History of Bisley Industrial Storage
Bisley started life in 1931 when Freddy Brown, a sheet metal worker, opened a one- man business repairing damaged cars in a workshop in Woking, Surrey. In 1941 the company moved to its present site in Bisley, Surrey when a 400 sq m manufacturing plant was built to deliver various wartime defence contracts. Bisley was responsible for designing and manufacturing the first containers to be dropped by parachute, which were widely used by airborne forces throughout the war. The company received several commendations from the Ministry of Defence for its contribution to the war effort.
By the time the war ended, the company had built up a considerable manufacturing capability for which there was by then no demand. Car repairs were resumed but it was a chance conversation that led the organisation into steel storage. Standard Office Supplies, a London-based wholesaler, showed Freddy Brown a steel waste paper bin and requested an initial trial order. The rest is history. The company made steady, if unspectacular, growth and in 1963 the repair of cars was discontinued to allow more emphasis to be placed on steel storage.
Freddy Brown's son, Tony Brown, the present chairman, joined the company in 1960 when the business had a turnover of £95,000 and employed 28 people. When his father retired in 1968, Tony completed one of the UK’s first management buy-outs, purchasing Bisley’s shares from his four siblings. However Freddy Brown remained as chairman of the company until his death in 1977.
In 1988, with the business continuing to grow, a 17-acre site in Newport, South Wales was purchased to create a larger manufacturing plant which enabled Bisley to focus on the export market. Export sales increased in 10 years from £2.96m in 1987 to £20.27m in 1996 and Bisley was granted two prestigious Queen's Award for Export Achievement in 1992 and 1997.
Bisley’s sales have increased almost every year between 1970 and 2008, when sales peaked at £87.3million. And all growth has been organic, not by acquisition.
In addition to state-of-the-art factory in Newport and office in Bisley, the company has a London showroom and major subsidiaries in France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Holland, the US and Dubai,.
The company is owned by Tony Brown, his family and other directors.