100 years of moving Yorkshire

May 18 | 2023

One of the most recognised moving companies in the UK has been sold out of the family that started it so long ago. This story looks at its history, and some of the fortunes and disasters that it experienced along the way.

In its 100th year, Kidds (T Kidd & Son Ltd) in Yorkshire has been sold to Duggleby Holdings. It’s a group with two auction houses, a self storage operation and moving company with its own palletised warehouse, with locations in Yorkshire at Scarborough, Thorp Arch near Wetherby, York, Beverley and Hornsea. The sale marks the end of a long and successful history for the company.

Tom Kidd, the founder, was a horse and cart operator in Bridlington, East Yorkshire. He also bought and sold small properties. His neighbours, the Tanton brothers, also operated a horse and cart service carrying furniture. As business became more profitable they decided to buy a flat back lorry with a lift van, which was very impressive by the standards of the day.  Alas on receipt of this expensive investment business took a dive, as so often happens with the economy, and one of the brothers later died. Tom Kidd, the neighbour, who often helped out the brothers, decided to but the impressive vehicle and start operating a removal service himself.

Tom Kidd later went off to World War 1, returning injured due to being gassed in the trenches. His son, Albert, helped him build up the business, providing also a storage service. Later, Albert joined the Paratroopers and served in World War 2. He was badly injured at the Battle of Arnhem, losing part of one lung.  Although he was 70% disabled, he returned to assist his father running the business. Upon the death of his father, Albert took full control, opening an office and warehouse in the centre of Bridlington.  He later bought a 4-bedroomed house with an acre of land. Using a rope tied to the rear axle of a removal van, he and his men demolished the house and together with tons of rubble built a concrete platform across the site, onto which he built 60 lock-up garages.  He had read about these being developed in America. This would be in the mid-1950s, so even then self storage was alive and kicking.

In the mid-1960s Albert was joined by his eldest son, Trevor, as a trainee porter.  Within 6 months Trevor was on the front page of most national newspapers and on TV for stopping three escaped prisoners.  They had stolen a vehicle and were being pursued by the police. 

Trevor Kidd, Philip Kidd, John Sanderson and Frank Rose

On the outskirts of Bridlington is father had built a warehouse, fronting the site was a traffic island. As the escapees hit the island at 50 mph they mounted the pavement, knocking Trevor down who had been to the shops for the men’s tea break. Although they ran straight into Trevor, trying to avoid him they crashed the stolen vehicle. When the police arrived on the scene they threw a tarpaulin over Trevor, assuming he was dead and went after the escapees. Trevor however wasn’t dead and a passing doctor saved his life. Three years later he was back working.

Albert Kidd’s health was deteriorating and in the mid-1970s he sold 75% of the share of the company. Approximately two years later he died.  By now he had three sons working the business. Some 7 years later, Trevor, together with his youngest brother Haydn, set up their own moving and storage business, which also did carpet cleaning. The family still owned the town centre warehouse and office, which was sold three years later as part of a town centre shopping development. With the proceeds, the brothers undertook over ten property transactions, expanding their premises to a larger, edge of town site. 

Their next step was to repurchase the 75% share holding their father sold in T Kidd & Son Ltd which enabled the brothers to add to the land holding they had built up. Their later father’s warehouse was owned by T Kidd & Son Ltd and so the brothers reacquired the warehouse to add to their development. They looked at various options as a next move, even to develop a commercial rail hub. By chance they were talking to a property developer who suggested B&Q should be approached, which they did.  Within three years B&Q was built and opened for business. One of the first in Yorkshire.

At this point Haydn, the youngest brother, left the business to pursue his own ideas, leaving Trevor to run the business. Philip, the other brother, joined the business, which made that so much easier, leaving Trevor to concentrate on the property side.

A further site, opposite B&Q, was purchased from the Council, comprising three acres.  Within four weeks of the purchase Safeway supermarket were, with Trevor, speaking to the Planners about building a supermarket. This was too good to be true.  It took seven years, including running a week-long Planning Appeal, to secure a planning consent.  By then Safeway had moved to developing another site. The outcome was an Aldi, McDonald’s Drive-Through, Currys, and Farmfoods stores. The site is still successfully trading.

By now T Kidd & Son Ltd was operating with 60 staff, as a removal business, also a maintenance garage servicing a car transporter fleet for a national company with a local depot.

Unfortunately, one evening in September 1996 Trevor was driving out of Bridlington and was involved in another accident, running under a farm trailer which was blocking the road. His heavy-duty car saved him from going all the way under and being decapitated.  A police car happened to be following Trevor in a smaller car, who confirmed it would have been a fatality if they had hit the trailer first. Trevor took some time to recover and it was decided that Philip should take control of the business, at which point Trevor sold the majority of his shares to his brother.

Trevor moved to York and as he recovered started to deal in apartments in the city, which was a new development there.  Philip moved the business to Hornsea to be nearer the port of Hull and its surrounding areas. Here the company built a Training Department in the warehouse, and became one of the first BAR training depots, working closely with the then Director of Training at the BAR, Mike Price, sadly deceased.

Having one of its directors on the Board of the Humberside Training and Enterprise Council (TEC), Kidds played a prominent part in developing the concept ‘Investors in People’. Kidds was the first transport company to sign up to the concept.

The next major development was the purchase of Sandersons of Boston Spa, an old established company started by John Sanderson in 1947. This operated in the Yorkshire Golden Triangle of York, Harrogate and North Leeds.  Trevor, by now living in Harrogate and fully recovered from his injuries, was keen to help on a part-time basis, as he still does to this day. 

2022 marked 100 years since the brothers’ grandfather, Tom Kidd, started the moving business, and it is a delight to everyone that the business, together with Sandersons, is part of Duggleby Holdings.

Philip is content splitting his time between Bridlington, his canal boat in The Midlands and with his wife’s family in the Far East.

Trevor, at 75, is getting married this spring (for the first time), to a lady he took out 37 years ago. Having a career in banking and administration, she will keep him on the straight and narrow as he contemplates the sale of a 5-acre site with planning for 60 houses, the plan being for one of the roads­­ to be name Albert Kidd Drive.