Gill & Robinson Ltd

TIMBER AGENTS since 1889

Gill & Robinson Ltd

TIMBER AGENTS since 1889

We facilitate the supply of high quality timber products from our suppliers in Europe and further afield to UK importers, merchants and large manufacturers.

 


Agent, Friend and Banker

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This is how the Timber Trades Journal described Gill & Robinson on the occasion of our Centenary in 1989. In the years since then we habe maintained and developed our role as one of the leading UK softwood timber agents and havew also diversified into distributing Swedish Timber from a UK terminal. As the structure of the UK Timber Trade has changed over the years, our customer base has also changed with an ever increasing volume of sales going to importing manufactures and larger end users.

Gill & Robinson have a network of offices throughout the country providing truly national sales coverage throughout the UK and Ireland. Our Head Office is in the North of England in Newcastle upon Tyne, from there we look after sales to the North of England and Scotland and carry out all the financial and administrative duties of the business. Our sales branches are located in the South East and North West of England and in Yorkshire. These offices are staffed by highly experienced personnel with unrivalled local knowledge of the importing trade in their areas.

We provide our overseas principals with a full del credere agency service and give them balanced market information on the UK Imported Softwood trade. We are active members of the Timber Trade Federation and the regional Timber Trade Associations throughout the UK, with many of our sales team participating in the running of these organisations.

On November 6th 2012 contracts were completed for the sale of Gill & Robinson to the German timber agent Kullik & Rullmann AG. We expect that, with the assistance of the Kullik & Rullmann UK sales team, we will be able to increase our sales for our shippers both in the UK and abroad as well as providing our customers with new products.

In 1889 Harry H. Gill (1865-1923) founded the company in Newcastle upon Tyne. His philosophy was “to cultivate a high class trade who preferred quality to quantity”.

He was soon joined by his younger brother Stanley Gill who spent two years in Sweden learning the language and everything about sawmilling. Copies of early contracts show that trade was soon established throughout the UK in a wide range of timbers from the Nordic countries and also show that the company was heavily involved in the supply of timber to the coal mining industry.

In 1923 Frank Leake (1888-1965) joined the board of Harry H Gill & Bro, becoming Managing Director in 1948. He brought with him years of experience of trading in Scandinavia and went on to hold high office in many Timber Trade Associations.

In 1935 James (Jim) Robinson (1915-1984) Frank Leake’s nephew and father of Ian Robinson the current Managing Director, joined the company. He travelled extensively in Sweden and Finland becoming fluent in both languages, even broadcasting in Finnish on the BBC European Service. In 1940 he was British Vice Consul in Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland before returning to the UK to take up office with Timber Control. He rejoined the company in 1951.

1938 saw Stanley H. Gill (1921-2003) nephew of the original Stanley Gill, join the company. After a distinguished war career, he travelled in Sweden and Finland in the immediate post war years learning the trade. In 1965 he formed a partnership with Jim Robinson. He became a respected Arbitrator and remained a consultant to the current G&R team long after his retirement in 1984.

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Gill & Robinson Ltd recognise our responsibility to the environment, our customers, overseas principals and staff to base our commercial activities on well managed forests.

We are committed to sourcing all the timber and timber products in which we trade from legal and sustainable sources and will not source or supply any timber species prohibited by Appendix 1 of CITES.

We are signatories to the Timber Trade Federation

“Gill & Robinson’s traditional supply base has always been Sweden, Finland and Norway and up to the 1980’s these were our only sources of supply. As new markets opened up we decided to investigate their potential for our customers. This required extensive market research and although this was time consuming, we were always cautious not to neglect our core Nordic sources of supply. In the late 1980’s we developed a very successful partner in Eastern Canada which lasted until the plant health problem of the early 1990’s. At that time the Baltic States were opening up and after diligent research we are now dealing with reliable Shippers from Latvia and Estonia. Germany is now a serious supplier to the UK market, not only for the traditional large sections and scaffold boards but increasingly for kiln dried and graded carcassing mainly in long lengths. To complete our portfolio, we source timber from Chile, Ireland and Portugal. We are also agents for manufacturers of laminated boards in Holland and Sweden. During the recent difficult trading period our Swedish terminal operation proved a great benefit to our buyers.

At the time of our Centenary in 1989, Canada was an emerging market with huge potential but now its export to the UK is almost zero. Sources of supply come and go for a number of different reasons but we at Gill & Robinson will always investigate their potential for the benefit of our customers.”