Fairfield Industries Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)1642 221100
Email: info@fairfieldindustries.co.uk

A Brief History

John Livingstone - son of the founder, a former president of the Cleveland Institute of Engineers and one of the leading businessmen of the day.

Fairfield Industries is a wholly owned subsidiary of one of Middlesbrough’s oldest established engineering companies. John Livingston & Sons Limited, the parent company of Fairfield Industries, was founded in 1853 as a firm of brass founders and engineers who served the fast-expanding rail industry.

The advent and explosive growth of the iron industry in the mid-19th Century produced a huge number of opportunities for local engineering companies, producing a lucrative new market that Livingston’s were quick to exploit.

Although no picture survives of the founder, the engraving on the left is of John Livingston’s son, a prominent local engineer and a protégé of Victorian industrialist John Vaughan.

Vaughan was the man who discovered ironstone in the Cleveland Hills and who later formed a partnership with Henry Ferdinand Bolckow, resulting in the formation of the world-famous iron and steel company, Bolckow, Vaughan & Co.

This association enabled the company to achieve a rapid expansion that saw it grow from a small foundry employing only three men in 1854 to one of Teesside’s industrial powerhouses, employing more than 1,300 by the turn of the century. As the unfortunate result of a succession of absentee owners, by the mid-1960s the firm had dwindled to the point where it employed just seven men and had reverted to its 1878 foundry premises in School Croft, Middlesbrough.

It was at that time that the Ord family acquired the share capital from the surviving members of the Livingston family. The Ords quickly set about rebuilding the firm as an engineering and property-based company.

Through its estates company, John Livingston & Sons now boasts two industrial trading estates - one of approximately 17 acres on the south bank of the River Tyne at Hebburn with over 30 separate tenants, and another small industrial estate in Stockton-on-Tees. In addition, it has a further four engineering facilities throughout the north-east of England. While it is unlikely ever to return to its glory days of more than a century ago, it continues to be a family business, well funded and totally independent.

Fairfield Industries Limited

Bernard J Ord, Chairman of Fairfield Industries and associated companies

industrial engineers, specialising in providing a tailored service to the secured lending industry. Over the course of the past 25 years, Fairfield Industries have developed a range of skills in lifting and moving equipment to provide what is believed to be a unique service to financial institutions and secured lenders throughout the UK and occasionally mainland Europe too.

With its extensive workshop and storage facilities, the company has the ability to remove a complete manufacturing plant from a factory at short notice and transfer it to Fairfield’s own secured storage and resale facilities.

The company owns more than 200,000 sq. ft. of storage facilities, of which over 100,000 sq. ft. boast the benefit of electric overhead travelling cranage, with the ability to handle up to 80 tons in a single lift.

The facilities are believed to be the UK’s largest for the storage of machine tools and industrial plant. The plant and equipment is held on behalf of secured lenders, in virtually every case rent free, fully secured and insured, while arrangements are made for the equipment to be either sold or put back into productive use.

A Tailord Service

Fairfield Industries' Middlesbrough Works offers first class storage facilities

Fairfield Industries has built a very close business relationship with a small number of prominent financial institutions. In some cases, the company’s work begins before the secured lender has even entered into an agreement, because Fairfield provides a valuation service tailored to suit the needs of the specific agreement the lender has in mind. Without charge to regular clients, the company provides an initial valuation of the asset to be leased or hired, along with the residual value covering the lease term of the agreement. An option that is proving popular in these difficult times is that Fairfield is also prepared to formally underwrite a lease proposal on a residual basis for a one-off initial fee, removing the risk element associated with dealing in used plant and equipment. Fairfield are always happy to provide a quotation on this basis or, alternatively, to express a professional valuation opinion.

Fairfield Industries’ large facilities – including mobile lifting equipment, specialist low-loaders and transport equipment held on a retained basis - mean the company can act at very short notice. On receiving a call from a secured lender to inform them that a client has defaulted and they wish us to repossess the equipment, Fairfield can usually be on the premises within 24 hours to make arrangements to disconnect and remove the equipment. The company has its own in-house electrical engineer, mechanical fitters and a Health & Safety Officer, who can produce Risk Assessments and Method Statements as required by the Health & Safety at Work Act. Fairfield also retain the services of an experienced bailiff, whose assistance may be required for those more difficult cases that are the exception rather than the rule.

Refurbishment & Rectification Services

Another wholly owned company within the organisation is Northern Machine Tools (Engineering) Limited, one of England’s oldest established machine tool engineering firms. They provide the engineering expertise to make sure equipment removed by Fairfield Industries for resale in the company’s showroom is in good working order and is safe to use in accordance with Health & Safety regulations. In conjunction with Fairfield staff, Northern Machine Tools also ensure the equipment is presented in the most attractive manner from a cosmetic and engineering viewpoint, thus enhancing the potential to achieve its maximum market value.

