Our History - I had a vision to build a company with great values, with the ability to diversify into new products and markets - whilst keeping customers and quality at our core - Quote by John Bates, Founder, 1989 to Present


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The Beginning - 1989

On a cold November morning in 1989, SWR was born and began operating from a small store and workshop in Hemel Hempstead. Our Founder John Bates created the company under the name Steel Wire Rope Ltd with one focus area, supplying full reels of wire rope.

Founded by John Bates
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Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web - 1989

In 1989, whilst working at CERN (the European Particle Physics Laboratory in Switzerland), Tim Berners-Lee came up with the idea of the World Wide Web, a new way of using existing internet technology to share information. He wrote the first web browser the following year, and went on to found the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in 1994.

Tim Berners-Lee infront of PC
SWR Trade Spears Logo

Garage Door Trade Spares Launched – 1991

After supplying wire rope to the garage door industry, John Bates spotted another opportunity to provide wire assemblies for garage doors specifically. SWR Trade Spares was born, and is now the UK’s leading supplier of garage door trade spares.

Garage door Cable
SWR Steel Wire Rope Logo

Diversification - 1992

At the peak of the recession, the company re-branded as SWR Ltd, invested in presses, reeling and testing machines, and developed a range of high quality wire rope assemblies for trade. This led to the need for a move to larger premises in Hemel Hempstead to enable further investment in stock and capital equipment.

100 tone press
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Channel Tunnel Opened - 1992

The Queen and France's President Francois Mitterrand formally opened the Channel Tunnel during two elaborate ceremonies in France and Britain.

Channel Tunnel Opening
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BS 5750 Quality Accreditation - 1994

SWR proudly became the first entirely independent UK wire rope supplier to achieve the BS 5750 quality accreditation, supporting the ethos held by SWR's owners.

Quality Assurance - Observe BS 5750 Quality Assurance Procedures
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Second Relocation - 1997

Further growth beckoned, along with a need to modernise. Jason Lee is appointed Managing Director and SWR moves to its current location in Eastman Way, Hemel Hempstead, to further improve the manufacturing processes and quality. Production of larger diameter stainless steel assemblies is increased and remains a speciality today.

grind with arrow
SWR Installaions Logo

SWR Garage Doors - 1997

After years of supplying wire rope assemblies and garage door spares to the industry, SWR ventured into the supply and installations market. SWR Garage Doors began installing Garage Doors within the Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire area.

Domain Registration
SWR Steel Wire Rope Logo

Website Launch - 1998

SWR launched steelwirerope.com enabling them to reach out to international customers.

Domain Registration
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ISO9001 Quality Accreditation - 1999

Working closely with NQA, SWR reach another milestone reflecting their “commitment to quality” by successfully achieving registration for the ISO9001 on the first attempt.

ISO logo
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SWR Goes Global - 2000

SWR begin exporting worldwide. By 2006, products were journeying to over 50 countries, today SWR regularly export to all continents on a regular basis.

world map Read more
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iPod Released - 2001

Apple launched its first portable music player, the iPod. The first incarnation of the device that was to revolutionise the music industry had a mechanical scrolling wheel, and launched with an option of either a 5GB or 10GB capacity. The iPod was first sold at a shade under £300.

iPod Showcase
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We Need More Space, Again! - 2004

SWR doubles in size by taking over the adjoining premise in Eastman Way, Hemel Hempstead to cover 15,000 sq ft, as well as securing a separate 10,000 sq ft storage facility also located in Hemel Hempstead.

two industrial buildings
SWR Steel Wire Rope Logo

Expansion - 2005

By 2005, SWR’s high quality steel cables and fittings could be found on structures such as Wembley Stadium, the Emirates Stadium, and on the Hong Kong Bridge. By this point customers included BAE systems, Ferrari, McLaren and BSI, to name a few. Jason Lee was delighted by the progress that the company had made, and was particularly proud of the team, who worked together to successfully set SWR apart from competition.

Expanding in all directions
SWR Trade Speares Logo

SWR Trade Spares is Online - 2005

With demand increasing, SWR Trade Spares launched the company’s first e-commerce trade website, now an integral part of the business. The online store allows trade visitors to make a quick and simple purchase of multiple products at once.

Screen grab of the Trade Spares Website
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SWR Balustrade Launched - 2006

SWR launched a new business division supplying prefabricated stainless steel modular balustrade systems to the trade. The website allows visitors to browse products by system type, access a knowledge base which breaks down and explains the project process, and download installation instructions.

