H. Waterhouse & Sons had been trading for 150 years

A Leeds-based fit-out specialist which has been trading for 150 years has gone under.

Administrators from Begbies Traynor in Leeds were appointed to wind-up H. Waterhouse & Sons (Wakefield) late last week.

Based in East Ardsley, near Wakefield, the company dates back to 1853 when the great grandfather of the current director established the business which provided building refurbishment and office interiors throughout West Yorkshire.

Joint administrators Lee Lockwood and Bob Maxwell said that due to a downturn in the construction and refurbishment sectors the business, which reported a pre-tax profit of £205,933 last year, hit trading difficulties in recent months, experiencing reduced opportunities and continually tightening margins. 

The company ceased trading on 3 October and all 21 staff have been made redundant. 

Lockwood said: “The underlying cause of the company’s failure appears to be a slowdown in development and refurbishment activity in the face of economic uncertainty and, unfortunately, the business simply proved to be non-viable.  

“It is sad to see a business which has been operating for so long and has been run by the same family for four generations ceasing to trade in this manner.

“Unfortunately, due to a lack of ongoing projects, there was no prospect of rescuing the business. We are in the process of disposing of the company’s assets and actively pursuing its debts in order to generate the best return for creditors.”

In its last set of financial results the firm recorded a turnover of £4.8m.

The company had recently completed a refurbishment of Arena Point in Leeds’ reception area with JLL and of Simpson Millar Solicitors’ Leeds office.

The news comes as the number of construction firms going under is on the rise, with the number of companies entering administration soaring in the wake of Carillion’s collapse.

Following Carillion’s failure in January, 780 construction firms fell into insolvency in the first quarter of 2018, a 20% increase on the same three months a year ago, according to accountant Moore Stephens.