Current premises at Colwick.

 

B. HAGUE the COMPANY

Established in 1860, B. Hague & Co. Ltd. are precision engineers manufacturing and supplying a variety of products to the trade and direct to the end user. Although trading under the name of Hague the company is owned and run by two brothers, John and Robert Scotton, who are the 4th. generation of Scotton's to be involved in the company. Over the years B. Hague & Company has had to adapt to the changing trading conditions, so from the early days of making parts for hosiery machines, Hague now make industrial and home linking machines, yarn winders, plus many other aids for the machine knitter. They have also diversified into the manufacture of camera grip equipment as well as being kept busy with general engineering work.

 

HAGUE CAMERA SUPPORTS

It was in 1994 that Hague first started manufacturing camera grip equipment. Robert Scotton had been a keen amateur moviemaker for quite a few years and wanted to get some smooth camera movement into his movies, just like the professionals do. He looked into purchasing a Jib and Tracking Dolly, but could not believe the price some manufacturers were charging for this type of equipment and soon decided we could produce similar products at a much lower cost. Our first Jib was designed for lightweight camcorders to support a maximum weight of 6kg. Originally our products were aimed at the enthusiastic amateur moviemaker since Robert, as a member of his local video club and of the IAC ( www.theiac.org.uk ), thought this would be an ideal market. Following a review of the Jib in Camcorder User, August 1994, in which it received 95% Gold award, we found the majority of our enquiries came from corporate and professional users who were using heavier full size camcorders, so a Pro-Jib to support heavier camcorders up to 14kg. was introduced. Since then we have increased our range of grip equipment for both the professional and amateur user. In recent years we have supplied many Colleges, Universities, the BBC, Independent TV companies, Hospitals and Police forces with our camera grip equipment.

   

The Story of B. Hague & Co. Ltd.

Workforce circa. 1880

ESTABLISHED 1860 

Early in the reign of Queen Victoria, in a small workroom on the ground floor of a factory in Roden Street, Nottingham, Mr. Hague and his son Ben started a small engineering firm manufacturing parts for hosiery machines. They were then joined by 2 apprentices, Harry Shardlow & George Scotton, and in 1860 a small circular stitching machine was invented. This had protruding needles and its purpose was to join the welt (top part) of a stocking to the knitted part of the leg, later to be called a linking machine.

1898 BEN HAGUE DIES

On February 4th 1866 the first linking machine was installed at a Nottingham factory and by 1880, 400 machines had been sold. By now Mr. Hague had left the firm and his son Ben had married Jane, a sister of Harry Shardlow, thus making it a small family business. Unfortunately Ben died in March 1898 at the age of 52.

Mr Harry Shardlow and Mr George Scotton now purchased the business, but kept the name B.Hague & Co.

NEW FACTORY

In 1895 Harry's son Frank Shardlow joined the firm and in 1901 George's son George Scotton also joined the family business and another new machine was invented, called a "Topper Linker".

By now trade was good and in 1915 the business moved to a purpose built factory on Poplar Street and Frank Shardlow brought his son Harry into the business.

LIMITED COMPANY

In 1918 Harry Shardlow senior retired and on 26th November 1918 the business became a limited company. In 1925 George Scotton senior retired after 50 years service.

The main trade at this time was from Leicester and Hinckley, but quite a number of machines were exported to many parts of the world. During the late 20's and early 1930's trade was poor owing to strikes, lock- outs and the depression, at one period the faithful hand-barrow had to be sold to show a profit on the balance sheet!.

SECOND WORLD WAR

Then came the second World War 1939-45, and the manufacture of Linking machines came practically to a standstill. Only odd ones were made when a licence had been granted.  Most of the men were re-directed to firms working on munitions or aircraft. In 1945 Mr Frank Shardlow retired after serving over 50 years with the firm. By this time several of the employees had served fifty or more years with the firm.

In 1946 Mr Jack Scotton was brought into the business, this being the third generation of the Scotton's.

In 1948, the topping machine was reconstructed to stitch on elastic for use in the manufacture of surgical hosiery, and was on similar lines to the machine built many years ago.

SCOTTISH KNITWEAR

The outwear trade in Hawick and other parts of Scotland was beginning to boom, so most of the trade went north. The majority of machines supplied to the Scottish manufacturers were fitted with automatic tension. Many machines by now were being sent back to the firm for renovation and change of gauge, so trade was good after the war.

In 1955 Mr. George Scotton retired after working 54 years, the longest service with the firm up to the present date.

NEW PLANT

New plant was now being installed to replace the old and keep up with modern times. In 1957 large 14"Steady Dial Linkers were introduced and with modifications the old type of linker could be converted; also footpedal attachments were being fitted so that one could start and stop the machine by foot, leaving the operator's hand free to work the machine.

     

Jack Scotton working on a linking machine in the late '50s. Centenary celebrations 1960

In 1964 Mr. John Scotton, followed by his brother Mr. Robert Scotton in 1965, joined the company, this being the forth generation of Scotton's.

1969 saw the retirement of Harry Shardlow, although he remained a share holder in the company until 1970, when Mr. Jack Scotton bought his shares making the Scotton's the sole owners of the company.

The knitting recession from 1971 saw sales fall and the company had to trade on more general engineering to survive.

MOVES OUT OF CITY

In 1976 the company moved out of the city to a new factory at Colwick where the main business continued to be engineering as well as Linking machines. Although a new pedestal linker was introduced sales of linkers were in decline.

Following an accident in 1977 Mr. Jack Scotton passed on the running of the business to his sons. He retired in 1980 but continued to work part time until his death in 1988.

HOME KNITTING

In 1981 there was a boom in home knitting and a new hand linker was designed by Robert Scotton for the domestic market and exhibited at a knitting exhibition in Portsmouth where it attracted great interest. Sales of this machine exceeded all expectations and the company had difficulty meeting demand. An electric version was introduced in 1987 and an updated version appeared in February 1990. Sales peeked at the end of 1990 as home knitting started to decline. These machines are still being sold worldwide with sales exceeding 100,000 machines.

1990 also saw the introduction of a new low cost commercial linker to bridge the gap between the domestic and industrial machines.

NEW PRODUCTS

In 1994 the company diversified into the manufacture of camera support systems producing a range of dollies, jibs and cranes aimed at both the amateur and professional moviemaker. By 1999 the range included camcorder stabilizers, plus other camera mounts and grip equipment.

In 1996 the company took over the manufacture of PDB Electric Yarn Winders from PDB Engineering and in August 1999 it bought the tooling to re-introduce Tricot Products which had been out of production for several years.

 

May 2003

B. Hague & Co. Ltd.

Mile End Road, Colwick, Nottingham. NG4 2DW

Phone:  +44 (0)115 987 0031    Fax:  +44 (0)115 987 2900    E-mail:  info@b-hague.co.uk

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