No sitting on the fence at Jacksons as firm celebrates 65th anniversary
Richard Jackson, managing
director of Jacksons Fencing
Sixty five years ago, father and son Harry and Ian Jackson left
war-scarred London for farming life in the less ravaged Garden of
But before they could do much work on their 120 acres, they
purchased fencing stakes. Ian and former Times typesetter Harry
were surprised to find that neighbours were asking them if the
stakes were for sale.
Their future direction was set. They went from farming to
fencing, although Ian also came up with an innovative “quadrapod”
for stacking hay.
Ian’s son Richard was born in 1955 when the fencing business was
already well established, supplying principally to the agricultural
and equestrian sectors. “We fell into fencing by mistake,” he says.
In 1970, the business moved into the residential market. In time,
Richard became CEO and chairman.
Workforce numbers grew from four to 250 today, some 200 at the
firm’s HQ in Stowting.
It is now a national business, using mainly chestnut from
coppiced Forestry Commission sites, and softwood pine, but also
metal for security purposes.
Around 8% of the firm’s £24m turnover is generated overseas.
The firm continued to train and market during the downturn and
the gamble has paid off with steady growth. “We took a hit in
recession as everyone did but we’re back to pre-recession levels,“
says Mr Jackson. “A number of fencing companies have ceased trading
and we’re getting an element of work from them. Part of our
philosophy is to continue to give exceptional customer
Mr Jackson, who left school at 16 and was destined to follow in
the family’s fencing footsteps, is expecting organic growth, with
perhaps some from of acquisition.
The 20-acre site could accommodate another 40 to 50 staff.
Despite the housing downturn, homeowners are improving their
properties and offering further business opportunities.
Jacksons has become one of the biggest fencing firms in the UK –
around 11th or 12th.
He loves the sector. “Every day is different. It gives me a buzz
- there’s always something to do.”
The government has made £5.5m of interest-free loans available to small firms, which MP Greg Clark calls "a great boost for business in west Kent".
A 318-tonne transformer - the length of six double decker buses - is still at Dover Docks, after a major operation to drive it through Kent stalled.
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