Over 50 years ago, Peter Hurrell and Ian McLean formed Hurrell & McLean Seeds, trading from the 'Nether Hall' Country House premises in Nafferton, in the rural setting of East Yorkshire.
Both gentlemen were very well respected seedsmen, having worked for old but very well respected national seeds companies.
Unfortunately, not long into the partnership Ian McLean had a very serious accident returning from the Great Yorkshire Show, and unfortunately never properly recovered. Peter Hurrell ran the business himself for a short period after which Cliff Whittaker (the 'Colonel') joined the company.
During the 60’s and 70’s, the two friends, both with very strong characters indeed, developed the grass seed business. When fancy new crops such as oilseed rape became fashionable – Hurrell & McLean stuck to what they knew best – grass seeds and forage ley mixtures for East Yorkshire Wolds customers.
Their reputation for knowledge and quality was enviable and still lives on with many existing customers remembering Peter and Co with very much kindness and warmth!
Twenty five years ago, Arthur Gladstone purchased the business in full, inheriting the name and goodwill developed by his predecessors-the goodwill and reputation being so strong the brand name was quite rightly a very important factor in the deal.
Arthur had worked his way up the seed trade for many years for the North of England Farm Cooperative “Farmway Ltd” based in Darlington.
Arthur started as a general salesman and more latterly was promoted and became their overall Seeds Manager for over 10 years, gaining significant experience in the agricultural field in sales running a team of 20 representatives and seed crop production. Arthur enjoyed many fruitful years with Farmway and it was only the Hurrells business opportunity that lured him away from his managerial position.
Wanting to specialise even further and knowing Peter Hurrell through business dealings, he shook hands on the purchase of the business at a trade function.
A few years later, Arthur was joined by his son, Nick. As well as looking after many Farm Estates, Nick began to expand the business into the areas of Sports, Recreation and Amenities seeds sales by supplying to Golf courses, councils and sports stadia.
As a very keen 4 handicap Yorkshire golfer, Nick realised that golf courses were an obvious choice to supply and help develop the business in an area were Hurrells had no presence at all.
Over the next 10 years the company employed several brand managers from the seed trade allowing Hurrells to develop their own sales position.
Hurrells relationships with international seed breeders and contacts have secured UK rights on several new varieties that have now been trade proven ‘in the field’.
Paul Elstob, the husband of Nick’s sister, joined the business 20 years ago. Paul looks after the North Yorkshire region ‘on farm’ and has developed healthy sales of agricultural grass and Maize seeds. Paul also oversees purchasing and grass seed mixture production.
In 2002 the company relocated from the village of Nafferton to a 2 acre main road site at Cranswick on a stand alone site. In 2003 we commissioned the construction of a new 5,000 sq.ft. Warehousing facility, this was doubled in size by 2008 to 10,000 sq.ft.
October 2008 saw Joanna, Nick’s sister join the business to become sales administrator.
In 2006 Arthur purchased North Cattleholmes Farm, a 320 acre arable farm. The farm storage buildings were completely upgraded, creating 10,000 sq.ft. of extra seed storage - located just 4 miles from the Hurrells head office.
October 2008 saw Joanna, Nick’s sister, join the business to become sales administrator.
In 2009 we began the conversion of an existing barn to provide extended office facilities (see photo below), needed to keep up with our continued expansion. These facilities were completed in February 2010, and opened by our pioneer, Mr Peter Hurrell himself. Another step forward for Hurrells customer service!
In 2012, the third generation arrived at Hurrells, Dan Gladstone, who rejected five university offers in favour of gaining hands on commercial experience at Hurrells.