Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, Blackburn entrepreneur and inventor, Dr Stanley Shorrock built an international security empire in his home town, which included manned guarding, electronic security installations and an alarm receiving centre.
In 1986 he sold his company to BET PLC. Working for Dr Shorrock was Shaun Raywood, an expert dog handler and Dr Shorrock’s right-hand man for manned guarding operations. When Shorrocks was sold, Shaun saw an opening and started Guardhall with a handful of customers, the local manned guarding sites that BET PLC didn’t acquire.
The year 1988 saw the beginning of Guardhall. Shaun and his wife Susan, with help from Donald McLean who joined in the early years to aid in accounting support, built up the business to a point in the early 1990s when they employed over 100 security officers, had three mobile patrol vehicles on the road and a fledgling alarm installation division. Operational support, headed by ex-RSM Peter Pugh and Paul Ashton, was by a military-style team of senior security officers who carried out jobs for domestic and business premises, turning over in excess of £1m per year.
Shaun and Susan did not rest on their laurels. Seeing a change in the security world with a move to electronic security and having been involved with Shorrocks, they saw the opportunity to create a similar offering of a one-stop security solution, the Shorrocks model, although on a smaller scale.
So, with this in mind, they had a team of people engaged that they could trust. David Asbridge, the former manager of the Shorrock control room, and Keith Cartlidge, another former Shorrock engineer, were brought in, as well as Martin Prescott, a brilliant local engineer and electronics expert.
NSI Gold Cat 2 Accreditation
Realising the scale of the task in hand, John Halstead (another former Shorrocks employee) and Carl Stone were recruited to the team, as well as Karl Raywood, Shaun and Susan’s son. Within four years Guardhall had an NSI Gold accredited CAT 2 alarm receiving the centre award and gained NSI NACOSS Gold for the installation and maintenance of security systems, an accreditation that we still hold to this day.
The late 90’s and early 2000’s were exciting times at Guardhall, with expansion into the electronic security sector and other projects. One was the Hyndburn Community Warden scheme. Recognising the conflict between the huge demands on police time and people’s need for reassurance about their safety, initiatives were developed by the Lancashire Partnership Against Crime to increase and support the uniform presence on the streets of Accrington.
A team of nine uniformed Community Safety Wardens (seven men and two women) were recruited to patrol the town centre of Accrington. The Wardens operated from Guardhall’s offices on Cannon Street. They were employed and managed by Guardhall and funded by Europe through the Lancashire Partnership Against Crime (of which Guardhall was a member). The connection with the Partnership was decisive in establishing the project, which also served as a role model for other towns and cities. The scheme prevented over £0.5m of losses to crime in its three years.
Looking forward to a well-deserved retirement, the Raywoods sold the business in 2010 to FGH Security Ltd, which was a door supervision company from Lancaster – you may have seen Peter Harrison and Wesley Downham on Dragons Den. They were looking to diversify their portfolio and could see how a company in the security field, complementary to their own would fit with their model.
The manned guarding service fitted well with their existing business, but due to operational challenges they decided to sell the keyholding and electronic division after two years, FGH Security, headed by Peter Harrison, has gone on to be recognised as one of the best events security companies in the UK.
Lodge Security Acquisition
In 2012, Lodge Security bought Guardhall Ltd. At that time Lodge Security had a control room in Manchester and could see the potential of a facility in Accrington. Under the management of Chris Johnson and John Halstead, Lodge reopened the ARC with full NSI ARC Gold CAT 2 status.
Shortly after purchasing Guardhall, Lodge then bought Endeavour Security. They had keyholding operations and a CAT 2 ARC in Redditch, and this grew the keyholding operation substantially.
With the original Accrington team and the new staff, the keyholding operation became a division of Lodge Security.
The Lodge Group continued to grow over the years, with offices opening in London, Leeds and Dagenham, to support service delivery. All was looking good for Guardhall, however one sunny day in June 2022, a major player in the retail security world commented to our team, that they ‘didn’t know we do tech’!
These words resonated with the board, and after some market research and self-examination, we decided it was true; and why don’t more people know us.
So humbly set to work on finding a striking and impactful new name. That’s when the marketing genius within the team found the golden egg – Lodge Service. It’s us, it’s who we are and it’s just another service we deliver… Just add Technical to it.
So now we share with you the birth of Lodge Service – Technical. It’s a technical service from Lodge, and features our key ingredients – honesty, integrity and straight-talking. We won’t buy you expensive dinners, we won’t take you on holidays, we won’t use a kit that’s old and has been in the store 2 years.
You will get the service you want, an asset register, equipment that actually works, innovation and a great working partnership.
Our technical team continues to expand its international reach from Accrington to Cape Town as an NSI NACOSS Gold accredited installer and maintainer. We are an integral part of the Lodge Group’s blended solution, offering world-class electronic security engineering support to clients nationally and internationally.
The future is bright. The future of security is Lodge Service.