Garside has been a familiar name offering employment in the sand industry around the Leighton Buzzard area for several generations. George Garside (1848 – 1926), a local builder, started a sand business in the 1890s.
George's first sand quarry was at Billington Road. During World War One, as this pit was becoming worked out, he began to quarry at Grovebury and further expanded his operations over the years to include quarries at Heath and Reach.
The 1903 Kelly’s Trade Directory records George Garside as Silver and building sand pit owner, gravel and peat merchant, with his office (and home) at 28 Lake Street, Leighton Buzzard. In the early 1900s George Garside purchased the White House, Hockliffe Street, Leighton Buzzard and worked on it, adding a tower, and offices in the adjacent stabling. The Italianate style grand house, originally built in 1875, remains a landmark in the town. It is used (in 2009) by Leighton-Linslade Town Council.
In the late 1950s Garside’s office, at 39 Hockliffe Street, was in the former head groom’s house adjacent to the White House stables. The District Council moved into the White House in 1962 and used the stables as the Electrical Department and storage room. The Groom’s house was sold.
Every Easter, George’s wife travelled on one of Garside’s narrow boats to Paddington Basin to distribute Easter’s eggs, or oranges, to the boat children. George’s nephew, Hugh F Delafield (1891 – 1957) worked for him and, after George’s death in 1926, Hugh managed the operation on behalf of George’s widow until her death in 1931, after which he took full control. The 1936 Kelly’s Directory has the entry Garside Geo. sand mers. TA Garside, Leighton Buzzard.
On Hugh’s death in 1957 the business was left to his sons, John G and William H Delafield. Opportunity was then taken to expand and modernise and on 1 January 1960 George Garside Ltd was formed. William Delafield introduced a significant new hydro-cyclone process which further improved the quality of the pure silica sand.
A catalogue of the company’s archive is available here.
At the end of 1978 the company, then trading as George Garside Sand Ltd, was sold to a customer, English China Clays. Subsequent years have seen demergers and acquisitions. Today (2009) Aggregate Industries Ltd continues to trade as Garside Sands at Eastern Way, Heath & Reach www.garside-sands.com and aims to continue the reputable ‘family business style’ started by George Garside.
Leighton Buzzard Light Railway by Sydney Leleux p16
Narrow Gauge Tracks in the sand Rod Dingwall p39
The Story of Leighton Buzzard and Linslade R V Willis p68 - 69
Viv Willis interview
Bob Blake interview
www.leighton-linslade.org – with Kelly’s Trade Directories