About Bearts Of Stowbridge
Charles Beart was a corn merchant operating as Beart & Co, with a granary in the station yard at Stow Bridge and a seed shop in Bridge Street, Downham Market. He resided and farmed at West Head Farm, Stow Bridge where he bred pedigree Large black pigs. Charles had three sons and one daughter, Alfred went to Canada to farm and lost his money in the Depression, Ernest was killed in the Great War, Harold owned a garage in Kingston Upon Thames and as a racing driver was the first man to reach 100mph in a three-wheeled Morgan car at Brooklands race track. Constance was the daughter.
Harold and Constance formed a new limited company H & C Beart Ltd to trade in grain, seed and fertilisers and compound animal feeds for sale in the local area.
When the new company was formed Matthew Brighton was handed the task to promote sales and with four salesmen under him, he successfully carried this out until war broke out in 1939 when strict rationing was introduced.
The Station Granary was burnt down and the business carried on from the lorry garages on the opposite side of the road where the office shop stands today.
The Beart family took on war type jobs and left Matthew Brighton, who had been injured during the first world war, to carry the business on. After the war the Beart family were short of money and had lost interest, returning to their car garage in London.
H & C Beart Ltd was bought from Harold Beart by a partnership of three including Matthew Brighton.
As the rationing of animal feed started to improve Matthews son Peter Brighton joined the company to increase sales. National compounds made by B.O.C.M, Pauls and Ful-O-Pep were sold using the railway truck’s in the station yard as storage.
Sales under Peter Brighton rapidly increased and in 1953 land was purchased to build a new Granary and a bungalow for Peter on site.
Peter Brighton persuaded his father and the other partners to erect buildings and install basic machinery to start compounding Bearts own made “Bardolph Quality Feeds” as well as silos to handle farmers grain which was increasing rapidly with the reciprocal trading of seeds and fertilisers.
Peter formed a new company called P.S.M. pigs Ltd (initials of Peter Stephen & Mark) to operate a pig scheme. The object was for PSM to supply the pigs and feed with the farmers supplying the housing, straw and husbandry. This scheme was operated for seventeen successful years and at its peak was fattening 40,000 pigs per year.
Peter had persuaded his father Matthew to buy out the other sleeping partners as it had been his hard graft that been building the business up. Later that year H & C Beart Ltd became totally owned by the Brighton Family as it is today.
Peters father Matthew Brighton retired and Peters two sons Stephen and Mark, the present owners, joined the company.
Saw the building of a new office block and weighbridge on the site of the old lorry garage, followed in 1974 with silos to hold another 1500 tonnes of grain, a mill workshop and more storage buildings.
A full range of feeds for farm stock was being compounded on site and the new office also became a shop for animal requisites. The following year National popular brands of petfoods were being stocked to supply retail and trade outlets.
Two grain stores were built to hold an extra 4000 tonnes of local grain and machinery was installed to start the blending of coarse mixes which were becoming much more popular especially with calf producers as the coarse mix was more palatable and would help develop the rumen more quickly.
In family tradition Stephen Brighton became sales manager to increase the tonnage with his brother Mark Brighton also taking to the road driving HGVs to collect raw materials for the busy feed mill.
Bearts became main distributors for Rice Trailers in East Anglia with workshop facilities for repairs and servicing support.
Peter Brighton decided to retire and was most pleased his son Stephen had been granted The Royal Warrant by Her Majesty the Queen for H & C Beart Ltd in recognition of the quality of products and services to Sandringham. A fitting tribute in Bearts Diamond Jubilee year.
Saw another major expansion with the building of new larger offices a much larger requisites shop and a new dedicated Hayloft clothing department.
Another generation of Bearts when Stephens two sons David and James join the rapidly expanding company. David skills in engineering soon put him in charge of the trailer workshop with James showing his skills picking orders for the busy fleet of lorries to deliver.
Was also important to Bearts when they became East Anglian main dealers for the revolutionary new Equi-Trek luxury horse trailers.
A major investment refurbishment of the mill took place to meet the new very stringent regulations in hygiene and safety. The ongoing replacement and high level maintenance of machinery had made it one of the highest standard feed mills in the U.K.
The shop was extended with a new trailer showroom and more space for the ever increasing range of horse and animal requisites.
With good workshop facilities already in place, Bearts take on the Dealership for Kymco Quad ATV bikes as the leisure market was expanding and the product range suited many of Bearts customers needs.
Marks daughter Georgina joined the company and quickly got to know all the customers working in the telesales office, whilst his other daughter Charlotte started her University studying to become a vet.
Land was purchased for a new trailer display park making room for a new 4000 sq ft purpose built Hayloft country clothing superstore. This is a brief history of H & C Beart Ltd the growing business that never stands still with many exciting plans for the future. It is a true family business with nine family members working amongst dedicated members of staff.