Speedings Ltd was established in 1827 on the banks of the River Wear in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, which makes the company the oldest manufacturing business in the City of Sunderland – a fact of which we are immensely proud.
In the early years we manufactured sails and flags for local shipyards, moving into the production of ships’ awnings, tarpaulins and hatch covers, when steam power came into being. During World War One, we supplied various canvas items to both Naval and Merchant Vessels, as well as small items such as webbing belts and canvas kit bags.
The company continued to move with the times and developed ‘Safety at Sea’ products – designing and making lifebuoys and the world’s very first reversible lifejacket was made by Speedings Ltd. From 1957 until 1999 we were the Northeast Service Station for life rafts and rescue boats manufactured by Dunlop and Beaufort Air and Sea Safety.
During the 1980’s Speedings started to manufacture various products for the local Fire Brigades – Tyne & Wear and Durham. The demise of the North East shipbuilding industry at the end of the 1980’s had a huge impact on the company and a decision was taken to expand our involvement with the Fire Service nationally – this decision was to ensure the company’s survival and resulted in continued growth and sustainability.
We are extremely proud to say that we have designed and manufactured safety products for every Fire and Rescue Service in Great Britain and Ireland, including Airport Fire Services.
As a family owned and managed company we pride ourselves on personal attention, quality products, reliability and customer service – these principals being the cornerstones to Speedings longevity and continued growth. We are continually reviewing and improving our quality control system which has seen us introduce an ISO 9001 Quality Management System by Global Certification, our third party assessors.
Speedings ability to manufacture products in both large and small quantities has been of huge benefit to our customers and has seen a continued and sustained growth in our ‘Consultancy and Design’ service. This bespoke process allows us to take a customer’s initial thoughts and ideas and convert them into a detailed product design. The transition from design to production is seamless as we manufacture from our factory in Sunderland – enabling our Product Design Team to oversee the complete process thus ensuring the customer gets exactly what they asked for.
Speedings currently employ thirty five people which include twenty specialist ‘traditional’ sewing machinists. We do not operate a ‘conveyor belt production line’ and our machinists are not on ‘piece work’ – our production process sees our sewing machinists making a product from start to finish – this system of manufacture creates a more rewarding sense of achievement for the machinist. It is certainly an advantage once you start to consider the quality aspect, as items can be directly related to a single person.
Regular consultation with Fire and Rescue Services, in the UK, Europe, America and Australia has ensured that Speedings remain at the forefront of the design and manufacture of innovative safety systems for use in the Emergency Services and Industry. Our membership of FIRESA (the Fire and Rescue Suppliers Association) ensures we are continually kept up to date on developments in the industry (Firebuy, ICP etc).
Our ability to source the best materials and manufacture to the highest quality has seen the company achieving some impressive results;
- World’s first reversible life jacket
- World’s first re-usable steering wheel Airbag Restraint System
- ‘Kevlar Lined’ Sharp End Protection System (used by over 80% of UK F&RS)
- UK’s largest manufacturer of Breathing Apparatus Cylinder Covers
- UK’s first dedicated BSEN471 Class 3 RTC Jacket
- High Visibility clothing designed specifically for the Emergency Services
- Incident Command Systems and Identification Tabards (we have recently equipped the whole of Ireland with these systems)
A far from exhaustive list but a flavour of what Speedings Ltd are all about – a proud family owned and managed company that enjoys working with, and for, its customers to ensure that customer satisfaction is achieved 100% of the time.