Lytham equestrian company Day, Son and Hewitt proud of its longstanding Royal Warrant
PUBLISHED: 10:20 04 June 2012 | UPDATED: 19:36 18 April 2016
A Lytham company steeped in history is helping to keep horses healthy across the planet. Roger Borrell reports Photography by Kirsty Thompson
The old cloth-bound volume bears the words ‘Recipe Book’ and from the cover it looks like the sort of cherished tome handed down the generations from great grandma’s day.
But flick through its yellowing pages and you will find nothing remotely like a dainty dish. Instead, it lists the ingredients for strange brews such as Aintree Poultice, Black Drench and Red Paste Balls.
These are among hundreds of remedies for horses and, while many go back to the early 1800s, they are the building blocks of a very modern and extremely successful company.
So successful in fact that they have held a royal warrant since 1865, supplying the Queen’s household as well as the Household Cavalry. It makes them one of the oldest firms to continuously hold this coveted badge of excellence – quite something when you consider the warrants are reviewed every eight years.
The company is Day, Son and Hewitt and it is based on a small industrial estate tucked behind an out-of-town McDonald’s on the outskirts of Lytham.
It was started in London in 1833 by the three men named in the title but it was an association which didn’t last. When the split came, the business migrated north, first to Crewe and then Lancaster in the late 1800s before ending up on the Fylde coast.
Here, under the parent company Tangerine Holdings, it has developed and grown, with a staff of 130 now supplying supplements and remedies to an impressive 41 countries across the planet. While the recession has impacted on UK businesses, the company has had considerable overseas success and it will be partly due to the royal patronage. Currently about 40 per cent of all their output is exported.
‘We are extremely proud to have held the royal warrant for so long,’ says Sue Taylor, who is in charge of sales. ‘It’s a sign of quality for our customers and it must make a difference when people are deciding which products to purchase.
‘We get tremendous feedback from customers. They tell us our products are second to none. They are the premium products.’ Equine director Florencia Arrambide adds: ‘In independent surveys, our brand is the one that is most recognised.’
Hardly surprising when you see the beautifully-made tinplate boxes the sachets of treatments come in. They hark back to the company’s 19th century roots and press home the heritage of the firm.
Many of the old remedies in that recipe book would not be permitted today, but the company continues to use many natural ingredients, such as meadowsweet and mint because they still work.
However, the manufacturing process is very different from those with the sort of top-of-the-range equipment and hygiene standards you would expect to find in a factory making pharmaceuticals for human consumption. Every raw ingredient that comes in goes through a rigorous testing process to guarantee quality and it is handled in areas which are virtually sterile.
There are also laboratories devoted to research and development, finding new treatments for horses and to look at way products used for other animals might be used to help horses.
Day, Son and Hewitt makes a simple but effective range of seven products. Many are designed to help with arthritic problems afflicting horses, particularly wear and tear on joints.
One of the most popular is Relaxin, which helps to calm stressed horses especially when they are being transported or are performing in front of crowds. Next time you marvel at the placid nature of one of the Queen’s horses as it parades down The Mall, it will probably be down to Day, Son and Hewitt.
The print version of this article appeared in the June 2012 issue of Lancashire Life
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