13 March 2013 By Billy Hawkins
Once upon a time (in 1952) a young man called Frank Hagborg set up a greenhouse business in Station Road, Alton. He called it Byron Engineering.
His vision was to make well designed and extremely functional aluminium greenhouses for growers - serious growers; he did just this. In 1965 Frank changed the company name to Alitex and whilst there have been many suggestions as to the origins of the name (some of Latin derivative) the most obvious is ‘aluminium technology’.
Frank was joined in the late 60s by school boy Mike Wallis working part time becoming full time in 1970. Chris Sawyer followed just a few years later. We are delighted that both are still here as key members of our team - and still selling greenhouses. With a collective knowledge in excess of 80 years, there is not much they don’t know and as the saying goes - they’ve forgotten more than you’ll ever know!
Berkshire farmer Mark Hall, bought Alitex from Frank Hagborg in 1990 becoming Chairman. His son Tom has been the MD since 1991 (nepotism to the fore) and has been joined along the way by Uncle Jim building bases and his wife Nelly who is involved in the marketing. In many ways we have come a long way from the early days of designing and making aluminium greenhouses for nurserymen in an assortment of sheds, workshops and garages, but the essential ingredients of success remain as Frank foresaw.
Alton was our home until 2000 at which time we bought our current site, Torberry Farm on the South Downs. This move gave us room to grow operationally and enabled us to show off our beautiful structures in a stunning setting; if you haven’t visited us yet please do so. James’s factory tours are excellent!
Many of the values that Frank established remain in place today. We have always aspired to design and build the best looking glasshouses to last you a lifetime, the look is now firmly established as classic Victorian, and it still meets the needs of the increasing numbers of serious growers – from the cottage garden to large private estates.
Join us for a celebratory birthday drink at RHS Chelsea (MA10) or Hampton Court Flower Show. Alternatively come and visit us at one of the many events here at Alitex.