Armitage's Pennine Garden Centre
Business Address: Armitage's Pennine Garden Centre, Huddersfield Road, Shelley, Huddersfield HD8 8LF
About Armitage's Pennine Garden Centre
Armitage’s Garden Centres is a long established family business founded in Huddersfield in 1842.
For those who wonder how the business has evolved since its conception, we hope you find the following an interesting insight into the history of Armitage’s.
William Armitage founded what was to become Armitage’s Garden Centre in 1842, initially as a seeds man in the Beast Market in Huddersfield. Business soon took off and a few years later, William relocated the business to New Street, one of the busiest streets in Huddersfield where the business remained for more than a hundred years.
William Armitage’s Corn and Seed Warehouse become renowned in the Huddersfield area, and surviving catalogues note the shop sold four different varieties of endive and thirty-seven different types of herb, far more than our modern supermarkets. At the time seeds were all sold in Imperial measures, such as pints, half pints and quarts, and these measures still survive today and are regarded by the Armitage family as part of the firm’s proud history. Some of these measures and other artefacts of that time are on display at ‘The Old Shop Café’ at our Birchencliffe Garden Centre.
When William Armitage died, aged 68, his son Bell took over the business. In turn, Bell’s sons, Bell and Tom, joined the family business, and Bell’s son – a third Bell – also went on to join the firm, cementing Armitage’s reputation as a family business.
Many changes occurred at Armitage’s during the two World Wars and Armitage’s employed female shop workers for the first time while much of the male workforce went off to fight. This led to the weights of the corn and seed bags being halved to allow the women to carry them more easily, and these small weights survive today. Armitage and Sons survived both wars unscathed, and the company continued to prosper.
By 1963 the New Street site became too small for all the stock and equipment and so Quinton and Alistair Armitage, William’s two great great grandsons who now run the business, began to look for larger premises. They found a new site on Lord Street and used the move to expand their range and offer garden furniture as well as installing a workshop for garden machinery sales and repair. The garden machinery centre was so popular that, thirteen years later, it expanded into new premises, which included both a showroom and a workshop on Old Leeds Road.
When Pennine Garden Centre in Shelley came on the market in 1985, Armitage’s saw the opportunities to move out of the town centre and so vacated the Lord Street site for these new spacious premises. By the early 1990s the Old Leeds Road site was also becoming too small, and the company acquired a run down nursery in Birchencliffe, where the emphasis was on garden machinery with a garden centre attached. Armitage’s now has centres at both ends of Huddersfield, meaning their services are available to the whole of Yorkshire. In 2005, the garden machinery centre relocated to a new site in Lindley, and was renamed “Mower World” to distinguish it from Armitage’s garden centres in Birchencliffe and Shelley. In early 2007, Armitage's Mower World & Service Centre then moved to a more central location on the Ringway Industrial Estate near Huddersfield town centre. 2009 saw a new chapter in Armitage's story with the management buyout of Mower World by current manager Glyn Allen. This business now moves forward under the expertise of Glyn and his team as Yorkshire Mower World.
Armitage’s is still run as a family business, with the emphasis on employing staff that are passionate and enthusiastic about their work. The success of the business seems to be down to the enterprising nature of the Armitage family as well as their commitment to their business, which has seen them adapt their company to the changing market, and which should hopefully see them remain in Huddersfield for some time yet!