Randells of North Walsham

A manufacturer still in the agricultural engineering business

The origins of Randells agricultural engineers stretch back to John Randell who was born in 1777. John was both a carpenter and Ironmonger, a good chemistry for a successful engineering business. His son James established the business proper in the 1820s and on his demise, the company was taken over by his wife Mary and the name changed to M Randell and Sons. The enterprise at this time had branches in North Walsham, Northrepps and Cromer and made such items sugar beet hoes, water carts and other horse drawn equipment.

The Foundry and main manufacturing site was established in Bacton road North Walsham at the St Nicholas works between 1865-1870. Two Sons, Fredrick and Horace Randell continued the business under the name F&H Randell and company regularly showed their goods at numerous agricultural shows all over England. In the 1883 Kellys directory, the business is quoted as Fredrick & Horace Randell, wholesale, retail furnishing and general ironmongers. Bar, brass founders and agricultural implement makers. At the time, the firm also had a well stocked shop at No5 Market place in North Walsham.

Fredrick eventually became the dominant partner in the business and the partnership finally ended with the company becoming F Randell and company in 1897. Randells later took on the agency for the Canadian firm Massey-Harris and sold and serviced various binders, mowers and reapers. In 1918 Fredrick passed away and the business was taken on by his son Frank.

Frank had four sons:

Frank Victor who ran the Iron-mongery and expanded the business to cater for changing markets in domestic sanitary and plumbing. John who took on the agricultural engineering business selling tractors and combines from 1939 onwards. Fred ran the electrical engineering business which found success in the early electrical installations around Norfolk and finally William who ran the agricultural engineering business at Reepham.

The site of the former St Nicholas works has been redeveloped as a supermarket. The well stocked showroom and shop in the North Walsham market place has been taken over by a national chain of chemists. Occasionally items manufactured by Randells turn up in auctions, but at this time we are only aware of one Randells shepherds hut which sits alone on a Norfolk water meadow. The hubs of the hut are embossed with the name H&F Randell, North Walsham which probably dates the old girl pre-1897.