bear money boxes for Woolworths.
The firm moved 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. 3 years later, the 13,000 square foot work shop opened and an office built. The company now employed 7 people.
The Harriseahead site closed in 1980 and the Chesterton site extended.
Chesterton’s workshop continued to grow in size as the foundry increased its output and began producing large engineering castings for customers such as JCB and Siemens.
The firm invested in a new Electric furnace melting plant to meet its increasing demand.
Mid 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.
In August 1992 Hillsyde bought Broxap and Corby and 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 firm’s 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.
The name became established through the UK as a leading exemplar in the production of its furniture. 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, three sport divisions Carr Sports, Base Leisure and Stadia Sports International of Cambridge in 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 we purchased Keep It Kool of Northampton, a business producing fabric tensile structures.
By 2008, the Sales and Operational staff numbers had grown beyond the capacity of its building, so personnel were moved into larger offices (also extended) and further warehousing adjacent to the original premises.
Today, the company has become one of, if not the, leading designers, manufacturers and installers of street furniture in the UK. Broxap 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 Street Furniture division designs, manufactures and installs litter bins and recycling units, security bollards and parking control equipment, post and railing systems, signage, seating and benches, picnic tables, tree protection, cycle storage compounds, cycle shelters and cycle racks. Broxap boasts the largest and toughest range of litter bins and recycling units, security bollards and post and rail systems and cycle racks, shelters and compounds in the UK. It also has the largest range of external seating in the UK. The ‘Derby’ range of litter bins and recycling units has never had a door forcibly removed since 1992.
The Broxap group’s Shelters Division designs, manufactures and installs covered walkways, entrance and platform canopies, large capacity waiting shelters, meet n greet shelters, teenage shelters, dug outs and spectator shelters, gazebos, bus stops, undercover dining areas, smoking shelters, buggy and scooter shelters, shade sails, tensile structures and waterproof tension structures. The division comprises Dorothea Ltd, architectural metalworkers, and Keep It Kool Ltd, manufacturers of fabric structures.
Offering a complete ‘turnkey’ project management service, from design, through manufacture to installation, Broxap’s Design and Build division provides architectural canopies, covered areas and walkways, bespoke balustrade and pedestrian parapets and other specialist structures such as bandstands and atria roofs. Those unique commissions exhibit high specification design elements incorporating the latest technologies and design standards.
Shelters, canopies and walkways….whether functional or architectural….traditional, contemporary, large or small….from steel, aluminium or stainless steel construction, the use polycarbonate coverings, patent or planar glazing, architectural cladding and soffit systems or specialist tensile fabrics.
2008 saw Broxap’s portfolio extend to Playground Equipment through the acquisition of Hand Made Places, designing, manufacturing and installing timber educational and adventure playground apparatus.
As a Market Leader Hand Made Places continues to design, manufacture and install a range of educational play equipment including outdoor classrooms, gazebos, imaginative play, play sculptures, sensory play, music and performance, inclusive play, eco play, totems and signs, seating solutions, adventure playgrounds and activity centres.
The latest addition to Broxap’s portfolio, Sunshine Gym, saw us branch into the design, manufacture and installation of Outdoor Gym Equipment in 2017, supplying outdoor fitness equipment to schools, colleges, unviersities, parks, hospitals, prisons and other instituitions throughout the UK.
Sydney Lee’s two sons John and Robert are today still actively running and working within the business. It is still family owned. John has one of his three daughters Stacy working in the business and Robert has one of his two daughters Rachel working with him.
Today, the group employs 220 full-time members of staff working across its three sites in Chesterton and Hampshire. More recent additions to Broxap are the Welsh office, which was opened on 1st March 2017 and the acquisition of Sunshine Gym of Telford in 2017 a company that supplies Outdoor Fitness Equipment.