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The Carvers business was established in 1896 in Willenhall by Harry Carver. Harry enlisted the help of his brother Horace, and had backing from their father John Carver and they rented premises from the Railway at the Dale in Willenhall which is now known as Bilston Street. Originally they set up a partnership, but in 1900 Horace left the company and the business started to prosper with Harry at the reins, he soon bought the land he occupied and some additional land. In 1914 the business opened a branch in Queens Street Goods Station in Wolverhampton. Roland Carver Harry’s son joined the business in 1918 and in1924 the business became a limited company. The Wolverhampton branch flourished and new premises were erected in Horseley Fields in place of the original depot a slate and tile roofing department was then set up. In the 1920’s a further branch of Carvers would be opened in Heath Town in Wolverhampton. Here Carvers not only sold building materials but also manufactured breeze blocks. Prior to the second world war, the company moved to 11-16 Stafford Street, Wolverhampton (now occupied by Wolverhampton University).
During the Second World War new building stopped completely and the branch in Heath Town was closed. Harry Carver the founder died in 1942 and his son Geoffrey who had joined the company just before the war was killed in active service leaving Roland to run the company with both staff and materials in short supply.
In 1947 John Carver, Roland’s elder son joined the company after completing his military service, Carvers expanded once more taking advantage of the requirement for new housing in the post war years. In 1953 the company’s turnover was £127,000 and the company moved to 54-60 Stafford Street as Wolverhampton Technical College, now Wolverhampton University, acquired the site at 11-16 Stafford Street.
By 1964 the turnover had reached £500,000 per annum and John and Roy Carver started Carver Oils Limited which specialised in the distribution of oil to domestic and commercial customers. Originally Carver Oils was based at their Stafford Street premises in Wolverhampton but in the late 1960s new premises were acquired on a trading estate in Willenhall and the company was relocated to the Long Acres Estate. In the early 1970s the company were requested to move once more for expansion of the Wolverhampton Polytechnic (now Wolverhampton University) and new premises were acquired at Littles Lane in Wolverhampton, initially 5 acres were bought and over the years Carvers have bought further land as it become available, they now have an 11 acres site.
In 1974 Carvers Gases was set up as a separate business, filling gas bottles. In 1975 Roland Carver died. The 1980’s saw Roy’s son Henry Carver and John’s son David Carver join the company in 1983 and 1985 respectively. The turnover in 1985 was approaching £2.2 million.
In 1983 Roy Carver was approached by the Man Power Services Commission with a view in setting up an employee based Youth Training Scheme, this was set up and soon established itself as a very successful training scheme, training staff not only for Carvers but also for some 450 local company’s, there would be 60 trainees per annum.
In 1986 Carvers entered the timber business by acquiring the stock, staff and machinery of the Malden Timber Branch in Featherstone and moving them onto their Littles Lane site. The success of this venture meant that not long after entering the timber market that investment in a tanalising plant and a vac-vac timber treatment plant was required for the preservative treatment of timber. In 1992 Hickson PLC (now Arch Chemicals) approached Carvers to enter a joint venture to operate the timber treatment plants.
Despite the harsh economic circumstances the company turnover had now grown to £7.6 million this was boosted by Carvers setting up the CashBuild Sales department specializing in serving jobbing builders. The timber division has continued to grow and currently accounts for nearly 40% of the company’s turnover, of particular importance to its growth has been the establishment of its importing facilities with a dedicated dock at Keadby, near Scunthorpe and a dedicated dock in Riga in Latvia where the company has invested in kilns, machining and tanalising facilities.
In 1993 the company successfully achieved BS5750 quality management and is currently certified to ISO9001-2008 its successor.
Also in 1993 the company acquired S Jackson & Company Limited, who specialised in the sale of timber to major house builders. Jackson’s Sales Director Ivan Savage joined the company as part of the acquisition and in 1994 was appointed Carvers Sales Director.
1993 also saw Bryan Purslow join Carvers as Operations manager, over the years his reponsibilities have increased to managing all our self service and warehouse staff, our transport operation, much of our Health & Safety, our Hire Centre and Cooker Centre. In August 2000 Bryan was promoted to Operations Director.
In 1998 Carver’s established a Hire Centre facility for their customers at Littles Lane and this together with associated power tools sales has been another successful diversification within the building industry. The Carver’s board was strengthened in 1996 with the recruitment of Neil Kendrick as Finance Director taking over from Geoff Dalton who had been with the company for over 30 years.
In 2000 Roy Carver passed away and the following year in 2001 saw John Carver pass away.
In 2004 the company established Engineered Timber Solutions Ltd with Phil Sankey as a 50/50 joint-venture business designing, manufacturing and selling timber roof trusses, this business is based in Roddington which is between Telford and Shrewsbury. The business has developed steadily and is well respected for its technical ability and short lead times, much of its business now comes from customers placing repeat orders which is the ultimate accolade for a company specialising in technical design and production of one-offs.
In 2008 with sales up to £34,000,000 and over 220 staff, Ivan Savage retired as Sales Director and Andrell Dinham was appointed Construction Material Sales Director, Steve Moore Timber Operations and Sales Director and Richard Boult Purchasing Director. Steve Moore and Richard Boult had both started the working careers with Carvers in the early 1980’s on their YTS Scheme and Andrell Dinham had also started in the 1980’s with Carvers as a trainee.
Today Carvers in common with most builders merchants are having to retrench as a consequence of the severe recession affecting the building industry. However, their strong financial position enables them to continue to invest in the business. In late 2008 they established Timber Kit Solutions a specialist timber frame manufacturing business in which Carvers have a 50% share with three other shareholders who all have extensive technical knowledge of timber frame construction.
Despite the difficult trading circumstances Carvers continue to look for opportunities to develop in the wider building supplies industry.
Carvers Building Supplies Littles Lane Wolverhampton WV1 1JY
T: 01902 577000E: firstname.lastname@example.org