Company History

In 1935 Mr Desmond Chandler approached two of his old school friends with a proposition to assist him in his newly acquired venture of an Ironmonger's shop. He had recently purchased a property at 91/92 Westgate, Grantham, with help and encouragement from his father and the Midland Bank. One of the friends was Mr Joe Pell, who at that time was employed at Garner's Ironmonger's shop in Melton Mowbray. The other, Mr Tom Caunt, was already employed by Mr Chandler at his Orston based Sectional Wooden Buildings Manufacturing Company.
 
Both were enthusiastic and prepared to join Mr Chandler in his new venture. So the Ironmonger's shop D. E. Chandler opened, and in the 1940's all three joined in partnership together, continuing to develop and expand the shop, branching into farm machinery (later to acquire the Massey-Harris distributorship for the Grantham area), also fire grates, bathrooms, kitchens, Aga cookers and light fittings.

The catch phrase was "We sell everything from a Tin Tack to a Tractor".

In 1935 Mr Desmond Chandler approached two of his old school friends with a proposition to assist him in his newly acquired venture of an Ironmonger's shop. He had recently purchased a property at 91/92 Westgate, Grantham, with help and encouragement from his father and the Midland Bank. One of the friends was Mr Joe Pell, who at that time was employed at Garner's Ironmonger's shop in Melton Mowbray. The other, Mr Tom Caunt, was already employed by Mr Chandler at his Orston based Sectional Wooden Buildings Manufacturing Company.
 
Both were enthusiastic and prepared to join Mr Chandler in his new venture. So the Ironmonger's shop D. E. Chandler opened, and in the 1940's all three joined in partnership together, continuing to develop and expand the shop, branching into farm machinery (later to acquire the Massey-Harris distributorship for the Grantham area), also fire grates, bathrooms, kitchens, Aga cookers and light fittings.

The catch phrase was "We sell everything from a Tin Tack to a Tractor".

Key milestones in the company's history include:

1935

– The Ironmonger's shop D. E. Chandler opened at 91/92 Westgate, Grantham. With an advertisement placed in the Grantham Journal announcing the opening.

Here's News For You!

"A really first-class Ironmongery Store". Chandlers opens for business circa 1935.

"A really first-class Ironmongery Store". Chandlers opens for business circa 1935.

1930’s

– The old yard and workshop at Westgate Grantham was erected before the war by Desmond Chandler, and some parts of it are still being used today. The remainder was replaced with a tailor-made parts store which provided quick service for more than 2,000 local farmers.

Massey-Harris was first advertised for sale by Chandlers in the Grantham Journal in a public exhibition in Grantham Castle Grounds in May 1939.

1940

– Chandlers becomes Calor Gas suppliers.

Leicestershire Show

Chandlers stand at Stapleford Park in 1949 included a comprehensive range of the latest tractors, combines and implements.

Chandlers stand at Stapleford Park in 1949 included a comprehensive range of the latest tractors, combines and implements.

1952

– Chandlers first exhibits at the Lincolnshire Show held at Belton Park on 18th & 19th June 1952.

Ready-for-action

Lineup of Massey-Harris 726 combine harvesters, early 1950s. Sent in ‘kit’ form for assembly, in one year 72 were sold in the Grantham area costing £875 each.

Lineup of Massey-Harris 726 combine harvesters, early 1950s. Sent in ‘kit’ form for assembly, in one year 72 were sold in the Grantham area costing £875 each.

1957

– The distributorship for Esso Farm Fuels was acquired for the Grantham and Bourne areas.

1959

– Mr Desmond Chandler retired leaving the business with Mr Joe Pell and Mr Tom Caunt. The Company retained the name of D. E. Chandler which was now well established in the area.

D. E. Chandler

Massey-Harris Rep on the phone, with the three founding partners looking on from left to right, are Mr Tom Caunt, Mr Joe Pell and Mr Desmond Chandler.

Massey-Harris Rep on the phone, with the three founding partners looking on from left to right, are Mr Tom Caunt, Mr Joe Pell and Mr Desmond Chandler.

1964

– The site at Belton was acquired for the agricultural section of the business.

1970

– The Massey Ferguson business from West Tractors Limited was purchased giving coverage of central Lincolnshire through to the East Coast with depots at Lincoln and Horncastle opening.

1972

– After training at Massey Ferguson in Coventry, Mr Pell's son Howard joined the Company as a salesman at Belton.

New Site at Spilsby

New life at the Maltings. Chandlers’ depot at Spilsby was originally a Maltings and when the company bought the premises it was used for storage.

New life at the Maltings. Chandlers’ depot at Spilsby was originally a Maltings and when the company bought the premises it was used for storage.

1973

– Spilsby depot opens run by Howard Pell.  

1973

 – Chandlers obtain Esso Fuels distributorship for Lincoln, Gainsborough, Immingham and Newark. 

Belton Workshops

Chandlers Belton in 1976 when the new MF 500 tractor series was unveiled.

Chandlers Belton in 1976 when the new MF 500 tractor series was unveiled.

