Click through the years to see our history evolve...
Towards the middle of the last century, two Cumberland farmers turned their backs on their farms and set up business as livestock auctioneers, one in Kendal and the other in Penrith. Though, at the time, they were completely unknown to each other, the moves sowed the seeds of a company that was to grow into one of the foremost livestock auctioneering partnerships in Europe.
Between 1906 and 1913 nothing startling happened to upset the day to day business of Harrison and Hetherington’s Auction Marts Ltd through the depressed state of the farming industry. During periods of uncertainty, the board took a tough line on wage increases but were always concerned about the welfare of the staff. The Directors agreed: employees are allowed to take one day’s staff outing at a date considered suitable to the manager.
Borderway Mart opened on Friday 23rd August 1974. The opening week sales were a resounding success, but it took a lot of hard work and ingenuity on the part of the staff of Borderway to have the catalogues ready on time. The Autumn of 1974 was the start of the ‘Winter of Discontent’, when the power industry employees were flexing their muscles by staging a series of strikes, and printers were so plagued by powercuts they were forced to turn work away.
In April 1998 the untimely death of Dick Harrison brought to a close the ‘Harrison’ day to day management and control of the company that had lasted for nearly 130 years. H&H Group Plc is formed in 1999 with the development of businesses offering a diversification of services - not solely based around livestock auctioneering. In addition to auctioneering of livestock, vehicles, antiques and fine art, companies within the H&H Group now encompassed insurance, finance, chartered surveyors and estate agency services.
The start of the 21st Century saw a Foot & Mouth outbreak which closed the marts in February 2001 for nearly a year. H&H worked hard to ensure that there were no compulsory redundancies and outsourced staff to Defra and other agri businesses. Borderway Mart became a busy operational centre until livestock trading resumed in February 2002. Kirkby Stephen and Lazonby marts were acquired through the acquisition of PF&K’s livestock division and separate arrangements were made for Middleton-in-Teesdale and St John’s Chapel marts. Since 2000, H&H has embarked on the strategy of developing a multi-faced group of companies with the heritage firmly remaining within the farming community.