1950 - Latter day of saw milling at South Street Cockermouth
1955 - Precast Concrete and Clinecon Block Works, Low Road, Cockermouth
Mid 1950s - Early Clinecon house at Abbeytown
1963 - Newspaper Article 'End of an Era in Cockermouth's Firms Life'
1963 - Inspecting quarry as a result of blast Tendley Quarry
1965 - First Timber Trusses were manufactured
1980 - Keith Denham becomes Managing Director Chief Executive
1986 - Moved to its Head Quarters in Flimby Cumbria
1986 - Thomas Armstrong (Building & DIY) Supplies) Limited Formed
1988 - Garners Concrete Blocks Ltd, Thirsk
1995 - William Rainford (Holdings) Ltd, Aintree
1997 - Coulthard Concrete Products (1980) Ltd -Sillioth, Cumbria
1998 - Barnett's (Buglawton) Ltd - Congleton, Cheshire
PIONEER - CLINECON BUILDING BLOCK
ONE OF THE FIRST AUTOMATIC BLOCK MAKING MACHINES IN THE COUNTRY
During the war the company was involved in the the buildings of council houses and in the early 1950s were building upwards of 1000 houses every year for councils and housing associations across Cumbria and North East.
Throughout this time there was a shortage of housing as a result of damage caused in the Second World War. Thomas Armstrong developed an innovative solution called The Clinecon Block Construction which enabled houses to be build speedily, provide an alternative to brick but was also economical in building and maintenance costs. Clinecon Houses had a principal component the clinker concrete interlocking block, which was made out of clinker ash from power stations - an early example of recycling. “The blocks were unique. They were designed in particular sizes and just slotted together, including corner pieces, so that they didn’t have to be cut.
“They brought about a revolution in building and we were asked to use them to build houses in the South – but we were far too busy.”
Extract taken from an article in Times and Star in Sept 2008
The company was the pioneer of the block and had one of the first automatic block making machines in the country. The first house the firm built using this method was at Parkside Avenue in Cockermouth, and it is still there.
This manufacturer of the Cliencon Block was transferred from Cockermouth in mid 1950s to Rowlands Gill, Tyne and Wear.
View the Thomas Armstrong House for the People Brochure
BLOCK PLANT FACTORY OPENS
The first block plant was situated in Cumbria producing blocks for Thomas Armstrong Limited. An additional block plant factory was opened in Rowlands Gill in the North East, close to sources of good quality clinker and pelletised slag.
END OF AN ERA
During the Second World War, the firm were contractors to the War Office, supplying timber; but that era came to an end in 1963 when it cut down its last trees.
THOMAS ARMSTRONG LIMITED BECOMES A HOLDINGS COMPANY
Following rapid expansion and diverse activities, Thomas Armstrong Limited changed it's role to become a Holdings Company and formed subsidiary companies covering contracting, timber manufacturer, Concrete Block Manufacturer and quarrying, haulage and vehicle maintenance activities.
Thomas Armstrong (Timber) Limited was established where its main activity was the manufacturing of timer components for the bed making industry. It gradually expanded its operations into pallets, packing cases and roof trusses.
Thomas Armstrong (Construction) Ltd was formed following the reorganisation but prior to this date construction activities has been carried out since 1930 by the parent Company. It was made up of two major departments Buildings and Civil Engineering support by Joinery, Plant, Plumbing and Roofing departments.
FIRST TIMBER TRUSSES MANUFACTURED
TRANSPORT SERVICE COMPANY FORMED
Thomas Armstrong (Transport Services) Limited formation saw the operation of a fleet of modern tipper vehicles and gravel quarries and commercial vehicle repair and workshop. Making it one of the largest and most modern fleets of vehicles in West Cumbria.
KEITH DENHAM APPOINTED CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR
MODERN HIGH PRODUCTION BLOCK PLANT OPENED
In January 1981, the company continued to prosper and resulted in the investment of a modern high production manufacturing block plant being opened at Rowlands Gill in the North East. It made them the most Advanced Factory of this type in Europe, with Computer Operated full Automated Production.
MOVE TO NEW HEADQUARTERS FLIMBY, CUMBRIA
In the Spring, following its continued expansion again, in spring 1986, Thomas Armstrong Group moved its new Headquarters at Flimby, where part of vehicle maintenance, the transport workshops were the first part to be opened for business on the new complex. Since then office's were opened by the Contracting company in Lancaster and Catterick.
The transport workshops were the first part of the new complex to be open for business where vehicle servicing and repairs, MOT and tachograph services were offered.
THOMAS ARMSTRONG (BUILDING & D.I.Y) SUPPLIES) LIMITED FORMED
Based on a former commercial garage site it was transformed into a 5000 sq.ft self service retail store with a bathroom/bedroom showroom and 8000 sq.ft trade service area.
A new addition of the plant hire department at Cockermouth was offered and delivery service extended to 20 miles radius of depot.
ROWLANDS GILL PLANT EXTENDED
The Rowlands Gills Block Plant Factory was extended to produce ARMBOND insulation Blocks to achieve U-Values of 0.6-0.45 without requiring additional insulation during or after construction.
THOMAS ARMSTRONG (CONCRETE) LTD RENAMED THOMAS ARMSTRONG (CONCRETE BLOCKS) LTD
COMPANY EXPANSION AND AQUISITIONS
The company formed and acquired new businesses all increasing the scope and area of operations of the Group.
In January, ACP (Concrete) Ltd and Thomas Armstrong (Buildings and DIY Supplies) Limited were formed.
During 1988, the precast concrete company had outgrown it's site in Cockermouth and occupies a two acre site with a purpose factory on Risehow Industrial Estate near Maryport. It has since earned its reputation for high quality, mass produced concrete products.
At the same time it also setup a Readymix Concrete Plant for the company's own use and for Retail and Trade markets throughout West Cumbria.
GARNERS CONCRETE BLOCKS ACQUISITION IN THIRSK
In October, The acquisitions of Garners Concrete Blocks Limited at Thirsk was acquired to increase sales into North Yorkshire and expand product range and Polkinghorne Industries at Workington. Founded in 1981 it was a long establish and respected local company.
CONCRETE BLOCK PLANT PURHASED IN CONSETT, DURHAM
THOMAS ARMSTORNG LIMITED RENAMED THOMAS ARMSTRONG (HOLDINGS) LIMITED
THOMAS ARMSTRONG (CONTRACTORS) LIMITED RENAMED
THOMAS ARMSTRONG (CONSTRUCTION) LIMITED
WILLIAM RAINFORDS (HOLDINGS) LTD ACQUISITION - AINTREE, LIVERPOOL
The Group acquired William Rainford (Holdings) Ltd in 1995 which was a well known local company based in Aintree, Liverpool operating from 5 sites and founded in 1970.
COULTHARD CONCRETE PRODUCTS (1980) LIMTED ACQUISITION - SILLIOTH, CUMBRIA
It was acquired in 1997 and manufacturers an extensive range of building block products.
BARNETT'S (BUGLAWTON) LTD ACQUISITION - CONGLETON, CHESHIRE
Barnett’s (Buglawton) Ltd was acquisition in February 1998. This was the oldest and most well establish company in the Group. This latest acquired enabled the Group to extend its geographical operations from Carlisle to Congleton (Cheshire).
THOMAS ARMSTRONG (TRANSPORT SERVICES) LIMITED RENAMED
THOMAS ARMSTRONG (AGGREGATES) LTD