Barlows of Hermitage
Newbury 01635 200253
Witney: 01993 881206
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Barlows, 1867-Present day

The Barlow family has lived in the Newbury area for over 300 years.

It was in 1867 that Walter Barlow (Hurdlemaker) from Hampstead Norris married Martha Jeffrey and took The Lamb pub at Long Lane. The business of Publican, Farmer, Carpenters, began to grow.

In the early days all timber and carpentry work was carried out by hand next to The Lamb pub. The trees were purchased from local estates, felled with axes and crosscut saws, extracted from the woods with horses, loaded onto wagons and brought home. The trees were hewn into shape for reworking on pit saws.  (One man in a pit, the log over the pit and the second man on top of the log. A long saw blade with a handle each end held by each man and away we go!) After sawing into planks, timbers were again sawn and cleaved into shape.

In the early part of the 20th century as the business progressed, steam engines were hired to drive large circular saws which were employed to break down the logs. The business prospered.

By this time some of the machining was being carried out on a site at Red Shute Hill. A new steam engine had been purchased and a new sawmill was up and running. The business continued making gates, mending carts, wagons, fencing etc until war broke out.

Through the war ministry of works requirements controlled much of the business.

After the war the business continued with demands for, fences, building timber, furniture materials, coffins, bobbins, coach building, sports equipment, church repairs and of course the growing market for the motor industry.

The sawmill had been destroyed by fire in the late 50's and a new mill had been constructed. This mill was powered by electricity and was equipped with all the modern machinery. Trees were now felled with power chain saws, extracted with tractors, loaded with winches and rollers, transported all over the country. New markets were mainly found in the furniture and joinery industry, which combined with existing markets in fencing, gate manufacture, and the supply to railways, motor car industry, coach building, and mining industry.

In the 1970's Elm trees started to show signs of disease which gave cause for concern.

By the 1980's most the elm had gone and with greater controls on the felling of other hardwoods.

It had to be softwoods. Between the 1918 an 1939 some areas of the country, in particular Wales and Scotland, had planted trees in woodland that had been felled for the first world war. Similarly areas in England, Wales and Scotland had been planted after the 39/45 war. Some of these areas were now coming to commercial size timber ready for harvest. We decided to continue with saw milling of special products of non- standard hardwood sizes and investigate requirements for a new softwood mill. All of our machines were designed for large diameter trees and totally unsuitable for small diameter softwood production.

Our manufacturing continued and our saw milling continued until 1991 when a fire totally destroyed our sawmill and workshops.

We built new workshops and manufacture our gates and other products. The market has changed again and today we find that the private householder is keen to improve their gardens with, gates, fences, pergolas, decking and many other items. We still supply the local builders, farmers and estates with products not too dissimilar to those provided by Barlows 130 years ago.

In February 2000 Barlows branched out into Oxfordshire taking on the site of the former Blenheim Palace Sawmills, and have been trading successfully from this site ever since. Where the company ethos of quality product and service continues to attract new customers, and keep the existing customers supplied with all their needs. Whether it is, a complete garden makeover, oak beams for a barn conversion, decking, fencing or even a simple raised bed. Every customer is met with enthusiasm and a desire to meet our customers ever changing demands.

Barlows in the past

Barlows in the Past

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