A proud Cumbrian Company
DA Harrison is very much a family run business, established in 1958 it is now one of the leading haulage firms based in Cumbria.
As well as a dedicated haulage division we offer a diverse range of services which includes, pallet manufacturing, numerous storage options, fuel station with on-site shop, skip hire, waste recovery and recycling, ready mix concrete, pre-stressed concrete panels and aggregate supplier to name but a few. We aim to provide an outstanding service with very competitive rates, whatever we do for you.
DA Harrison history and growth of a family business
David Alan Harrison left school in 1953 and helped on the family farm. He went on to do some seasonal work, which included farming, joinery, demolition contractors, quarries and started felling trees. He built a large stock of timber during the summer months and when the winter came, he started sawing logs, bagged them and loaded them onto a tractor and trailers and delivered to surrounding towns. This turned out to be a good business and later he started selling potatoes and vegetables along with the firewood.
He went on to purchase his first lorry which was a three-ton Austin Petrol model, he sold logs and produce off the wagon and it increased dramatically and soon enough he was able to purchase a second lorry a Guy Otter wagon with an 18ft flat platform with a 10-ton carrying capacity and was able to deliver bigger loads and go further afield.
In 1958 he founded DA Harrison and started doing haulage, hauling farm feeds, hay, straw and fertilisers for local farmers. In the autumn he bought 500 acres of straw from a farmer in Berwick, he baled the straw and transported over to Cumberland and sold it to local farmers to raise enough money to buy a third wagon. It was an Albian Clydesdale 10 tonner in very good condition and registration number was SAO 863. He used this wagon for full time, long distance haulage with a local firm and drove the wagon himself.
In 1961 he was involved in a bad car accident and was unable to work and had to recover, it was then he had to employ a member of staff and once he was recovered, they drove a wagon each and concentrated on the transport business.
In 1962 He married Margaret Harrison, who worked tirelessly alongside him to create the business we have today.
In 1963 he changed two flat wagons for two tippers and in 1965 he was asked to bring a load of sand from Armathwaite, near Carlisle to Distington in West Cumbria. The next day he asked if he could take them a sample of sand to look to see if it was suitable and the manager agreed. He went to see his father about a block of land on the farm that wasn’t been used and his father later agreed to sell the land. The sand passed all the tests and they started quarrying the following week. The following years were spent opening the quarry, acquiring plant, selling the product, and buying more wagons. This also developed a premises and built a storage building.
By 1970 they had seven vehicles on the road and went on to purchase more land for the sand and by 1973 they opened our new quarry and named it Hangingshaw Quarry.
During the early 70’s they started operating a flat haulage vehicles and in June 1976. They extended the business securing some contracts, workshops and storage premises. This allowed them to acquire new customers and offer storage to them.
In 1978 they purchased Watsons Garage, Waverton which is now known as Coppins Garage. The premises were ideal for a storage facility and expand the filling station and have an onsite workshop.
During the 70’s the sand and gravel business was doing well, and they decided to go into ready mixed concrete. The thought behind this venture was that they were producing the sand and aggregate required for concrete which only left them with cement to buy. They set about and constructed a batch plant and had many great years in concrete.
In 1979 Alan applied and was granted planning permission to open a quarry for sand and gravel extraction at Hill House on two fields north of Cobble Hall. Later in 1979 they applied for planning permission to make Aldoth Quarry into a waste disposal site and started accepting waste. In the 1982 they purchased a skip hire business which still continues to this day.
Later in 1980 and after much thought they decided to apply for a Stevedore licence at Silloth port, after it had been unmanned for numerous years. They got the licence to be the port stevedore’s and are still handling cargos of animal feed and fertilizer to this day.
Between 1980 & 1987 their children had finished their education and all progressed into the family business.
In 1989 they purchased Hetherington’s Sawmill at Wigton which consisted of an office block, buildings and storage yard. Today the offices are leased and the yard is used as an operating centre.
Also in 1989 Atlas Concrete was established, they produced T Beams and precast Agricultural panels.
In 2001 we added to Silloth Airfield when we bought three storage buildings known as Johnston Controls which provides the main base for our storage operation.
2012 we expanded the ready-mix concrete operation with the purchase of two plants at Carlisle and the other in Workington. It provided us with a great opportunity to boost the business. This also provided valuable sales outlets for our sand and stone.
In 2014 we started significant investment into the Hollowcore production bed and imported a new German Weiler plant to manufacture Hollowcore this started production in 2015. This was an exciting time for us as it was a big step for the business into a new sector. We also moved the head office to Silloth into a new space at Solway House. This brought together finance, transport, and Atlas Concrete operations under one roof.
In 2021 Atlas Concrete acquired Matrix Moulds & Models Limited in St Helens. After working together and building a great business relationship over many years. This now gives an opportunity to expand and develop their product range in the precast industry. Supplying moulds for stairs, landings, railway infrastructure, and other specialist products.
In 2022 we opened our ready mix concrete plant in Penrith, also having batching plants in Silloth, Workington and Carlisle it gives us the best opportunity to provide for our customers.
In 2023 Atlas Concrete acquired ACP Concrete Limited. This strategic move marks a significant milestone for Atlas Concrete, adding production at factories in Workington and Manchester.
The company is still a family operated business with Willie, David, Richard & Judy, with their family helping out with day-to-day operations of DA Harrison and Atlas Concrete and expanding the business to its full potential.