Linfords expand into North West with purchase of S & J Whitehead

The Linford Group, based in Lichfield, Staffordshire, have expanded in the North West with the purchase of S&J Whitehead.

The move follows the opening of a branch by Linfords, the parent of stone and conservation specialists Linford-Bridgeman, in Wales. The branch there is called Linford-Bridgeman (Wales) Ltd.

Opening in Wales made the purchase of Whiteheads, in Oldham, a particularly good fit, says chairman David Linford. Whiteheads will retain their existing 70 employees and will continue to trade under their own name.

Whiteheads, established in 1872, a decade before the now much larger Linford Group, were acquired by Dew Pitchmastic in 1996.

David Linford said he had not been looking at expansion in the North West, it was just an opportunity that arose. If we were looking anywhere we were looking to the south, he says, adding that he would still like a presence somewhere along the M4.

Nevertheless, he was pleased that the opportunity to buy Whiteheads had arisen. They are a strongly skilled, highly respected stonework company that we feel will fit well into our trading philosophy.

Linfords had been approached by Dew Pitchmastic to buy Whiteheads and negotiations had been continuing since Christmas.

Hugh Grayson, chairman of Dew Pitchmastic, said they had selected Linford as potential purchasers of Whitehead because both companies had similar attitudes to heritage restoration.

It was important to Dew Pitchmastic for us to select a buyer who would find similar favour with our customers and with our workforce.

Linfords are extremely highly regarded in the industry and they share the same beliefs regarding investment in skills. People will be well looked after.

He said Dew would be happy to team up with Linford when work involved an element of restoration. The alliance with Linfords means that we can call upon them over a much wider geographical area than S&J Whitehead could ever cover.

LONG SERVICE. David Linford (centre), executive chairman of the Linford Group, has presented long service awards to two of the group\'s employees. Master Carver (in both stone and wood) Michael Painter (right), who was recently made a Freeman of Lichfield, where he lives and Linfords are based, has been with the company for 25 years while Alan Silvester has retired after 33 years, lately as an estimator in the repair and restoration division.