During the Blitz, the German Air Force dropped 45,000 bombs on London, and after the war Frank oversaw the construction of the city’s largest underground bomb shelter.
In 1942, he was featured on the front page of the City Press, praising the workers who built it for their “inexhaustible energy and patience, as well as a keen sense of humour and faith in human nature.”
Beating the bombs
However, Brundle didn’t escape the war unscathed – during one late-night raid, a German bomber scored a direct hit on Brundle HQ.
That could’ve been devastating – even spelled the end of the business. But the Brundles’ years of generosity paid off.
In a huge testament to the fondness many in the sector had for Frank and Frederick before him, a number of key competitors banded together to help him re-establish himself in the months that followed, even letting him use space in their premises.
With their help, F.H. Brundle survived the War. But its next adversary was one it was never going to beat – progress.
Changing with the times
By the ‘50s, the company has become one of the leading suppliers of steel products to the city’s farriers – the people who would fit horseshoes to horses’ feet.
But the number of horses on London’s streets was in drastic decline. When reliable sources of custom like the city’s milkmen started to swap their carts for motorised vehicles, the company knew it had to diversify.
But while that was a big blow at the time, it was that need to adapt that set F.H. Brundle on the trajectory that made it what it is today – market-leading trade suppliers of steel sections, handrailing and fencing with a vast, comprehensive range.
It also continued a company tradition of seeing challenges as opportunities.
Decades later in 2007 – by which stage the company was helmed by my father Richard and I – we received a letter.
The good news was that London had just won its bid to host the 2012 Olympics. The bad news was they wanted to put the Olympic Park right where F.H. Brundle HQ was.
That meant the 3rd move in a 118 years for the company – to their biggest premises yet, in Rainham, Essex.
A proud legacy
It’s here – a large site in Rainham in Essex – that F.H. Brundle has grown to become Britain’s biggest suppliers of mesh, wrought iron components, gate hardware and innovative fencing and handrailing solutions.
Today, we stock over nine thousand products, encompassing everything from wire mesh and railheads to decking and high-end balustrades, spread across six locations that total 500,000 square feet – all supplied from a distribution hub in the Midlands.
A fleet of over 70 F.H. Brundle-branded vehicles move that stock around the country, and all deliveries over £150 are totally free.
It’s those resources, and the sheer scale of that offering, that ranks F.H. Brundle among the best businesses of its kind – but it’s the friendly, dedicated, good old-fashioned service that makes it one that tens of thousands of customers around the country genuinely enjoy dealing with. I hope it’d make my great-grandfather proud.