EME Furniture is celebrating 50 years of manufacturing at their factory at Blackaddie Road, Sanquhar.
A lot has changed in education since EME was established in 1965. Technology has advanced, school buildings have changed and the curriculum and teaching methods have evolved. EME have adapted and expanded their product offering over the years to meet the changing requirements in education and continue to produce the highest quality furniture with the best possible service.
In 1965 Educational And Municipal Equipment Ltd, an Oldham based company, expanded their UK operations and secured part of their market share in Scotland by opening emeScotland in Sanquhar. This was the first Scottish Development Agency factory on the Sanquhar Industrial Estate and part of the regeneration of the area following the decline in coal mining. The company began by manufacturing plywood laminated products, predominantly chairs, gradually expanding into other wood based products such as table tops.
emeScotland was purchased by the Howland Furniture group in 1969 and through the early 1970’s production was extended to include a metal fabrication shop for manufacture of table and chair frames as well as other component parts.
The 1990’s saw major investment in the company with new equipment, expansion of the site and further additions to the product range. An upholstery department was also added.
In March 2009 EME was purchased by the Directors of British Thornton Direct Ltd, a West Yorkshire based educational furniture manufacturer. Further investments have been made in machinery and equipment, the site has been extended and the business has focused on design and product development to meet the furniture needs of the modern school.
The factory in Sanquhar continues to employ a dedicated local workforce of around 30 and furniture produced at the factory can be found in schools across the UK and beyond. As an approved supplier on the Scotland Excel framework, for local authority procurement, EME supplies furniture to schools across Scotland and is currently working on several new nurseries in the Highland region. Other recent projects including furnishing 2 brand new schools on a shared site in North Tyneside, supplying furniture to the prestigious Silverstone UTC, situated trackside at the famous British circuit, through sister company British Thornton, and manufacturing items for a brand new international school in Hong Kong.
Although predominantly for schools, EME furniture can be found in a variety of places from libraries and offices to community centres and churches. They have furnished several health centres, with their upholstered chairs proving very popular for waiting rooms, and bespoke shelf units are manufactured at the perfect size to stock bottles for The Whisky Shop.
EME is looking forward to a long future in Sanquhar with further expansion planned and a continuing programme of product development.