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Leeds’ oldest removal firm celebrates 150th birthday

Aug 20, 2017
The oldest removal firm in Leeds is celebrating its 150th birthday – having helped more than half a million homeowners move into their new property.

Britannia Turnbulls launched as a family business - Turnbulls of Leeds - back in 1867. Over the course of its 150-year history, the company has moved over 500,000 households throughout the UK and internationally, transporting well over 20 million boxes and tea-chests full of precious belongings. 

A well-known head of the Turnbulls company in the 1960s was Mayor of Leeds Colonel Lawrence Turnbull, who had been awarded the Military Cross in World War Two and was also a local magistrate. Having quietly worked with celebrities and dignitaries across the Yorkshire region, the firm also famously moved Sir Edmund Hillary’s kit to the Himalayas during his first expedition to the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. 

The firm, which is a member of the British Association of Removers, has a fleet of 15 of iconic green trucks transporting property across the country. It has worked its way through more than 200 different removal vans over the past 15 decades, and travelled over 13 million miles on behalf of customers. It became part of the Britannia Group in 2014. 

Two of the current members of staff have worked at the firm for well over 20 years; Fay Chapman, Office Manager, and Martin Gardener, Senior Foreman. Fay commented, “There’s obviously been quite a lot of changes in the 27 years I’ve worked here, but I can’t even begin to imagine how much it’s changed since the 1860s! It’s amazing to think how many people we’ve helped settle into new homes in 150 years. Hopefully there’s been lots of happy homes and fond memories. As we know, moving day can be stressful, but we always aim to help make it as easy as possible for customers, even down to offering a full packing service for them if they want us to. Moving house is the start of a new adventure, and it’s a privilege to be part of that” 

Photo: Left to right: Fay Chapman, John Shaw, Simon Gill, and Tony Cade.

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