In 1886, Francis Parrs set up business as a wheelwright in the heart of Birmingham. It was and still is, a very skilled profession. Soon the market traders were coming to Francis for new wheels for their porter’s trucks, the flower girls were asking him to repair the wheels on their wicker flower trollies and the undertakers relied on Francis to make sure the funeral biers were always in working order.
By the start of the Great War, Parrs had become a major UK manufacturer of wooden wheelbarrows. Many were shipped to the western front to help with trench building and the movement of armaments.
When the Spanish flu hit in 1917, The Country struggled to recover from the increased loss of life from the pandemic. This was followed by the General Strike of 1926 and the worldwide depression. But people still needed the services of a good local wheelwright, and F Parr Ltd became a registered company in 1930. It was now the place to go in Birmingham for sack trucks, barrows, coal trucks and porter’s trucks.
In the 1930s, Edward the eighth was pictured using a Parr wheelbarrow, as the business continued to build on its reputation for quality. Then in 1939 F Parr ltd was called upon to help again with the war effort, manufacturing and supplying barrows for the army.
The post-war period saw the beginning of a steady change for the business. As affluence grew, people expected more choices for their local wheelwright. Ladders, steps and pallet trucks were brought in to provide a better service to our customers.
In 1973, the Parr family sold the business to The Scholes family. Another long-established Birmingham family with a hardware business. John Scholes recognised that the market was changing and distance selling was the future. He launched a catalogue of workplace equipment featuring packaging, signage and the traditional trucks and trollies. Wheelwrights were still employed, manufacturing and servicing trucks for the Birmingham wholesale market.
In the 2000s the catalogue started to give way to our online offering. This allowed more products to be added to the range and more choices for our customers.
This September Parrs celebrates our 135th Birthday. We are proud of our past and equally excited about our future.