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Company History


The original business was started by Charles and William Buswell who came to Torquay and took over an existing Ironmongery business in 1876. The Ironmongery was soon extended to the manufacture of Metal Frame Tents and Garden Furniture and we believe that at the present day there are some of the original type Garden Seats in the Rock walk and also the covered walkways along Torbay Road.

In 1925 the title of the Company was changed to C. Buswell and sons Ltd, under the Chairmanship of Charles Buswell. His sons, Charles, Frank and Cyril Buswell were made Directors of the company. In 1927, Charles Buswell Sr. died and Charles Grimsley Buswell took over the Chairmanship.

After the end of the First World War, the activities extended to plumbing and building, and in approximately 1927, the distributorship of Frigidaire equipment, which covered most of Devon and Somerset, was taken on.

During the Second World War the premises of Union Street were blasted by a German Bomb during a hit and run raid seriously damaging the front of the building – this was the same raid in which the church of St. Marychurch suffered a direct hit, killing 23 children.

Because of the restrictions on the supply of petrol during the war, service engineers had to be stationed in the areas in which they worked i.e. Exeter, Barnstaple and Taunton, with additional premises.

In 1948 the refrigeration business had expanded to such an extent that the existing premises were too small. Additional property was purchased in Bath Lane where the service department transferred to; this was also where all the new equipment was stored. However this side of the business continued to grow, therefore, even larger premises were needed, and we were the first to purchase land behind what was then the Devon & General bus terminal, now Focus, on what has now become the Woodland Road Industrial Estate.

The site was purchased in 1957 and the premises were gradually built by our own staff over the next decade. As each section was finished that part of the business was moved.

Finally in 1967 the main retail shop in Union Street was sold and the rest of the staff moved to Woodland Road.

Having moved to Woodland Road, activities in the sheet metal shop were greatly increased and concentrated on the manufacture of ducting for air conditioning for new buildings.

In 1963 the household Frigidaire wholesaling business was relinquished by us and in its place we were given the commercial distributorship which extended to cover the whole of Cornwall and the Scilly Isles necessitating the purchase of further depots in Plymouth and Truro.

  • In 1968 Charles Buswell passed away and Cyril Buswell became Chairman.
  • In 1976 C. Buswell and Sons celebrated their Centenary at the Palace hotel.
  • In 1980 Cyril Buswell retired and Jack Buswell became Chairman.
  • On September 2nd 1983 the business was sold and two of the directors Brian and Paul Buswell formed B&P Buswell and Paul Buswell became Chairman.
  • On 26th April 1986. The company moved into their present converted premises at Compton, which had been renovated over the preceding 3 months.
    In August 2006 Ian Buswell, Paul Buswell’s son joined the company.
  • At Christmas 2007 Brian Buswell retired although he still maintains an interest in the business on a consultancy basis and Ian became company secretary.