The business of James Lister & Sons Limited began in 1874 when a local school teacher, James Lister, who was 37 years old at the time, opened an ironmonger's shop in Tipton, West Midlands, with the idea to provide a future for his three sons. His wife ran the shop initially until it was able to support the family and then James quit teaching and moved into the business full-time. After only a few years he took on another shop in West Bromwich.
When James Lister died in 1914 two of his sons, John and Richard, formed a partnership under the name of James Lister & Sons and started to move the business in the direction of engineering distribution by supplying industry with a wide range of tools.
Over the years the business expanded further, sometimes by opening new branches or new businesses from scratch, and sometimes by acquiring existing activities. By 1957 the business was sufficiently sizable and complex that it became incorporated as James Lister & Sons Limited. During the second half of the 20th century the company also expanded into the distribution of oils and greases, as well as janitorial products.
In the 1970's a fluid power business was started, supplying to many of the same customers, who appreciated the strong Lister service ethic. In the late 1990's the company expanded into mobile hose service and in the early 2000's South Wales was added to the geographical reach.
By the early 2000's there were a number of descendants of James Lister with interests in the Company, but only a few actively involved in its day-to-day operation and management. Three of these, brothers Richard, Tim and Mike Cotterill, great great grandsons to James Lister, along with Peter Davies, who brought external international business management experience, took over total ownership and management of the business in 2010.
The business was quickly rationalised to provide a focus on excellent customer service and a tube manipulation business was started to further expand the service offer.
Today James Lister &Sons Limited is a well known name in the Midlands, with a heritage over 140 years old. The business is organised into four main engineering activities; listersupplies, listerfluidpower, listertube and listersubcontract. More details are available on the Home page.
Operating from 8 branches in the Midlands and South Wales the Company employs over 150 people and operates more than 30 delivery and response vehicles.
We are registered to ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 and operate to best practice in all our activities.
Our Approach to Business
We sum up our approach in the phrase "a tradition of service"
We are intensely proud of our heritage and totally focused on meeting customer needs. We constantly reinvest in the business to enhance our capabilities and support to customers.
Fundamentally we believe in doing things right and that means if there is ever a problem, our approach is to be open and honest and totally committed to solving it to your satisfaction. We have a very inclusive culture, where all our people are encouraged to challenge and improve how we operate, and we work hard to maintain high levels of motivation and professionalism, and have a little fun!
We have a strong corporate social responsibility ethos reflecting our long family business traditions. Maintaining a focus on a sustainable, independent and family spirit approach, we place our customers' needs above all else.