In 1863, Charles Frederick Anderson set up business as a timber merchant in Islington, where the firm grew steadily into one of the leading distributors of timber and sheet materials. By the early 1900s, they were supplying large quantities of materials for the exhibitions being staged at the Royal Agricultural Hall, including Crufts, The Motor Shows, The Royal Tournament and The World Fairs.
Before the First World War, the decision was made to stock Plywood and Andersons were one of the few merchants in London to sell this material; their largest consumer being the newly founded British Film Industry. It was the Timber yard in Islington that supplied materials for the creation of the first large film studio to be constructed in the United Kingdom and, consequently, the studios built at Denham, Isleworth, Ealing, Borehamwood, Elstree, Welwyn Garden City and Iver.
The 1920s was seen as a period of decisive change in the Timber and Building Industries; Asbestos cement was being marketed; Plasterboard was coming from Canada; Masonite boards and insulation from Sweden. In addition to standard hardboards there were tempered hardboards, medium hardboards and insulating boards. The fact that these boards were taken on a grand scale by the film industry gave Andersons a good foundation for their trade in the materials they were trying to introduce.
By the beginning of the 1930s, Andersons had earned the reputation of being second to none as wallboard specialists; the war years saw them supplying large quantities of fireproof or fire retardant boards for the protection of government offices. Charles Anderson's election as the first chairman of the newly formed Wallboard Merchants Association in 1944 was a mark of the respect in which those in the wallboard trade held him.
The 1950s brought many successes; the firm was involved in supplies for the Royal Festival Hall and other buildings for the Festival of Britain. Thereafter, the increase in variety of boards stepped up; perforated hardboards, pegboard, veneered boards, flameproofed boards; floorings; decorative melamine plastic laminates with a variety of coloured patterns and printed woodgrain finishes; chipboards, fibreboards, acoustic and insulating boards.
By the time of the centenary, 1963, Andersons were established in Harris Wharf, City Wharf, Essex Road and St Peters Street in Islington and also in Southgate and Mitcham. Shortly following, they acquired 7-9 Islington Green which became their head office and where they opened their showroom, at one time the subject of a BBC Television programme, displaying sizeable panels of sheet building materials, decorative laminated plastics, acoustic tiles, plywoods, sections of panelling formed of TGV matchings and a varied range of flush, panel and veneered doors.
During the 1970s, the Company acquired the site of the Weyroc Chipboard factory for the storage of reserve bulk stocks of increasingly popular Canadian and American Softwoods, Laminboard Doorblanks, Commercial and decorative Plywoods, Fire resistant boards, Worktops, Doors, Melamine plastic faced Hardboards and Chipboards, Ceiling tiles, Polyurethane insulating boards and Polystyrene.
In 1989, the main Sales and support offices were brought together at Marks Tey to further strengthen their services. They have since developed the Colchester premises to provide quality care of the extensive range of Sheet Materials and Timber products held under cover in modern storage.
150 years further on, the business has considerably expanded its activities within the Timber and allied industries, serving the Furniture and Building trades. Continuing the Anderson tradition, well researched product and customer knowledge has resulted in the Company's extensive product range which today reflects the prolific development of advanced wood based Furniture and Building products.