"The core commitments to quality and integrity are also evident in supplier and customer relationships, some of which go back over fifty years"Chris Briginshaw — Burdens' Marketing & Communications Director
WT Burden was established in Birmingham by Wilfred Thomas Burden in 1929. A small company specialising in the supply and distribution of civil engineering materials, the business commonly referred to as Burdens grew quite rapidly in the 1930s and by the outbreak of the Second World War had established a yard in Birmingham and offices in London and Bristol. Throughout the war years the company still managed to flourish.
Burdens were the first to stock clay drainage pipes with flexible mechanical joints introduced just after the Second World War. This innovative approach laid the foundations for the company to become the largest supplier of drainage products in the UK.
In the early days, Burdens were made up of two separate companies, WT Burden ( Midlands ) Ltd., and WT Burden ( Western ) Ltd., the latter operating in the South West of England and based in Bristol under the guidance of Managing Director Mr. Martin Burton until 1955 when it moved to nearby Keynsham. It then remained there as a trading location and administration base until 1998.
Wilfred Thomas Burden remained as Chairman until his death in 1984 when he was succeeded by his son, Arthur.
A line up of early company vehicles
Arthur Burden oversaw the merging of the two halves of the business, WT Burden ( Midlands) Ltd., and WT Burden ( Western ) Ltd., into one company, W T Burden Limited during the late 1970s with management re-centralised in Bristol under Alan Hampton as Managing Director. Under Alan and Arthur’s guidance the company survived the worst ravages of the late seventies and early nineties recessions, and the scene was set for dramatic further expansion.
The past 20 years could best be described as an expansive phase for Burdens. It made large investments in people, physical infrastructure, transport and IT systems. It now has a National Distribution network of 16 depots, and is in the top tier of its business class.
In keeping with the company’s innovative and expansive view to business, the core quality product range of clay, concrete, plastic and iron drainage products has been widened and now includes; pressure pipeline products, geotechnical products, ducting systems, hard landscaping, construction chemicals and street furniture.
Apart from the everyday uses of these products by Local Authorities, Civil Engineering Contractors, Construction Companies, Utilities, Specialist Sub-contractors and the like, the company has also been privileged to supply materials to many high profile and complex projects including the English Channel Tunnel, the Second Severn Crossing and the 2012 Olympic Games, where restrictive and sometimes tight overnight deliveries were the norm.
The company’s ability to customise solutions and trading styles has been recognised by many high profile organisations. Burdens' existing customer base includes national and regional civil engineering and construction companies, specialist sub-contractors, public and private utilities, local authorities and builders’ merchants.