Spotlight on Stanford Marsh: half a century of change

Stanford Marsh 50 years LFR

Worcester-based graphics hardware and materials distributor, Stanford Marsh, has been proudly celebrating its 50th year of trading success

The year 1965 was to prove a culturally upbeat time for Britain, Mary Quant’s miniskirt was seen in the King’s Road, London, for the first time, and the Beatle’s film, ‘Help!’ premiered at the London Pavilion Theatre. The Rolling Stones stormed the charts with their hit single ‘I can’t get no satisfaction’ and Gerry Anderson’s ‘Thunderbirds’ series graced TV screens in stunning ‘Supermarionation’. It was evidently a great time for long lasting classics to be created, something also noticed in drawing offices throughout the UK.

For in that same year, from the charmingly named Arboretum Road, Worcester, Mr Stanford Marsh began supplying architectural and technical draughtsmen with drawing office supplies and consumables such as drawing boards, technical pens and pre-printed drawing sheets, alongside Diazo printers and their associated consumables.

Stanford Marsh offices being built LFR

[above photo shows Buckholt Drive HQ under construction]

Stanford Marsh knuckled down to his trade and through hard work and determination his company prospered. In 1982 his enlarged team relocated to purpose-built offices in Buckholt Drive, Worcester, which have remained the company’s Group Headquarters until the present day. The eponymous supply and distribution company now owns five regional offices throughout the UK, employs more than 100 staff and has a turnover in excess of £15 million. What else has changed over the last 50 years?

Stanford Marsh offices aerial view LFR

[above photo shows aeriel view of Buckholt Drive]

Drawing boards and technical pens have long gone, along with the almost ubiquitous drawing offices. Modern day graphics providers and design professionals depend on CAD (computer aided design) software. Stanford Marsh’s CAD Division – Cadspec Limited − was established 1989 during the digital boom and has since been recognised as an ‘Autodesk Gold Partner’. Such Gold Partners have to provide technical expertise in specific industries, solutions, support, training, implementation and consulting services − while also providing solutions from conceptual design through to analytics within a 3D environment. 

Cadspec also helps AEC design processionals to collaborate on projects in the cloud, with approved Building Information Modelling (BIM) compatible systems, as well as helping manufacturing companies to get their product catalogues into a BIM ready format. 

Printers such as Diazo machines, once so common they were responsible for designs being called blueprints, have evolved a great deal since 1965. The years have seen the development of large-format printing systems through Xerographic type printers to today’s high-speed models. All the while manufacturers have worked to reduce costs and increase quality while making their systems more and more environmentally friendly.

Colour printers today print as fast and costs have reduced to the equivalent of old black and white, LED systems. Thanks to its breadth of knowledge Stanford Marsh is also one of only two companies in mainland UK designated to sell the much awaited, HP Pagewide 8000 system.

Not content with sitting on its laurels, Stanford Marsh Limited has stretched its expertise beyond its traditional CAD and technical markets into the colour print-for-pay arena. Stanford Marsh Group Graphics (SMGG) was created to specialise in the signage, display and graphical markets, adding leading brands such as Mimaki print & cut devices and flat-bed printers plus HP Latex printing systems to the parent company’s portfolio −  as well distributing genuine OEM inks, quality RIP solutions and its own-brand media.

Stanford Marsh offices showing Stanford Marsh LFR

[above image shows Stanford Marsh outside the eponymous Stanford Marsh HQ]

Future trends

Stanford Marsh has proven it has a well-tuned nose for change, so what does it see as the next major trend? 3D printers are developing exciting potential and have become a large part of its offering over the last few years. With its dedicated team working under the trading name of SMG3D, Stanford Marsh has amassed an impressive line-up of Stratasys 3D printers for the professional market, as well as low-cost devices for the home/hobbyist users. Experts estimate 3D print will be worth circa $20 billion worldwide by 2020, and Stanford Marsh is offering informed advice to customers new to such emerging technologies to help them make the right choices. The uses for the new technology are legion, rapid prototyping to prove fit, form & function or direct digital manufacturing of end parts for dental technicians, aerospace engineers, health professionals, manufacturing specialists and the AEC markets to name just a few. Stanford Marsh has the 3D tools and expertise to help customers revolutionise the way they work.

The company’s success has been underpinned by its carefully designed support services, such as Stanford Marsh Finance Limited its independent finance provider, which can help simplify the buying process for some customers. Fast and convenient delivery of product to customers throughout the UK is aided by its three, conveniently located distribution centres, while Stanford Marsh’s noted after-sales care and support service is provided by its expert team of manufacturer-trained, field service engineers.

Looking to the future, Group Director Adrian Painter said, “Fundamentally, what many of our customers do for a living hasn’t changed over the 50 years we’ve been in business. House builders still build houses, motor companies still manufacture cars, and utility companies provide services and so on. It’s the tools they use to design, communicate and build or manufacture that have changed. Our job has always been to stay abreast of, and in some cases ahead of, those changes so we can advise customers on their next step and help them make the right decisions. We believe we were trusted advisors to design professionals in 1965 and have remained so to the present day.”

Painter continues, “We are proud to have celebrated our half-century in 2015 and we’re happy that the company is still spearheaded by our founder, Stanford Marsh, who remains our company Chairman. In July we held a corporate event at the Belfry Golf Club, during which 24 staff and customers enjoyed a marvellous day playing the immaculate Brabazon course. We fielded six teams sponsored by our key partners, which included Canon, HP, Stratasys and Ricoh.

“Furthermore, we had a fun day out for all our staff and their families and partners, which we held at Stanbrook Abbey on a glorious summer’s day in August. These events have truly capped off what has been a fantastic, land-mark year, and has highlighted this stage in Stanford Marsh’s wonderful journey while thanking all those who have played a part in our success. Here’s to the next 50 years of Stanford Marsh success.”

For more information on Stanford Marsh, please visit

Stanford Marsh speech LFR

[above photo shows Stanford Marsh speaking at 50th anniversary event]