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Britannia Appleyards of South Yorkshire has been established for over 100 years, and dates back as far as 1860. It was the current director’s great-great-grandfather who founded the original removal business. The family business started off in removals, furniture making, funerals and home deliveries of groceries and coal. Furniture making was a substantial part of the business and the company even attended a show in Paris in the first decade of the 20th century.
Nowadays, Britannia Appleyards of South Yorkshire is exclusively a removals and storage company that undertakes removals to all parts of the UK, Europe and the world.
Appleyards in the 19th Century
For several decades and generations, the main source of income for the Appleyard family was cabinet making and joinery. This industry can be traced back to Joseph Appleyard (1777-1839) who was born in Halifax and moved to Conisbrough after he married Jane Chester (1777-1863).
Joseph and Jane had 12 children, of which six survived into adulthood. Their four sons were all involved in cabinet making in some way, assumed to be taught the skill by their father. It was their fourth son, Joseph Appleyard II (1819-1890) who founded Joseph Appleyard and Sons of Rotherham in 1872, the beginning of the Appleyards business.
Following the family tradition, Joseph Appleyard II set up the business with his three sons. The firm was focused on cabinet making and upholstery and employed multiple staff members. The running of the business was soon transferred entirely to the sons, with Joseph Appleyard II managing part of the firm in Conisborough.
In 1879, the firm acquired William Johnson & Sons of Sheffield. Together, they created Johnson & Appleyards Ltd of Sheffield: Cabinet Makers, Upholsterers, Art Furnishers, Ecclesiastical and Domestic Painters and Decorators, by Special Appointment to HRH the Prince of Wales.
During his time, Joseph Appleyard II was well-respected as a businessman and as an expert cabinet maker. His workmanship was praised across Sheffield, Doncaster, and the wider area, and he was noted by some to be the best furniture maker in the district.
After Joseph Appleyard II passed in 1890, his son Joseph Appleyard III took the reigns of the business. He continued the company’s focus on manufacturing and selling furniture and eventually secured national and international status for the firm.
By the end of the 19th Century, Johnson & Appleyards Ltd was one of the largest cabinet manufacturers in the midlands, winning awards for their craftsmanship and a customer base that included the Duke of Norfolk and the Archbishop of York. They were celebrated for their attention to detail and diversity of design.
Johnson & Appleyard’s was instrumental in modernising local tastes and introducing new concepts to the domestic furniture market across Sheffield in the late 19th century. They provided a local alternative for people to acquire their furniture, whereas before the general practice was to go to London. Their local warehouses were able to provide fast delivery and a bespoke service for their customers. Their purpose-built showrooms across Sheffield boosted the local economy, encouraging shoppers to visit the town to acquire what they needed. The showrooms, along with their warehouses, provided hundreds of jobs for local people.
Johnson & Appleyards was seen as one of the most successful furniture manufacturers of its time, earning a reputation for high quality and professionalism throughout the 19th century.
Britannia Appleyards: Present Day
Today, Britannia Appleyards has moved away from cabinet making to focus solely on removals and storage services. As part of the Britannia Movers International network, we are able to support our customers with removals across the UK and all over the world, working with trusted global partners. We have also become a member of the British Association of Movers (BAR), the largest trade association in the removals sector that’s dedicated to promoting excellence and maintaining professional standards in the industry.
Although we have come a long way since the early days in Conisbrough, we remain a South Yorkshire-based and family-run company. We’re now based in Rotherham and we still take pride in providing a consistent, high-quality service to all our customers.