Edward Elijah Smith
1897 – 1947
EE Smith was founded in 1897 by Edward Elijah Smith who ran his business from a small shop on Canning Street, Leicester. The self proclaimed, ‘Master Craftsman’ was skilled as a plumber, gas and bar fitter! He supplied and repaired gas stoves and gas chandeliers, proclaiming with understated professional pride, that all kind of repairs would be ‘neatly executed’.
EESmith took on a number of young apprentices to aid his flourishing business and as the business prospered, it moved to new premises in 1937. In the same year, 14-year-old Basil Richardson was taken on as an apprentice, making pewter basins.
Many of EE Smith’s apprentices ended up going to fight in the World War II, many of whom did not return. But in 1947, following his wartime service in the Royal Navy, Basil Richardson returned to Leicester to find Edward Elijah Smith in poor health and the business in decline. At the age of 24, Basil became EE Smith Contracts’ Managing Director, Foreman and Entire Workforce.
1947 – 1989
Basil served in the Royal Navy from 1941-1947, leaving with the rank of Chief Petty Officer; a rank that was given to him at just 21 years old, one of the youngest in the Royal Navy. Upon Basil’s return and finding Edward Elijah Smith in poor health he took on the role as EE Smith Contract’s Managing Director.
It is doubtful that many other men would have been able to save a company which was knocking on deaths door, let alone build it up into the large undertaking it was to become. However, with unparalleled spirit and hard work Basil Richardson not only saved the company, but put it back on the long road to prosperity. In the process creating secure skilled jobs and a reputation for the getting the job done at the right price and best quality – a principle which has continued over the years.
In 1966 the company changed it’s name from EE Smith Bar Fitters to EE Smith Contracts.
Rodney & Nigel Richardson
1989 – 2015
Basil’s eldest son’s Rodney and Nigel worked their way up through the business and eventually took over from their father. They had their Dad’s tenacity and strong beliefs to do things right, at the right price and of the best quality, whilst maintaining the family ethos.
Under their stewardship EE Smiths continued to prosper through the 1990’s and into the new millennium when the company expanded and developed into the Super Prime Residential and 5 Star Hotel market. Huge investment into cutting edge technology saw the company continuing to lead the market in providing high quality joinery and interiors to all sectors of the UK and at times overseas market, including most European countries.
Under their management, the business completed works for world renowned names such as The Savoy Hotel, Grosvenor House, Rocco Forte & The Houses of Parliament, launching EE Smith Contracts into the Luxury Interior Fit Out Market.
(L to R: Nigel Richardson, Rodney Richardson)
Management Buy Out
2016 – Present
In January 2016, the current directors assumed control of the business via a management buyout funded by the private equity firm Maven Capital Partners.
Since the buy out, the EE Smith Contract has secured it’s biggest contract to date; a £35 million, 350 Bedroom, Full Fit Out of a 5 Star Flagship Hotel in the centre of Leicester Square. Iconic projects have followed, with works at Battersea Power Station, 1 Grosv Square and further projects in the most desired postcodes in the country.
With continued investments into machinery, technology and apprentices; the business has and will continue to grow significantly under it’s owners and carry on to hold the strong ethics and work belief established over 100 years ago by Edward Elijah Smith.