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Smiths started life as a clockmaker in London in 1780Our History

From 1780 to the present day

J. Smith & Sons (the company that became Smiths Metal Centres) was established in 1780 at a site in Clerkenwell, London.

The original business was clock making and J. Smiths & Sons became a very well renowned name as a supplier of all kinds clocks from large turret clocks for buildings such as churches to small decorative clocks for mantelpieces.

Over time the business developed various new skills and techniques and our clocks were recognised for their excellence at numerous trade exhibitions and export fairs. As a consequence the business grew quickly to become one of the major clock makers in the country but when war broke out at the start of the 20th century the demand for clocks, especially the large clocks the Smiths specialised in, declined dramatically.

Leading in raw materials

The manufacturing of clocks within the business had grown to such a level that we'd become a major player in the purchasing of raw materials from all over the world. We were able to successfully transform the business into a supplier of these raw materials to other manufacturing companies. Over time, the clock making side of the business declined and the last clock was made in 1938. Smiths was still a large successful business but instead of clock making it now focused all of its efforts on material stockholding and distribution.

Over the next few decades the business expanded rapidly and a network of service centres was opened starting with premises at Biggleswade and Horsham.

Our Company today...

Smiths is one of the UK's largest stockholders with 14 service centres in all corners of the country. With a turnover exceeding £60 million and stocks of over 3,000 tonnes, we've evolved to become as expert in raw material supply as we once were in clock manufacture.

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