Established in 1880 by John Coates, Turner & Coates continues to thrive in the constantly changing and demanding world of global inspection, expediting, quality management and supplier assurance.
From our very first overseas venture in 1886, overseeing the construction of gas works in Victoria, South East Australia, we’ve had neither the time nor reason to look back. Today, we boast an international client base and a range of quality management, inspection, expediting and auditing services that can be seamlessly applied to the majority of the world’s major industries.
Our many years in business have seen the Turner & Coates service portfolio adapt and evolve, in order to anticipate and react to changes in a worldwide marketplace. However, as the originators in our field, we see excellence and efficiency as timeless business attributes, and believe our comprehensive service package to be unparalleled in both its scope and application.
We’re justly proud of our rich industry heritage, here at Turner & Coates, as we look to the future and commit ourselves to enhancing our standards of service, innovation and expertise still further in this, our third century in business.
Turner & Coates - the standard-bearers!
The Coates Dynasty
Founded in 1880 by North East engineer John Coates, Turner & Coates (then John Coates and Co.) first set up offices in Cannon Street, London. His partner in this venture was Cuthbert Lee, with the newly-formed company acting as agents across a number of key engineering disciplines, chiefly gasification, hydraulics and ships equipment.
By 1885, the company was growing at a rapid rate, winning several major contracts over in Australia. Leaving Cuthbert Lee and nephew, George Swinburne in charge, Coates departed for Melbourne to oversee the building of gas works in the townships of the then British colony of Victoria. John Coates and Co. also promoted and co-ordinated the formation of the Colonial Gas Association, which went on to build and operate gas works in towns throughout Australia.
Over the next few years, Coates made several trips from Melbourne back to London to see how his business was developing. In 1895, he again broke new boundaries by moving, with his family, to Canada, initially settling in Ottawa, before moving on to Toronto. During this time, he established Canadian-based business interests and was also appointed President of the Ottawa Gas Company.
A true pioneer in his field, Coates - who died in 1914 - came home to London in 1905, to act as a Consultant Purchasing & Inspection Engineer for several Australian and Canadian governmental offices including railways, tramways and harbour trusts.
By this time, Matthew Coates (another of John’s nephews) had joined the family business. A qualified design draftsman and former Chief of Electrical Staff at leading shipbuilder Doxford, based in Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, Matthew was the Engineering Manager of John Coates and Co. until 1908. Following in his uncle’s ground-breaking footsteps, Matthew also moved to Melbourne leaving younger brother Frederick in charge of proceedings at the company’s Cannon Street headquarters. Accompanying him on his voyage to Australia was a Consulting Agreement from the Westinghouse Brake Company. This immediately took him into every railway system in Australia and New Zealand.
Back here in the UK, Kitty Coates, John’s daughter, married Sir Edward Peacock in 1909. A director of both Barings and the Bank of England, Sir Edward was soon appointed Chairman of the newly-formed John Coates and Company Limited, working alongside MD Frederick Coates in an association that lasted up until the end of the First World War.
By 1927, John Coates and Company Limited had become well-established as a leader in the field of international inspection engineering, as well as shipping & forwarding representatives for gas, rail and pulp & paper corporations in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The years 1927 to 1930 saw the re-building of the Bank of England and Sir Edward Peacock was closely involved. The installation of the new electric lifts at Threadneedle Street was supervised by the manufacturer’s engineer, Ted Turner, who was staying at the Coates offices for the duration of the project, due to their convenient location.
By 1932, MD Frederick Coates’ health was deteriorating and company Chairman Sir Edward suggested that Ted Turner be offered a job to assist Frederick, and assume control of all engineering activities. Upon Frederick’s death, the company was reconstituted as A.E. Turner and John Coates Limited, with Ted Turner as a shareholder and later Managing Director.
Turner & Coates - the industry pioneers!
The Turner Connection
Now led by Ted Turner, the company set about expanding its overseas interests by offering a dedicated purchasing service here in the UK, and in Europe, for international buyers. In those early days, our clients included Victorian State Railways and the Melbourne Harbour Trust.
It was also during this time that our unique ‘expediting’ service was created, to provide clients with more than the customary progress reports. A.E. Turner & John Coates Limited could supply a service designed to ensure that equipment was delivered on time, and to exact specifications.
During the Second World War, a long-lasting relationship was forged with New Zealand Forest Products (NZFP). It began with tests in Härnösand, Eastern Sweden. These were carried out using NZFP timber, to determine whether it could be used in the manufacture of insulating board. This experiment was repeated in 1945, when a quantity of timber was shipped to America for conversion into wrapping paper.
In 1946, Ted was appointed President of the Royal Society of Engineers, whilst 1948 saw the beginnings of a key association with Sandwell and Co. Limited of Vancouver. This resulted in many projects inspecting and expediting paper machinery both here in the UK and in Scandinavia, from Walmsley’s in Bolton, Lancashire and Black Clawson in Newport, Gwent, to a number of key manufacturers over in Sweden.
The NZFP experiments had proved that Radiata Pine could indeed be used in a variety of applications. The upshot was that plans for four paper machines for NZFP’s Tokoroa Mill, along with board machines for the Whakatane Mill, were approved in Turner & Coates’ offices, now on The Strand, London. Later, this progressed to complete integrated paper mills on New Zealand’s North Island.
Meanwhile over in Canada, Turner & Coates were retained by British Aluminium (Alcan), when they built their huge new rolling mills in Baie-Comeau, Quebec.
During the 1960’s, Ted began to retreat from day-to-day company activities, preferring to leave operations to then Managing Director, David D’Eath. Succeeded by Peter Leigh and then John Todd, the company went through a series of mergers and buy-outs. Turner & Coates did not perform particularly well in this conglomerate atmosphere. However, in 1993, the company returned to private ownership, and is once again thriving in today’s fiercely competitive global marketplace.
Turner & Coates - taking it to the world!