Today we live in a much changing and fast paced world, yet more and more of us are beginning to think about how we can conserve our environment and the wildlife around us. However, this philosophy is not new to Bamford’s and has in fact been at the top of our agenda for almost 100 years and continues to be passed down the generations.
Robert Bamford, founder of the company, was born in 1883 in Bretherton, Lancashire and worked in the neighbouring village of Croston, where he met his wife Mary. Robert and Mary had two children; Ronald born 1923 and Eric born 1929.
Robert started his career as a weaver at the local Cotton Mill, from which he took a six year cessation to serve in the army during the First World War. By the 1930’s Robert had moved on to buying, selling and milling corn. He formed great relationships with local farmers through loaning out agricultural equipment and helping out with labour during harvest times. Robert’s sons, Ronald and Eric soon joined the business along with their wives as it flourished into the 1950’s, with staff number increasing to 20.
Growth was halted in the 1960’s due to an unfortunate outbreak of Fowl Pest. Staff levels dropped back to the original 6 family members as the business suffered. The family had to work incredibly hard to get through this difficult period and slowly managed to get the business back on its feet. Their determination and hard work paid off over the years and was back on track with sales exceeding expected levels.
In 1995 the vast progression led to the move from the remote Bretherton site to its current, much larger home, Globe Mill at Midge Hall. The move gave the Bamford family the opportunity to increase investment in people and seed production machinery. Bird food mixtures and manufacturing soon developed at a larger scale, helping the company to achieve continued growth and advance the business further.
By the year 2000, sales were increasing annually allowing Ronald and Eric to invest in associate brands, including the acquisition of the popular ‘Top Flight’ trading name and product range from Spillers, along with an extensive customer base, which offered a flying start to our nationwide customer market.
We have maintained our traditionally close links with the local farming community through the decades and we continue to source our ingredients from growers in our local area wherever possible, which also helps to reduce our carbon footprint and limit “food miles”.
We encourage local farmers to operate eco-sympathetic practices, such as keeping winter stubble so birds can forage in the fields during months when natural food is scarce. Additionally, leaving generous margins around the field edges can provide a habitat for wildlife, and using farming methods that are sensitive to the needs of fauna and flora in the countryside.
Reflecting our longstanding personal interest in wildlife issues, we actively support the welfare of birds, both locally and nationally. We’ve been business allies for many years with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), which helps fund many ongoing projects for the protection of birdlife in the UK and abroad.
We actively encourage wildlife education in local schools by providing feed stations so the youngsters can enjoy birds. We also receive many lost and injured birds which we support until fully recovered, after which are released back to the wild.
Needless to say, our gardens at home are well-stocked with a wide variety of plants and foods. Like many of our customers, we have great pleasure in watching birds and wildlife enjoying their feast, and gain a real sense of fulfillment in helping them to survive and thrive in the natural world.
Now in the hands of the third generation of the Bamford family, Eric’s sons, Alan and Philip lead the company, along with Ronald’s daughter, Joan. The company continues to expand, with staff numbers now reaching 50. We are now proud suppliers to local, national and international customers.