The giant Hull factory expansion safeguarding hundreds of jobs – Hull Live

Ideal presses ahead with £17m green tech development for sprawling National Avenue site
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For more than 100 years, it has been one of Hull's biggest employers. But for a gigantic factory in the heart of Hull, it looks like the best is yet to come.
A massive expansion is under way at Ideal Heating in National Avenue, where around 800 people are employed, with bosses hailing the most challenging but exciting times in the company's long history.
Founded way back in 1906, Ideal played a key role in bringing central heating into homes. Now, the firm is pioneering green technology – such as heat pumps and hydrogen boilers – which is set to revolutionise how we heat our homes all over again.
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The £17m expansion includes adding more than 13,000sq m of new manufacturing and warehousing space at the sprawling National Avenue site. Crucially, it is also due to create hundreds of new jobs and opportunities for local people.
The developments have won praise from Dame Diana Johnson, the MP for Hull North, who recently toured the new facilities. “Ideal has been in my constituency for over a century," Dame Diana said. "For me, as a constituency MP, it’s vital that we have these good jobs of the future. Green jobs in Hull are so important."
The MP added: “Ideal’s work is going to be very important in meeting our climate targets. I’m also particularly interested to hear about the jobs and opportunities for local people – and that’s why I’m really keen and really pleased to see what’s going on here.
“I think the investment into research and development is key to make sure the company is ahead of the game for future legislation around boilers and heat pumps.”
Ideal has been owned by French parent company Groupe Atlantic since 2015. In addition to the developments in National Avenue, the firm is also taking over a facility at Hessle’s Bridgehead Business Park to train engineers in the technology of the future, our sister site Business Live reports.
Ideal Heating began life in a small tin and stove shop in Massachusetts, US, in 1872 but soon blossomed into one of Hull’s most successful businesses, a pioneering company employing hundreds of people across generations.
Over the years, the firm has manufactured everything from toilets and radiators to boilers and military shells. Its American founders soon began to manufacture steam boilers and as demand grew around the world, they decided to set up a manufacturing plant in England, under the name of the National Radiator Company.
At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, the majority of the plant was turned over to the production of shells and other munitions, many manufactured by women. When peace came, the company – variously known as Ideal Standard and Ideal Boilers ove the years – pioneered taking boilers from basements into kitchens.
Steve Hairsine, chief financial officer for Groupe Atlantic UK and a director at Ideal Heating, said: "We are very proud of our history and heritage in Hull, stretching back to 1906. That’s 115 years, and we’re delighted to continue to invest in the city.
"The expansion of the site will help us create high quality jobs in the city, developing skills of the future and improving the local economy."
Last year, Ideal's sales increased by 15 per cent, taking turnover to a record £351.9 million. Shaun Edwards, who heads up Groupe Atlantic's UK arm, said: " We were very happy to welcome Diana to our head office and explain how we’re expanding our business towards achieving Net Zero targets. It’s a very challenging, yet exciting time for us, we’re seeing the biggest transformation to the industry since the introduction of high efficiency gas boilers.
“We will be designing, manufacturing, storing and distributing renewable products from our facility in Hull, plus training our customer base from our new training centre in Hessle. This will bring additional jobs as we expand our expertise and workforce.”


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