Resale Arrangements

Fairfield Industries sold this unique 65-tonne press to a UK manufacturer of bathroom fittings on behalf of a well-known bank

Virtually all of the equipment held within the company’s showrooms, workshop or storage areas is the property of banks, asset finance companies, secured lenders in various other capacities and, occasionally, administrators. Once it is ready and available for resale, the equipment is offered for sale on the company’s websites. One of the firm’s most important marketing tools is another of its wholly-owned subsidiaries, www.lotsurf.com, ranking among the country’s leading industrial auctioneers. Holding online auctions on a virtually continuous basis, lotsurf.com attracts bids from around the world. With less than 40% of the equipment sold on the site remaining within the UK, the company really does have a very long reach from the north-east of England!

Weekly advertisements to promote the online equipment auctions are placed within all of the leading industrial magazines. The advertising is all part of a first-class service, with no charge to clients for promotion designed to further improve the width of an already impressive client base. An advertising budget among the highest in the industry ensures a continuous stream of potential buyers and a rapid turnaround in the sale of assets entrusted to the company.

Costs - It's Less Than You Think

While Fairfield Industries are always prepared to discuss alternative proposals from banks and secured lenders, a preferred sale method is to sell equipment directly from its existing location. Naturally, this method of sale is subject to Landlord’s Waivers and the location being a suitable venue in terms of being a reasonable working environment. However, this method does mean secured lenders pay virtually no charges at all and, in essence, receive 100% of the proceeds of sale if sold by our Lotsurf.com online auction site. For large plants that require to be sold by Private Treaty, Fairfield agree specific terms, which are dependent more on the work that needs to be undertaken, rather than the value of the equipment. However, these charges tend to be a fraction of that many vendors have found commonplace among other providers.

Where equipment has to be disconnected, removed and transported by Fairfield staff - as is the situation in the majority of smaller cases - Fairfield are responsible for the Risk Assessment and Method Statements, which are supplied to the property owner at the time of removal. Fairfield also take responsibility for the safe delivery of the equipment to their facilities in the north-east of England. Because staff and labour costs are absorbed as part of the service, the only charges made to Fairfield’s clients are the actual third party costs, such as transport and cranage. Depending on the type of equipment involved, a fixed fee is then agreed to cover Fairfield’s selling and marketing costs. In every case this allows a secured lender to stay in control of the sale. Fairfield’s charges are a small percentage of the eventual selling price and there are no hidden extras.


This nine-axis CNC turning, drilling and boring machine was sold by Fairfield Industries on behalf of a secured lender

The majority of equipment dealt with by Fairfield Industries is sold via the company’s Lotsurf.com online auction site. To ensure total transparency in the procedure, the vendor receives a printout showing the exact amount bid by the winning bidder, together with all other bids received. Where equipment is sold on a Private Treaty basis, vendors are provided with copies of the sales invoices for each piece of equipment in their ownership. Fairfield’s accounts are open for scrutiny at any time by the secured lenders and banks the company works with, while Fairfield are happy to provide copies of their financial statements for those who enter into contractual arrangements with the company.


For each individual client and each individual auction sale conducted by Fairfield Industries, the proceeds of sale are held within a separate segregated account until the funds are distributed to the vendor. Payment is normally received by Fairfield within 5-10 days from the time of sale, with payments made to the vendor within 14 working days. For the avoidance of doubt, Fairfield Industries are privately funded and have no overdraft facilities or arrangements with any banks or other lenders. Amounts due to vendors resulting from the sale of equipment are totally secure as the result of the way funds are handled.

Information & Enquiries

Fairfield Industries would be delighted to meet with and provide a fuller presentation of the company’s services and facilities to secured lenders and banks that feel Fairfield may be of service to their organisation in any of the capacities described within this document. Fairfield’s aim is to develop long-term relationships with secured lenders, whereby they benefit from very low costs and charges, so achieving the highest value for their assets.

Property & Storage Services

In addition to the direct services provided to lenders and equipment owners, Fairfield Industries also have considerable storage, office and manufacturing facilities. These are available on a range of terms either for those wishing to store equipment on a long-term basis or for shorter periods pending reinstallation. The equipment is kept within a secure environment, under cranage if necessary, in ideal warehouse conditions, all at very competitive rates.

For those clients requiring regional or area offices in the north-east of England, Fairfield Industries have a range of facilities available for rent on an easy in-easy out basis. Fairfield’s range of newly built or recently refurbished offices are available either part or fully fitted to suit the specific needs of clients. The majority of these offices are located at Fairfield Industrial Park at Hebburn-on-Tyne, a site benefitting from ample car parking and round-the-clock security 365 days a year.

For more details about property and storage services, please contact John Livingston (Estates) Limited, part of the Fairfield Industries Group.