2017 is a year of celebration for Stannah. This year will mark 150 years since Joseph Stannah founded the business back in 1867, providing cranes and hoists to make things easier in the docks of London. A lot has happened since then – wars, financial crises, the invention of the car, the telephone, space travel – yet some things, like the need to get goods and people from one floor to another and the Stannah family commitment to Joseph’s values of quality and integrity, have not changed.
It’s not always been a smooth ride for the company though, Leslie Stannah had to rebuild the company from scratch after the Second World War and the early 60s saw the business in a precarious position but it was ably rescued by the young Brian and Alan Stannah, who have since built the business in to the household name it is today.
Joseph Stannah established the company in London, making hoists and cranes for the dockyards before embarking on passenger lifts.
Stannah was regularly advertising and submitting articles and comments to the press on subjects as diverse as craneslifts, locomotive stuffing boxes and engines.
Joseph Stannah wrote his Rules of Life. The Rules of Life are twelve motto’s for running a happy life and a successful business and still inform the way we operate the business today.
Britain was in the midst of an industrial revolution, with pioneers such as Brunel pushing forward a radical change in transportation and the development of a new railway network across Britain. The landscape of Victorian Britain was changing and it was time for new ideas to emerge.
The Royal Albert Hall was opened by Queen Victoria.
The first telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Watson.
During the war the family factory received a direct hit from a German bomber, putting operations on hold. There was no factory, machinery, designs, components or staff left.
Leslie is awarded the King’s Commendation for courage in the face of the enemy and became a Lt Commander L Stannah in the Royal Navy Supplementary Volunteer Reserve (RNSVR) by the end of the War. He also helped to train new recruits at HMS Duke in Malvern.
Leslie returns from the war to rebuild the factory . They set up in a Nissen Hut, manufacturing Stannahs post-war lifts, exporting to Palestine and Ceylon.
There were around 20 people working in the business, today there are over 1800.
Second World War.
Alan Turing develops the code-breaking machine Colossus.
Leslie’s sons Alan and Brian Stannah joined the business in 1958. They begin the process of streamlining production and introducing new products such as dumbwaiters and maxilifts to the product portfolio.
Stannah undertook a contract to install a lift in the ten-deck 80,000 oil tanker (the Marquina).
Alan and Brian open the first service branch in Eastbourne.
The first maxilift passenger lifts were introduced standardising the lift range whilst still allowing for bespoke production.
Stannah moved their main manufacturing unit to Andover from London.
Stannah Microlifts was started - marketing dumbwaiter lifts, they were advertised with the slogan ‘Straight Up Sir’.
Sptunik I and II launched by the Russians.
Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.
An economic crisis across the globe involving oil shortages and miners strikes, meant the introduction of a 3 day working week.
Stannah manufactured its first stairlift and began exporting the range in 1979. This was followed by a flurry of new innovations – some successful and some not.
Distributorships were successfully set up in Holland, Germany and Japan.
The new straight rail stairlifts were launched at the NAIDEX exhibition.
A new logo, the first to use the famous Stannah bird of freedom was introduced.
Steven Sasson invented the digital camera.
The Concorde had its first commercial flight, from London to Bahrain.
Sony introduced the Walkman.
Stannah Stairlifts became a global market leader and achieved the first of many prestigious Queen’s Awards.
Her majesty makes the awards on the advice of the prime minister and they are announced annually on the Queen’s birthday in April.
Brian’s eldest son Jon, joined the family business.
Stannah introduced goods lifts into the product portfolio supplying them as back of house lifts for hotels, factories, supermarkets and convenience stores.
The disposable camera was invented.
DNA first used to convict criminals.
The World Wide Web invented by Tim Berners-Lee.
Stannah Stairlifts opened subsidiaries in the USA and Holland and produced its 100,000th stairlift. The division also won a further two Queen’s Awards for Export Achievement.
Brian's son Jon Stannah introduces escalators and moving walkways to their product portfolio and their lift service division wins the contract to maintain all Network Rail lifts in the UK.
In 2011 Stannah welcomed HRH the Prince of Wales to Stannah on the occasion of the manufacture of their 500,000th stairlift production.
The Xtralift passenger lift range was introduced, increasing Stannah’s expertise to cover lifts for up to 33 people and enabling them to work on more complex projects.
Stairlifts secured the Queens award for the 4th time.
Water is discovered on the moon.
Apple launches the iPad tablet
London hosts the 20th Olympic Games.
The company installed lifts and escalators into some major infrastructure projects: King’s Cross, Paddington, London Bridge, Reading, Nottingham and many more station upgrades. Moving walkways were installed in many major supermarkets nationwide.
2015 was a year of milestones for Stannah as we celebrated 20,000 passenger and platform lifts being sold and 40 years of stairlifts.