I thought I’d have a little natter with Michael, Managing Director of Bates, about how and when the Bates dream began and this is what I found out…
When did Bates start trading? 1940
How many staff were there? 2
Where were their first offices? In the heart of the City of London
Who was the founder? George Henry Bates
What was the Bates business originally? A typewriter repair business
Who was their first client? Winston Churchill’s Government
How did Bates move forward? George Henry Bates was an invalid and couldn’t fight in the second world war. War-torn London was desperate for typewriter engineers and GH Bates Typewriters was founded. In the 1950’s my father, Peter Edmonds, joined as an apprentice and George Henry hung up his screwdrivers in 1962 and it was left to my father to keep the business going.
When did it start to evolve into what it is now? The 1980’s saw the demise of the typewriter but along came the thermal paper roll fax machine! The market was evolving at a very fast pace and the business set up an office products division (me!). There was a management buyout in 1997 by myself, Jacki (Finance Director) and Spencer (Executive Director).
How old were you when you first got involved in Bates, and why did you get involved? I joined the family business 31 years ago straight from school and why did I get involved? Well, every day I keep asking myself that question! “Work hard, my boy, and you will be successful” was my grandfather’s childhood advice to me. Seriously, it’s the people you meet along the way and knowing that we are true solution providers.
How many staff and offices are there now? We have approximately 130 dedicated and loyal staff that operate from our 5 hubs across the UK.
What is your dream for the future of Bates? That may seem like a straightforward question on the surface but one I always struggle answering. You know, I don’t have a specific plan in relation to turnover, GP or locations as each year so much can change.