About Sykes Timber

Established in 1862 Sykes Timber is very much a family owned and run business. We have been supplying high quality Hardwood and Softwood for over 160 years.

The good governance instilled by our Quaker forefathers still guides our business philosophy to this day.

With the 6th Generation of the Sykes Family now involved in the business we plan to continue offering outstanding quality of timber and superb service for many years to come.

Wood Stacks
Woodland Page

Our History

Birmingham developed as an industrial city around an extensive network of canals, and it was at the Worcester Canal Wharf in the centre of Birmingham that John Sykes, son of a Quaker cloth-merchant of Huddersfield, first established a timber business.

Initially in partnership with James Stevens, John Sykes established his own Company in 1862, trading from premises in Sheepcote Street Birmingham, rented at a shilling a yard. He sold Yellow Pine from Canada, Deal from the Baltic, Mahoganies from Cuba, British Honduras and the West Coast of Africa, and supplied oak spokes and elm hubs for the wheels of the horse-drawn transport of his day. In the saw-pits constructed at Sheepcote Street two men using a 10 foot long saw converted Mahogany Logs 16 to 20 feet long and up to 4 feet in diameter into sawn boards.

Bandsaw (1908)

George Sykes

George Sykes joined his father in 1870 at the age of 14 and over the next 30 years they built up the business which prospered in the fast-expanding markets of the industrial Midlands. George Sykes took over from his father in 1900 and opened an additional yard in Sheepcote Street and another at Darlaston, between Walsall and Wolverhampton. Here logs brought in by canal barges were converted into planks, using power-driven saws, and piled for air drying.

The third generation, Joseph Sykes, entered his father’s business in 1913, but was soon called away for military service in France and Italy, during the Great War. Upon his return lorries were purchased and in 1920 the last horse was retired. Although all three yards were served by canals, this form of transport became less economical and from that day all timber was transported on the Company fleet of lorries.

George Sykes remembered when they first closed ‘early’ on Saturdays at 5.00pm.

First Lorry Leyland

The Firm’s First Lorry – 5 ton Leyland
23 years without mechanical failure

Austen Lorry

1943 Austin
Purchased for £495

Atkinson Lorry

Atkinson 7 ton – 1956

Joseph Sykes became Managing Director upon the death of his father in 1936 and six years later he was joined by his son Stephen Sykes, who was to enlist and serve in the Royal Leicestershire Regiment during the Second World War. In the years following the War when controls on the sale of timber had been eased, the Company was able to go ahead with a controlled expansion plan, and in the late 1950’s, acknowledging that the three existing yards were too small and too far apart, the Directors decided to search for a new site.

Joseph Sykes became Managing Director upon the death of his father in 1936 and six years later he was joined by his son Stephen Sykes, who was to enlist and serve in the Royal Leicestershire Regiment during the Second World War. In the years following the War when controls on the sale of timber had been eased, the Company was able to go ahead with a controlled expansion plan, and in the late 1950’s, acknowledging that the three existing yards were too small and too far apart, the Directors decided to search for a new site.

Atherstone in Warwickshire was chosen. Here ten acres of industrially zoned land were purchased and plans laid for mills, seasoning sheds, service roads, kilns and offices. The move to Atherstone was made in 1966, with subsequent progressive additions to the facilities. The location is directly linked to the A5 and thus to the Midlands and national trunk road and motorway network. Stephen Sykes became Managing Director in 1971 and progress under his stewardship was rapid.

 

Stephen’s sons Richard and Bob Sykes have been running the business since the early 1990’s and investment in buildings, plant and machinery as well as expansion into new markets has continued year on year.

In 2021 Joseph and Fred Sykes became the sixth generation to join this long running family business.