The Lec/Burco brands celebrated their 70th Birthday in 2012 – there aren’t many catering equipment providers that can boast that kind of experience. From humble beginnings, the brand has grown to be a trusted name. Read how this happened below.
Our Brand Milestones
Charles and Frank Purley owned a fresh fish shop, as obtaining ice was expensive; a cheap method of keeping the fish in good condition had to be found.
Together with partner Leslie Jull they purchased a small engineering workshop in Longford Road Bognor Regis and Longford Engineering Company (L.e.c) was born. Through the war years the workshop produced munitions as well as developing a refrigeration system.
They obtained some land from Farmer Munday at Shripney Road Bognor Regis for £125. This was the base from which the factory grew. In the same year their first prototype fridge was made, and the company acquired its first airplane an Ulster, which was used for urgent deliveries and repairs. The plane was also used for transporting executives on business trips in order to save time.
By 1947 the factory at Shripney Road was in full production and about 200 workers were employed. During the 1940s Lec concentrated on their foreign export market, due to the fact that steel was in short supply, and available only for the overseas trade. As a result of this 90% of all fridges Britain exported to Canada in 1948 were made by Lec, and at times 80% of all Lec fridges were for export.
The company was renamed Lec Refrigeration Ltd, thus linking itself more closely to the trade name of Lec by which its products had become known.
Lec established its showroom in Regent Street in 1955, providing the opportunity to display its products, and a convenient venue to meet clients from abroad.
The company’s special product division was formed and started to produce low temperature environment cabinets for hospitals, aircraft and atomic research.
Charles Purley said to keep a business successful you have to expand so in the 1960s a new automatic spray paint plant, and a 3 floor building fronting Shripney Road were in construction.
Lec was floated on the stock market successfully. In the same year Lec expanded to Burnley, Oldham and Northern Ireland. This indicated that the biggest factory in Bognor Regis had arrived on both a national and international stage.
Following Britain’s entry in the common market a modern factory was acquired in Calais.
The original company, W. H. Dean, was founded in 1895. Originally builders of gas equipment to satisfy the increase in usage of gas for water-heating at the turn of the century.
Expanded into electrical products after WW2 following the merger with Burnley Components (Bur-Co), Burco Dean was born, known for the manufacture of the “Baby Burco” washboiler during the 1950s.
Production extended into a new sector of catering boilers during the early 1970s.
As the catering sector became ever more demanding, Burco adapted its products with additions such as “Thermostat Control” and “Sight Glasses” as the market diversified into the hospitality and leisure sectors. As market leader in its sector, Burco Dean was acquired by the Glen Dimplex Group in 1985 and became part of Morphy Richards. Growth continued after the acquisition with the purchase of the “Cygnet” brand.
In 2008, Burco Dean was brought under the Glen Dimplex Professional Appliances business sector and the range was extended into cooking appliances.