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.
The second annual Christmas Fatstock Show at Mr Harrisonís Auction Mart, Botchergate, Carlisle, was held yesterday. The attendance of farmers from the neighbourhood of Carlisle and different parts of the Northern counties was very large throughout, and the show proved a great success.
Mr Hetherington of Kendal, having purchased the auctioneering business on Earl Street, would like to inform the public that he will reopen the auction mart on 21 January 1897 for the sale of all kinds of stock.
Between 1906 and 1913 nothing startling happened to upset the day to day business of Harrison and Hetheringtonís 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 dayís staff outing at a date considered suitable to the manager.
In 1913 the Directors purchased a Vulcan motor car to give canvassers an advantage over their competitors.
A cow's wild career in Botchergate caused some excitement on Monday morning. The cow was inside the entrance to Messrs Harrison & Hetheringtonís Auction Mart yard when it got out of control and ran into Botchergate dragging with it John Crighton who was in charge of the animal. The cow then dashed into the grocers shop of Mr Ernest Bell. It was caught, blindfolded and led uninjured into the Palace Theatre yard.
CARLISLE JOURNAL, FEB 1931
1943 - H&H Auction Marts Ltd becomes Harrison & Hetherington Ltd
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 ëWinter of Discontentí, 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.
"Our present premises at Botchergate and Earl Street are perfectly adequate for our requirements and we therefore wish to continue indefinitely in these premises... Nevertheless we appreciate that it is the desire of the Corporation that we move... subject to suitable financial arrangements we are prepared to move... but it is not in our best interests and we do so solely at the request of the corporation."
1973 - Harrison & Hetherington get a 99 year lease at Rosehill and building begins on a new mart.
A new venture was undertaken on Friday by the Carlisle based auction company of Harrison and Hetherington, when the firm held a restocking sale. A record entry of more than 700 head of dairy cattle were on display before a large quantity of buyers from far and wide, especially from Cheshire and Shrewsbury, where farm stock has been killed due to the foot and mouth epidemic which struck more than 2,000 farms. Many farmers from the Midland counties did not actually take up the bidding themselves, but they had local friends in the ring to give a nod or a wink.
FARMER & STOCK BREEDER - MAY 1968
In April 1998 the untimely death of Dick Harrison brought to a close the ëHarrisoní 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.
1987 Borderway Insurance opens
1990 H&H Print opens for business
1993 Harrison & Hetherington hit a £1m profit
1994 Primestock Electronic Auctions go live
1995 Borderway Finance opens
1999 Broughton Mart joins H&H
1999 H&H acquires Julie Kingís Estate Agents
and Alan Bowe, Chartered Surveyors
1999 The H&H Group is formed
On the 29th June 1987 Harrison & Hetherington wins a landmark case against Cumbria County Council for compensation of the compulsory relocation from their Botchergate site with an award of £860,00 being awarded by the judge. This legal battle had begun in May 1974 and could be deemed eligible for the countyís longest legal battle.
March 1996 - BSE outbreak rocks the UK and had a major impact on the business. As a consequence Cattle Passports for bovine animals were introduced in 1998.
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&Kís livestock division and separate arrangements were made for Middleton-in-Teesdale and St Johnís 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.
When Cumbrian livestock auctioneers entered the world of agricultural insurance, they had no idea that their joint venture with Patterson Edwards, would become one of the countryís leading insurance companies. Staff at H&H Insurance Brokers (formerly Borderway Insurance Brokers) celebrated 25 years of business with a black tie dinner. In 2002, there were 20 independent brokers across Cumbria and by 2012 there were only three. The strength of the company attributed to adaptability in the market, offering a wide range of insurances from livestock through to wind turbines.
The Group of companies develops to meet the requirements of our customers. After 10 years, Richard Rankin appointed as the new CEO. Climatic conditions including the Beast from the East in December 2019, followed by a Spring drought resulted in H&H trading with reduced values and volumes. Nationwide we had to deal with Brexit uncertainty and the ongoing worldwide Covid-19 pandemic.
H&H Land and Property continues to develop the range of professional services for farmers through the land agency and associated services, together with expansion of the estate agency side. Acquire Smeatons Estate Agency with Cockermouth & Keswick branches. Company name evolves to H&H Land & Estates (neatly combining both sides of the business).
2020 Plans to redevelop the Newtown St Boswells Livestock Auction Mart are approved; this is a long-term development programme to provide a modern livestock auction mart for the Borders and a rural hub for the surrounding communities.
By providing a modern state of the art livestock auction facility to service the renowned Scottish Borders livestock rearing industry, together with an agricultural business hub, will bring the agri businesses together onto the one site whilst regenerating the small Borders town by offering a substantial residential development as well as commercial and retail outlets in a newly designed town centre.
H&H Insurance Brokers continues to develop new markets and products to achieve their aim of becoming ‘Your Trusted Advisor’. Smallholder Protect, online quote / product, launched. Introduced H&H Safety (risk management) and H&H Asset Finance. Evolved brand look.
H&H Reeds Printers is Cumbria’s largest printer and continues to invest in up-to-date equipment and develop new markets to support customers with innovative products and design. Acquire Print Graphic Ltd (creative agency) and Dotcom Associates (web development) to strengthen their client services portfolio.
The H&H Group developed its property portfolio both for its own use and as an additional income stream. The land acquired is developed into a ‘pay and display’ car park, plus commercial and retail units (including new Pioneer retail store and cafe).
WITH PLANNING FOR 350 CAR PARKING SPACES,
A NEW RETAIL STORE FOR PIONEER FOODSERVICE
AND TEN 2,000FT2 HIGH SPEC BUSINESS UNITS TO LET
All the H&H companies have evolved their brands and a new set of company Mission, Vision & Values established. In spite of the global pandemic, the H&H companies rallied to produce financial results surpassing £1.2m profit for the year.
“we are a group of dynamic, exciting and progressive companies, striving to be the very best in our field, built on the foundation of the Number One livestock marketing business in the UK”
“to add value to and help protect the economies we serve.”