Whittan is celebrating its 70th anniversary as a trusted supplier of storage products and solutions.
Whittan’s story – capturing 70 years of British design, manufacture and installation of pallet racking, shelving and lockers by one company – remains unique today. It was in 1951 that father and son James and Peter Kinnear established The Handy Angle Company at Brierley Hill in the heart of England’s industrial ‘Black Country’. They set up a small workshop with an original staff of six. From there, they started manufacturing a range of practical slotted steel angles.
The region was already considered influential in shaping trends and consumer tastes, and the company was well placed to tap into that growth. They developed a tensioning plate design which provided a stable and highly configurable storage system. Building on this innovation, the business grew to meet the increasing demand for improved, purpose-built storage equipment. In 1966, it changed its name to Link51, combining the year of incorporation and the word Link which described the various types of storage equipment and techniques grouped within one company. It has never looked back.
Throughout the seven decades, Whittan tracked the changing needs for storage while innovating and setting trends. Today it is the UK’s largest manufacturer and supplier of steel storage systems, recognised for their extensive range of solutions that expand capabilities with storage.
The backbone for many of the UK’s leading and household brands and organisations, Whittan’s solutions continue to meet the demand for rigorous and effective storage management for all types of industries and specifications. They are present in warehouses, retail, stores, offices and organisations across industries and sectors – from creating the space to store defence equipment on board a Royal Navy submarine; housing 13.5 million litres of Macallan single malt; protecting Stella McCartney’s couture archives; to providing secure storage lockers for offices, schools and gyms, or storing decades of film reel for the BFI.
Jon Templeman, Whittan CEO, commented on the achievement: “Not many businesses have the durability to last 70 years. Whittan and its predecessor businesses, Link51 and Apex, have demonstrated their resilience and ability to adapt to a changing market over the years.”
As the largest UK manufacturer, Whittan has been at the forefront of changes in the industry. It has also been influential in the development of industry standards, at SEMA in the UK and in Europe, where it has become an increasingly important player since its acquisition of the Permar (now Polypal) business in Spain.
Templeman added: “Our use of technology, and the knowledge and experience of our experts has enabled us to respond to the growing demand for inventive, automated solutions. We have also changed our customer service approach from being product-based to focusing on solutions for customer challenges. However, it has been the commitment and innovation of generations of Link51-Apex-Whittan staff that has enabled the business to thrive. I am confident that this dedication and success will continue.”
As Whittan celebrates seven decades of expanding storage capabilities and maximising opportunities with Link51, it brings an outstanding range of trusted storage brands. These include Link51 and Apex, providing design, manufacture and installation of racking and shelving products; HiStore, for mezzanine floors; market-leading display and storage solutions for retail sectors from Polypal UK and an extensive range of lockers and workplace products from Probe and Link Lockers.
Whittan products are part of the UK legacy showcasing quality in manufacturing. The company is committed to sustainability and is moving towards net-zero. All Whittan products are manufactured locally, keeping them close to installation sites. This cuts down on carbon emissions, delays, cancellations to orders and disruptions to timelines. It also maps against an extensive UK-wide network with experts to help with queries and handle simple to full turnkey environmentally-efficient installations.
In the tradition established in 1951 by James and Peter Kinnear, Whittan continues to bring the power of storage to help businesses large and small, across sectors, with a huge array of storage needs. Throughout, it makes space work harder by providing the most innovative, flexible and future-proof storage solution possible.