Dawsons Fuels - Fuelling the UK since 1895
March 4, 2020
Here is a bit of nostalgia, did you know that our history as coal merchants actually started way back in 1895? We have been a family run coal merchants for over 120 years. This is something we are quietly proud of because there won’t be many businesses around today that can make this claim. So you could say ‘we really do know our stuff’. The 5 generations of the Dawson family are shown below, from left to right there is William, John, Jack, Michael and finally Martyn and Peter.
We are still working from the same goods yard as our great-great grandfather, William Dawson, who started the whole legacy in the days of shovelling coal and using a horse and cart for deliveries. As time elapsed there came the introduction of mechanisation and motor vehicles making the loads easier to manage. Progress has brought us to where we are today after the launch in 2013 of our ecommerce site allowing us to partner with one of the UK’s largest pallet distributors to transport pallets around the UK and in some cases overseas.
We still have the original buildings from the days when our depot was the LMS Railway Station for Sedbergh, which sadly became a casualty of the Beeching cuts in the 1960s. Alongside our original station buildings we now have our modern storage warehouses. If you should ever visit our depot and look closely you will find a small section of railway track still showing in the ground.
Additionally, we have the genuine Pooley & Sons Heavy Goods Weighing Platform used in the days of the LMS Railway (picture shown above). If you have ever been to Beamish Open Air Museum, you will know they too have one. Today all our fuels are weighed using our modern digital scales but in the early days these giant railway scales were used regularly. This fantastic piece of engineering is still in good working order and is a constant reminder of our heritage.
Unlike the pallet loads we send out nationally, our local deliveries here in the market town of Sedbergh, the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales National Parks are mostly delivered by man power. We run our own sign written vehicles and deliver the coal in open 50kg sacks. Lifting the bags onto our backs and walking them to the coal houses and bunkers, just like our predecessors. Many of the coal houses, “bob holes” and coal sheds are exactly the same as they were 100 years ago. We still have to be as fit as our great-great grandfather and our great-grandad too, although we are often reminded that they would run rings around us if they were still here today.
Over the past ten years we have diversified our business to sell a much wider variety of products, including the crates of kiln dried logs and the wide variety of stove fuels that you can buy on the website.
Our heritage shows that every little idea can grow into something more if you work at it. Our great-great grandfather would be overwhelmed at the way we work today. We may be the same family 5 generations on but we like to feel that we have moved with the times, as well as remembering where our grounding and values are.
We are not a huge multi-national company, but we are large enough to pass on savings from our buying power. We only try to stock quality products and check all our orders before they leave our depot, unlike many of our competitors who use 3rd party warehousing often without seeing and checking the products they sell. You may also be surprised to know that there are vast differences in the quality of fuels available. We don't sell the cheaper lesser quality fuels.
We are simply a well-established family run business with a passion to provide nationally what we do locally in our home town of Sedbergh. When you place your order with us you are becoming part of our new legacy. The next chapter in the Dawsons story, one we hope that our children can improve on should they continue in our footsteps. Our aim is to provide high quality fuels with personal customer service from our home at the heart of the Howgill Fells to the homes of other families.