Established in 1904 John Parker & Son Limited is the largest independent steel stockholder in the south of England, with head offices based in Canterbury, Kent, and depots at Andover, Gatwick, and Waterbeach near Cambridge.
John Parker, the founder of Parkers, was born in Whitehaven, Cumberland on 1st April 1874. He worked in an Ironmongers shop in Whitehaven, John Whittle & Son, and in 1904 he decided to start his own business and a new life. He purchased the freehold of a small shop in The Parade, Canterbury and a small yard in Watling Street from Walter Price, who had been trading for many years.
He chose Canterbury for his new venture because of it's cathedral, and his strong Christian faith. He sang in the cathedral choir for many years and went to the services there every Sunday for more than 60 years. He was the principal founder of the Canterbury Amateur Operatic Society. In 1906 he called together a few of his musical friends, and in the Spring of 1907 they produced the Gilbert & Sullivan Opera 'Patience' at the Theatre Royal, Canterbury. John, the possessor of a pleasing tenor voice, took a leading part in this and subsequent productions up to the time of the First World War.
In 1923 John was joined in the firm by his second son Jack, having completed his apprenticeship at Lankester & Son Ltd of Southampton. Jack, (or Mr John as he was known) helped run the business until war broke out in 1939, and he then joined the RAF and served for the duration of the war.
Running the business during the war on his own was too much for John, and he thought it was affecting his health and on his son's return from the RAF, he handed over the keys and retired. As it happens, he lived for another 20 years, and died in Canterbury in 1966 at the age of 92.
In 1950 Jack's younger son David joined the business, and is still there today as Chairman of the Company.
A nationwide shortage of steel in the mid 1950's gave this side of the Parker business a considerable impetus and an expansion which is still continuing up to the present day.
A new larger warehouse was built in Rhodaus Town and ten years later this was too small and the company moved to Vauxhall Road where it is today. Depots were later built in Andover and Waterbeach. These remain an integral part of the business.
In 1978 John H Parker died at the age of 75.
Parkers is still a family business, with one grandson of John Parker on the Board of Directors and one great grandson, Guy. Guy, son of Peter, Jack's eldest son, is the Managing Director.
The management team is well supported by senior members of the firm, who continue to contribute greatly to the ongoing success of the company.
Always one to invest heavily and look to the future, Parkers have just acquired the business of Yeowart Steel Stockholders, a family firm based in Crawley and CBA metals in 2004, a Bright Steel Stockholders based in West Sussex. The acquisition considerably strengthens the position of ParkerSteel as the leading steel and non-ferrous stockholder and processor in the South of England.
Parkers have become one of the largest privately owned steel stockholders in the country, employing over 450 people, and one of the major firms bringing employment to the Canterbury area. Stocks of over 25,000 tonnes of steel, a massive shotblaster and primer, seven laser cutting machines, two state-of-the-art Dynamic Waterjet cutting machines plus tube laser and plasma cutter to enhance the existing profile machines. In addition to this, we have a fleet of over 75 lorries to distribute steel throughout Southern England and now we also have our own dockside facilities at Shoreham West Sussex which enables us to unload 5000 tonne ships - a far cry from the shop at No.11 The Parade.
Click here to visit the John Parker & Son Limited Corporate site.
Registered Address: John Parker & Son Limited, Vauxhall Industrial Road, Canterbury, Kent, CT1 1HD
Company Registration Number: London 654746
VAT Registration Number: GB 347 1670 50
Parker Steel is a trading name of John Parker & Son Limited