1980’s

– The Depots at Belton, Lincoln, Horncastle and Spilsby - all part of Pell (Holdings) Limited, develop complementary ranges of products to the Massey Ferguson dealership. With the emphasis on high tradition of value and service to the customer, the Company also started dealing in motor vehicles.

In 1983 the Belton depot became a Landrover Dealer and Subaru cars were added to the range at Horncastle in 1985 and Lincoln in 1987. After closing the Landrover Dealership, Belton became a Subaru Dealership in 1989 which was also the year the new showrooms were built.  

1983

– Chandlers de-merge with Mr Joe Pell and Mr Tom Caunt dividing the Company between the two now developing families. Mr Pell took over the whole of the Farm Equipment business and the head office for Chandlers (Farm Equipment) Limited was placed at Belton, with Mr Joe Pell as Chairman and Mr Howard Pell as Managing Director.  Mr Caunt took control of the shop at Westgate, Grantham and the Oil and Gas business.

1989

– Chandlers bought the agricultural business from TMS in Melton adding to the geographical area of the Company and a new depot was opened in Melton Mowbray.

1990

– Sadly, Mr Joe Pell died in November of this year having gained the respect and admiration of employees and customers throughout the farming community. The following month the Caunt family also closed the shop at 91/92 Westgate, Grantham and a chapter in history closed.

Mr Joe Pell

Mr Joe Pell at home on his Massey Ferguson 1020 compact tractor.

Mr Joe Pell at home on his Massey Ferguson 1020 compact tractor.

1993

– The Melton depot moved into new premises at Thorpe Arnold which incorporated a car showroom and workshop facilities for Daihatsu. A new showroom facility was built at Lincoln for Subaru and Isuzu with the previous car showroom being developed into a Chandlers equestrian country store.

Top Performing Dealer

This continued growth saw Chandlers awarded the accolade of being the Top Performing AGCO Dealer in Europe in 1995.

This continued growth saw Chandlers awarded the accolade of being the Top Performing AGCO Dealer in Europe in 1995.

1998

– AGCO (parent company of Massey Ferguson) acquire the Fendt tractor brand and Chandlers are appointed distributors.

2001

– Belton, Lincoln and Horncastle showrooms were refurbished in line with International Motors corporate image, also adding a new agricultural workshop at Horncastle and a country store, thus adding to the now developing country stores at Belton, Lincoln and Spilsby.

Chandlers acquired from Boston Tractors two new Agricultural and Horticultural Depots at Holbeach and Barnack.

2002

– Country Stores were developed at Barnack.

Early 2000’s

– The addition of the Challenger tracked tractor franchise (2002) further enhanced the company’s product offering, especially in the rapidly growing high HP market sector, both Fendt and Challenger brands from the AGCO Corporation with its “Always Growing” tagline.

The 3rd generation of the Pell Family to join the business included Gavin Pell, who joined the business in 2003 as a salesman at Lincoln, and Felicity Hart (née Pell) who joined the business developing Chandlers Country Stores.

Chandlers are proud to have been awarded Challenger dealer of the year in 2004, 2006, 2007 & 2008. This did not reduce the effort being made with the Massey Ferguson franchise with Chandlers also being awarded top UK volume dealer in 2004 for Massey Ferguson and again in 2018, which takes no account of the average tractor size being much larger in the east coast arable area, than the UK average tractor HP.

A period of consolidation followed - mirroring our farming customers - and with improvements to the depots at Belton and Horncastle leading to the closure of the branches at Lincoln and Melton. With the areas now more efficiently served by these larger better equipped branches, along with strong mobile workshop service support in these local areas, able to look after the larger tractors and machines directly on farm.

2013

– Chandlers open a purpose built brand new agricultural depot at Lutterworth in Leicestershire.

Lutterworth Depot

The modern purpose built facility at Lutterworth, near Cosby in Leicestershire.

The modern purpose built facility at Lutterworth, near Cosby in Leicestershire.

2014

– Chandlers acquired the Agricultural Business of Lodgeway Tractors, a new agricultural depot at Chicksands, Shefford.

Chandlers appointed Valtra dealers by AGCO, now operating with the corporate identity of ‘Your Agriculture Company’.

2015

– Gavin Pell appointed Managing Director with Howard Pell taking the role of Chairman.

2018

– Chandlers are recognised by Massey Ferguson as the largest volume tractor dealer in the UK.

Shefford Expansion

Following the success of the Agricultural side of the business a new Country Store, Groundscare and Parts Counter opens at Shefford.

Following the success of the Agricultural side of the business a new Country Store, Groundscare and Parts Counter opens at Shefford.

2019

– Shefford Country Store, Groundscare and Parts Counter opens.

2021

– AGCO global policy of the separation of their core brands of Massey Ferguson from Fendt and Valtra leads to the creation of two independent subsidiary companies, Chandlers (MF) Ltd and Chandlers (FV) Ltd with separate and dedicated teams for the supply of the different brands, and the opportunity for the acquisition of the agricultural business of Lister Wilder Ltd along with 5 new depots at Wallingford, Cirencester, Devizes, Bristol and Southam.