TUE 30TH MAY 2017

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Bringing the family business community together

Passmore of Colchester

Business Address: Passmore of Colchester, 42b High Street, West Mersea, Colchester, Essex CO5 8QA

Country: England,

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About Passmore of Colchester

A family business specialising in marine upholstery.

Retailing soft furnishings was the mainstay of the firm when it began, including the specialist in-house making of curtains and loose covers. A second outlet was opened in Ipswich in 1964 and managed by a spouse, but their ill health forced its closure in 1973.

During this latter period, a son was being groomed to take over the Colchester premises on the retirement of the two managing family elders then incumbent. This young man was already very familiar with the business, regularly helping out.

His apprenticeship commenced significantly, with a placement in the furnishing department of London’s most famous store, Harrods, in Knightsbridge. The furnishing buyer there had been a contemporary from those days in Bermondsey.

This young, second generation Passmore principal-to-be in fact carried the business forward for the next thirty years or so, and was eventually responsible for the transition of the firm from retail to manufacture after the compulsory purchase of the Passmore Colchester town-centre premises, due to a major town redevelopment.

A new retail outlet was acquired close-in to the town and, in 1978, lease-hold workshops were also procured at West Mersea, on the island of Mersea, south of Colchester. This facility was essential to the servicing of the upholstery work being undertaken for the emerging yacht building company Oyster Marine – destined to become the U.K.’s foremost producer of World class sailing yachts.

Twenty years on, and Passmore had furnished every complete yard-built Oyster yacht manufactured, including those built in Wroxham, Rochester and Falmouth. Other commissions included many Steven Jones's Hustler designs, a considerable number of privately built one-off sailing and motor yachts, and a plethora of refurbishments. Oyster Marine’s own success was recognised by a Queen’s Award to Industry.

Eventually purchasing their own freehold workshops, Passmore continued to furnish Oyster yachts to the present day, and, with the introduction of a third generation son to the business on the Millennium, the last ten years have seen further improvements to our services.

Oyster Marine’s own expansion, over this period, required that we develop our capacity to cope with their additional production in Southampton, not to mention their New Zealand built boats brought to the U.K. for the European market. We were proud to have again been there when Oyster received their second Queen’s Award.

Passmore has been proud too, in recent years, to have furnished many of the beautifully finished wooden Spirit yachts a wonderful diversion from the more usual composite construction of most 21st. Century craft. There is no doubt that Eastern England has a notable history of fine boat-building, which continues to this very day.

New ideas, brought to the Firm by the injection of the third engenderment of family enthusiasm, have resulted in a marked uplift of the Firm’s activities and capabilities, with consequential plans already on the table for the next ten years. In the foreseeable future, we will continue to provide our clients with the same personal, quality and value-for-money service that we believe we have achieved since Passmore’s inception more than fifty years ago.