Hick, Hargreaves and Company Limited

Originally formed by Benjamin Hick in partnership with his sons, John and Benjamin, and called, for some time, Benjamin Hick and Sons. The elder Benjamin Hick died in 1842, at which point John entered partnership with William Hargreaves (the younger Benjamin had left earlier). John Hick retired in 1868 but the company retained its name under new directorship and gained limited liability under the name Hick, Hargreaves and Company in 1889.

In 1968 the company was acquired by Electrical and Industrial Securities Ltd (EIS) and continued to trade as general engineers and in particular the manufacture of condensing plant, feed heating system, rotary compressors and vacuum pumps, condensers and high vacuum plants for industrial purposes during the 1970s. The increased exploration for oil in the North Sea and the modernising of power station equipment saw the company’s fortunes improve due to the demand for high vacuum pumps. The company invested in new machine tools and as a result gained important orders from Japan along with important contracts for water flood equipment for the North Sea Oil Fields and for central vacuum plant for nuclear power stations.

The difficult trading conditions in the 1990s brought about the decision to close the Soho Works and restructure the UK business after a significant financial loss in 1999. A cash offer from BOC Netherlands Holding Limited was accepted in 2001 against the background of continuing losses for the company. In 2002, after the company had been sold to BOC Limited the directors took the view that an orderly run down of the affairs of the company was in order. Since 2003 the company has not traded and has acted as a name protection for Hick Hargreaves.