On the 4th July 1978 Alan and Brian Evans stepped in to save the Bishop’s Castle sawmill of Charles Ransford & Son Ltd which was on the verge of bankruptcy. At that time the mill employed over 120 people, all of them local and had the mill gone all of those jobs would have gone with it.
On the face of it the purchase was a bargain: they paid £100 for it, but as is now well known, along with the purchase came £1.5million of debts incurred by the previous owners. This was a huge sum in those days, equivalent to many more millions in today’s values, but every penny of it was paid off over the following few years.
By 1982 Alan and Brian were investing in the mill with the installation of what was then a state of the art Swedish sawing line. Further substantial investment came later and continues to take place as can be seen from the pictures of the new Timber Treatment Centre in the news section. In all this time the mill has weathered miners strikes and repeated recessions. It is now one of the most advanced and most respected sawmilling operations in the country, and its workforce are the envy of other, similar businesses. Today, even with the automation of many of the mill’s processes, there are still 60 people employed directly and many more indirectly through local suppliers.
Sadly, Alan died in December 2016 but the Evans family connection with Ransfords – and with many other businesses in the Bishop’s Castle area – continues.