What 2019 means to our company.
Britannia Leatherbarrows is a family owned Removals and Storage business that has been a member of the Britannia Group for over 30 years. 2019 is a special year for the owners, the Trenchard Family.
David Trenchard is the 3rd generation to run a family removals and storage business in Bournemouth, he joined straight from school in 1962 and had already worked with his father and their workforce during school holidays and at weekends helping to pack and unpack homes, carrying goods in and out of customers homes and with the labelling and inventorying for consignments bound for their storage facility or to far distant lands.
He continued to work manually, driving the vehicles and passing the Removals Institute Examinations which led to his qualifying for a Certificate of Professional Competence enabling him to be the nominated O Licence manager.
The family business had been started in 1919 by his late grandfather, Victor Trenchard who had moved to Bournemouth after discharge from the forces at the end of the First World War. He and his wife settled here with their two baby sons, both of whom would join him in his business when they left school. Initially, Victor used his pony and trap to carry out small moves and also to move luggage and packed boxes to and from the local Railway Station. In those days much of the long distance moving was just personal effects and the railways were the most effective means of transport between Towns and Cities throughout the Country.
He bought a Model T Ford from a local Brewery to modernise his transport and this had a lift on/off the rear section of either passenger seats or a goods box and he could use this to transport his family or move goods. David Trenchard is still very friendly with descendants of the former brewer who sold the Ford to them.
In 1927 he had his first coachbuilt van built on a new Model T Ford Chassis and we have a very good photograph of this vehicle with his younger son, Bert, then 14, working with Victor. Bert and Jack continued with the removal business, Bert branching off into the Leisure Industry in early 1950’ and Jack in charge until he retired in the early 1980s.
Incidentally, Victor was a tough individual, he was from a family of Butchers who had shops and a slaughterhouse in Crewkerne in Somerset. Following the outbreak of WW1 Victor had joined up with his two younger Brothers, James and Jack and all three had survived the war on the western front although Victor himself was invalided out in 1918 after being hit by a bullet in his knee. In those times little could be done other than to provide him with a special boot and a leather and steel brace to keep the knee from bending.
Imagine starting out a removals business with all the lifting, carrying and bending and originally with his pony and cart. Later he was driving a truck for a living with a leg that didn’t bend at the knee! Indeed in later life, he was able to have a car with a hand clutch on the steering wheel to save him trying to depress the foot clutch and twisting from the hip as this was before automatic gearboxes had evolved.
The family continued to offer removal and storage services in the Bournemouth Area right up until today, over the years they acquired many of their competitors’ businesses and contracts, helping to continue to employ loyal staff as fellow family business owners retired. The business adapted to changing needs as customers and the market place demanded, in the 1970’s they converted all the storage service into the wooden containerised system which offered dust free environment, remove the need for labeling everything and improved security whilst greatly reducing manual handling.
In the latter half of the 1970’ shipping containers replaced the need for bespoke wooden crates to be purpose made to export furniture and effects to far-flung places and the family joined with other like firms throughout the UK to develop a part load service to benefit customers by filling containers with part loads and shipping directly to fellow removal companies in the destination ports to unpack, clear customs and deliver to the customer new residence. The group was called Pelicon Van Lines and this was absorbed into Britannia Movers International at the end of the 1980s.
At this stage the principal business name was Leatherbarrows and they had acquired a group of businesses from Sketchleys based in Andover and the Removals business of Tappers of Wimborne.
In the 1980’s they expanded their road services into Europe specialising on parts loads to the Spanish Costas and throughout France, a service still operated today. At the end of the century, David and his team decided to change their coachbuilt fleet of removal vans and adopt the demount or swap body system that was now very much the norm in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.
This has revolutionised the way that the transport is used, it gives the opportunity to load from customers homes in advance of their completion of sale and hold over until a later specified day to commence unloading. This extra service offers the customer freedom from worries of legal hold-ups on completion day, enables the work to be planned and carried out in a relaxed and professional manner and give the customer the opportunity to have a window for tidying up and cleaning their old home and some decorating and carpet/floor covering fitting to take place in the new one before the majority of their furniture fills up the space. It also helps with enabling the use of a trailer to give maximum capacity for the same crew to carry on long distance or Europe moves and with the simple swap body facility the truck itself is smaller and can enter more restrictive accesses for loading and unloading.
The trucks can also transport standard 20ft shipping containers which enables the firm to transport shipping company containers via their own trucks rather than relying on an outside transport contractor. In the early 2000’s the company improved its service to and from the Channel Islands by utilising their own 20ft containers and forming partnership with fellow movers on Guernsey, Jersey and Alderney to save transferring staff and motor vehicle son the ferries to and from the UK and the Islands but packing and sending just the containers on the freight boat which saves the customers costs and again improves the service. This has proven a very well used part of the business.
Also in the early 2000’s the business responded to the market interest in self-storage by investing in 20ft containers specially manufactured to 9ft 6inches external height thus giving greater internal storage capacity and made with air vents suitable for outside storage and this facility has been well used at both the Andover and Bournemouth Airport Locations. In 2019 the half of the Andover warehouse has been fitted out with metal storage locked rooms thus providing internal as well as external self-storage.
In 2019 the Trenchard family, now with daughter Sarah and son in law Darren Vale working with David’s long-established management team are able to keep responding to the needs of the market and provide the people of Bournemouth, Dorset, and West Hampshire with all the services associated with moving and storing homes, businesses and offices.
1919-2019 We celebrate a Century of Personal Service.