Screen grab of the SWR Balustrade Website
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Usain Bolt Breaks his Record - 2009

Usain Bolt had claimed the title of “Fastest Man Alive” before the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, where he broke his own record with an astonishing 9.58 second 100m win, taking home Gold.

Usain Bolt breaking his own record
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Company Values – 2011

Working closely with its employees, SWR developed a set of company values based upon the aim of creating a truly great company, both to deal with, and to work for.

Heart, light bulb, cogs and book Read more
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SWR Installations Launches - 2013

After years of installing Garage Doors, SWR expanded its home product range to include Awnings, Pergolas, Entrance Doors, Bi-Folding Doors and Windows. SWR began to position itself as a luxury home improvement business, with a specific focus on high quality and innovative products.

SWR Installations Brochure Cover
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SWR Group Website Re-designed - 2013

Our "in-house" Marketing team did a fantastic job of modernising and developing the SWR Group website, they maintain and update the site regularly to ensure a user friendly experience for all visitors.

screen shot of swrgroup.com
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England’s Royal Baby Arrives - 2014

All eyes were on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (perhaps better known as Prince William and the former Kate Middleton) this summer as they awaited the arrival of their first child. Prince George Alexander Louis arrived on July 22, and took his rightful place as third in line for the British throne.

screen shot of steel wire rope.com
SWR Steel Wire Rope Logo

Fatzer® Partnership - 2014

SWR partnered with Fatzer, who specialise in manufacturing high-quality steel wire rope for winches, ropeways, mining and other structural applications.

Fatzer Logo
SWR Steel Wire Rope Logo

Teufelberger Partnership - 2015

SWR partnered with Teufelberger, a specialist steel wire rope manufacturer for a wide range of applications including; cranes, ropeways, building & construction, industry, forestry, and slope winches, as well as personal fall protection equipment. SWR have been supplying Teufelberger products for the past ten years, and became a UK distributor in 2015.

Teufelberger Logo
SWR Steel Wire Rope Logo

Tractel Partnership - 2016

SWR partnered with Tractel® who manufacture hand operated lifting and pulling equipment such as Tirfor® and jockey™ winches.

Tractel Logo
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SWR is Still Growing - 2016

SWR aim to be a supplier of great value to its customers and employees with quality and innovation at the heart of everything they do. Today SWR have 58 great people (and counting), 5 key values, 4 million unique website visitors and thousands of satisfied customers worldwide.

graf trending up
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Leonardo DiCaprio finally wins his Oscar

Leonardo DiCaprio finally wins his first Oscar for survival epic ‘The Revenant’, after six nominations.

Leonardo DiCaprio Reciving his Oscar
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New Responsive Wire Rope Website - 2016

SWR's in-house graphic design and web development teams created a custom responsive website to improve its online customer experience.

New Responsive website screen shot
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Investors in People Silver Award! - 2017

The Investors in People Standard is a framework of best practice, awarded to organisations who continually strive to be outstanding people managers. The performance model requires companies to meet a set criteria in areas including ‘learning and development’, ‘leadership skills’, and ‘recognition and reward’.
Jason Lee - Managing Director
“We were delighted to be presented with a Silver award and accreditation on our first application! We were particularly pleased with the accomplishment as we know that less than a quarter of IIP companies ever achieve this.”

IIP Trophy Read more
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Ideal Home Show - 2017

SWR Balustrade systems were on show at London Olympia as part of the renowned Ideal Home Show exhibition. SWR supplied a combination of Glass Channel and Glass Modular systems for the showcase ‘Property Ladder Apartment’ building that was constructed within the Olympia Grand hall, famous for its stunning Victorian architecture.

Ideal Home Show Installation Read more
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New Responsive Balustrade Website - 2017

SWR's in-house graphic design and web development teams created a custom responsive website to improve its online customer experience.

SWR Balustrade website screen grab
SWR Balustrade Logo

OnLevel Partnership - 2017

SWR proudly partnered with innovative Balustrade Manufacturer, OnLevel, who specialise in high quality, high performance glass channel profiles for a huge range of applications.

Meeting with OnLevel Read more
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UK Construction Week - 2017

SWR Balustrade exhibited at UK Construction Week in the NEC Birmingham, showcasing their exciting new systems from new Balustrade partner Onlevel.

UK Construction Week opening Read more