John Hornby Skewes & Co. Ltd., colloquially known by one and all as “JHS” was started by its eponymous founder, John Hornby Skewes and his wife Madge in 1965, initially from their modest home in Garforth near Leeds, in the United Kingdom's famous Northern county of Yorkshire.
Expanding rapidly, the new company soon outgrew the family home and went on to occupy various premises around Garforth, initially rooms over the Main Street barber’s shop, then purchasing the old Garforth Picture House and Garforth Police Station, which were transformed into a purpose-built office and warehouse premises, along with purchasing various deconsecrated Methodist chapels and clothing factories for additional storage space.
JHS eventually outgrew them all, and in 1992, moved to its present home at Salem House, a 5-acre site on the Northern fringe of Garforth, near junction 47 of the M1 motorway.
John and Madge built JHS up from a standing start in ‘65, using their own resources and personal resourcefulness, beginning with just a few small accessories and using the kind of Yorkshire grit, tenacity, determination and sheer hard work, which is famous for overcoming adversity, and producing tremendous success.
John H Skewes on the front cover of MI Pro the music industries trade magazine, January 2003.
In June 2015, JHS celebrated fifty years of successful growth with a memorable Golden Jubilee celebration and in March the following year, John and Madge stood down from their active involvement with the company to enjoy their well-deserved retirement.
In 2020, fifty-five years later from those humble 1965 beginnings, JHS through the application, talent, skill, knowledge and dedication of all the wonderful staff who have been involved over more than five decades, has consolidated its position as the UK’s #1 independent distributor of musical instruments, DJ and live sound products and general musical accessories. JHS is a truly international company, with famous proprietary brands recognised around the world and presently representing over seventy industry leading distributed brands in some 150 markets including the UK/ROI, the countries of the European Union, USA and beyond.
In his retirement, John Skewes took the time to assemble the many recollections, stories, anecdotes and memories which his rich and varied life created.
The result is his highly personal autobiography, “It Could Have Been MARMITE”; The Limited Memoirs of John Hornby Skewes.
You’ll have to read through to discover why “Marmite”, but this fascinating book reveals the story of a man driven to success by dint of circumstances and tells of all that happened along the way.
After these memories were printed, but before publication and distribution, it was with much sadness that Madge Skewes passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.
You can download the book HERE free of charge, or click on the book cover above.
Family is an unbreakable thread which runs through the JHS business. The present generation, John’s Daughter Linda and Son in Law Dennis Drumm manage the Company with the same strong work ethic and determination to continue and grow the legacy.
Maybe one day there’ll be a sequel.