At Marlow Ropes we are always looking to the future with innovation and development – the two adverts above show Marlow at the forefront of rope technology with polyester yacht ropes in 1957, and today with our Grand Prix Series range. However, we never forget our rich and proud heritage and whilst Marlow Ropes Ltd was originally set up as recently as 1961, the story of the Company and the intertwined history of rope making in Hailsham goes back over 200 years.
At this time rope manufacture was still dominated by natural fibres such as hemp, manila and sisal. However, by early 1950’s the “new” synthetic fibres of Nylon (polyamide) and Terylene (polyester) were becoming more widely used in industry and Hawkins and Tipson were among the first to realise their potential in rope making
In 1957 Hawkins and Tipson started manufacturing and selling synthetic fibre ropes, made in Hailsham, to the yachting industry under the “Marlow” brand. These new nylon and polyester ropes were ideal for the demands of the re-emerging yachting industry which was just recovering after World War II. The success of the Marlow brand led to the founding of Marlow Ropes Ltd in 1961, as part of the ever expanding Hawkins and Tipson empire, with the express purpose of manufacturing synthetic fibre ropes for the yachting market..
CHANGE AND GROWTH
As the use of natural fibres declined in the heavy marine industry, Marlow, who also extruded their own raw materials in Hailsham, grew in it’s reach and product portfolio. They soon became the dominant company within the group and by 1983 Hawkins and Tipson (now under new ownership) was restructured, becoming known as H&T Marlow and subsequently simply Marlow Ropes Ltd.
Marlow Ropes continued to lead the way in technical innovation and together with further expansion in the 1990’s the Company re-affirmed it’s position as one of the dominant forces in rope manufacture world wide. The Marlow brand was renowned and respected in markets around the world from yachting ropes to military ropes and commercial mooring ropes to deep sea tethers for oil platforms.
By 2003, after a number of acquisitions, Marlow Ropes was a world leader in the design and manufacture of deep water tethers and mooring points for the oil industry as well as continuing to be the most globally recognised rope brand in the yachting industry. The Company was manufacturing on three sites in the UK and also owned a climbing rope company in Germany.
At the end of 2005 however, the Company was split up and sold off to separate buyers. The Marlow Cordage Division was bought by the owner of Marlow’s one time UK competitor, English Braids, who retained the name Marlow Ropes Ltd.
Today, Marlow Ropes has a brand new purpose built factory and warehouse and continues to manufacture quality British ropes on the same site as Thomas Burfield over 200 years ago. Times have changed however and today Marlow specialises in the design and manufacture of technically innovative rope products using the very latest hi-tech and exotic man made fibres.
Marlow Ropes’ reputation for quality and technical innovation continues in the 21st Century and the Company continues to forge a path of progress and growth in the markets in which it operates:
• Leisure Marine
• Defence & Special Forces
• Winching & wire rope replacement
• Fire & Rescue
• Work Safety & Industrial Access
• Cabling & Telecoms
• Film & Theatre Rigging