Our History

Thomas and James Smith came from Upton, near Southwell, Nottingham. They started a timber business at the bottom of Beacon Hill, Newark around 1862. The site they bought was an old flour mill.

They developed this site into the first Steam Sawmill in the Midlands. They brought timber by horse-drawn drays from as far as Lincolnshire and Leicestershire to way into Nottinghamshire.

The timber they converted was used by local builders, joiners and wheelwrights. They also supplied the timber for use by the Trent Navigation Co. at the Dockyard at Newark for tillers and boat making in general. They also cut the elm cills at the bottom of the lock gates. They worked with Ransomes of Newark testing new woodworking machinery being produced by them in the early 1900’s.

In private life, Thomas Smith married and had 15 children. He became a local Alderman and supervised the lighting of the bonfires on Beacon Hill in 1887 for the Queen’s Jubilee, and again in 1902 for the Coronation of King George.

Thomas Smith built most of the houses in rows on Beacon Hill, Long Row and Tolney Lane, Newark and also Smith Street and Coronation Street, Balderton, and many other properties.

Alderman Thomas Smith sent by train in February 1905, clean water to people in Lincoln in the midst of a typhoid epidemic.

After the epidemic infected 1,006 people and killed 131 in six months. To show their gratitude, individuals and businesses sent 105 postcards and letters of thanks, some featuring photographs of the water arriving and of patients in hospital, Please take a look at video  below of this story, which was produced by Andy Blow from Blow By Blow Productions.  

When Alderman Smith died, the business was carried on by his two sons, Fred and John. John died first and on the death of Fred Smith, the business was taken over by Colin Smith the last of the Alderman Smiths sons. On the death of Colin Smith, the business was taken over by Jack Beall, son in law of Colin Smith.

The business moved to new premises in Queens Road, Appleton Gate, Newark in December 1976.

In 1997 the company changed its name to Smiths Timber Merchants Ltd, to which it was already locally known by its customers.

When Jack Beall died the business was carried on by John and Robert Beall, sons of late Jack Beall and Lorna Beall. John Beall had worked for the company for 50 years on the 2nd May 2013 and retired on the 30th June 2013.

On the 4th June 2012, we carried on the tradition of building a bonfire to mark Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee.

The beacon was lit at 10:26 pm by his Honour John Machin D.L. Deputy Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. Also in attendance, Councillor Mrs Irene Brown, Town Mayor of Newark.

The business is now run by Robert Beall, who had the honour of carrying the Olympic torch in Newark on the 28th June 2012.

On the 20th June 2013 Thomas Beall, son of Robert Beall joined the company.

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