Stately Albion Homes
Stately-Albion grew out of a company called Premier Caravans, situated near Bristol, which produced holiday homes, mobile homes and touring caravans. In 1963 that company was sold to Bluebird who decided to discontinue production of the Premier range. In the same year, four of the men who had worked on the shop floor at Premier rented a farm building a few miles away and constructed a 30ft mobile home. Those four men were brothers Roy and Alan Hurd, John Whitehouse and Ken Rugman. The new company was called Stately Caravans – no one can recall exactly why the name Stately was chosen, although the ability to manufacture models named after well-known stately homes has subsequently proved to be of enormous marketing value.
By 1964, Stately had already outgrown its premises and moved to Pucklechurch, on the outskirts of Bristol. By 1966 the Pucklechurch factory had become too small, so a larger site was sought and the Company purchased the land to construct a factory on a new industrial development at The Prince of Wales Industrial Estate, Abercarn, South Wales, where it has remained to this day. The estate is built on the site of The Prince of Wales Colliery, which was the scene of an infamous and major mining disaster in 1878. When the new factory was commissioned in 1968, the Company and directors (and some employees) moved en bloc to Wales.
During the Company’s existence, the staple product has moved away from the original ‘caravan’ style to the luxuriously bespoke range of ‘bungalows’ produced today. Stately-Albion homes embody features that aim to provide the same comforts as traditional housing, while retaining the capability of easy relocation.
In the 1970s the Company name changed to Stately-Albion, to emphasise its British origins during a period of increasing involvement in exporting to Europe. During the savage economic recession of the early 90s, Stately not only survived, but actually grew; a testament to not only a bold management strategy but also a skilful, loyal and dedicated workforce, which proved itself both resourceful and adaptable at a trying time. The Company again adopted a bold marketing stance to face the recession in the first decade of this century head-on, with similar positive results.
In the village of Abercarn, Stately-Albion is easily the largest employer, so unsurprisingly many of the employees are related to each other. Adding to the family atmosphere is the fact that a significant number of employees have been with Stately for 25 years or more.
The Company celebrated its Golden Anniversary in 2013 and prides itself on being ‘a family firm’.