Batemans Sports has been established in Stroud since 1893, now run by the fourth generation of the Bateman family. We have maintained the high standards of service and product knowledge our customers expect.
Batemans Sports Ltd, 1893— present day.
In 1892 W.W.Bateman, a civil engineer and County road builder from Chesterfield married Iris Butcher in Stroud, and so started 120+ years of Sports retailing. The first photograph shows W.W. Bateman outside the shop in Gloucester Street named in 1892, after his wife’s maiden name.
In 1893 the shop was renamed Batemans and was known as ‘Stroud and County Sports Depot’. There were only two other sports shops in the whole of Gloucestershire at that time. Just like the others Batemans sold cigarettes and tobacco.
In 1934 the shop moved from Gloucester Street to its present position in the main square on the corner of Kendrick Street and George Street. As seen from some of the old photos, sports shops could not exist without other strings to their bows. Smoking in the 19th and 20th century formed a large part of life and helped to swell profits.
By this time, Bill Bateman, Peter’s father, was running the business and one of the first things he did was to introduce a toy and model department; this grew into such a strong part of the business that by the end of the Second World War in 1945 cigarettes and tobacco were no longer stocked.
At the outbreak of war in 1939 Bill had to decide whether to go to war and fight or whether to help the war effort by other means. Three miles from Stroud a factory made the ball bearings that were used in the ball races of the machine guns fitted to Spitfires and Hurricane fighters. For four years Bill was the night shift manager, working from 7pm through the night until 7am next morning. During the day he ran the sports shop with Peter’s mother Audrey.
During the war and even later, Batemans had a government licence to accept the Utility Coupons the general public were issued with for clothing, food and household needs like toilet rolls, soap, tea and coffee etc. The business had a motor bike and side car which was used by one of the staff to deliver at night; because of the blackout only side lights were allowed so progress was slow!
Bill Bateman worked in the basement with a lad sometimes making golf clubs, by putting Forgan heads onto hickory shafts and selling them to golfers, as the local club had no pro or shop. In those days Forgan was one of the biggest names in golf.
After the Second World War, Batemans won the school sports goods contract for all of Gloucestershire County Council’s junior and secondary schools. Before the cricket season for instance the business van would be sent to St Neots in Hertfordshire, to the County Bat Co to collect up to three hundred bats of all sizes and bring them to the warehouse in John Street, where they were stamped and branded COUNTY SPECIAL with stars from 1 to 5.
That same warehouse had previously been the western headquarters of Oswold Mosley’s Black Coats, those with a Nazi leaning!
Sadly, Bill died suddenly in 1961, leaving Peter at twenty years of age to take control.
By then, the business had such a wide base, with Ladies and Men’s clothes shops, a camping shop, baby shop full of prams etc, the successful toy shop and finally the fishing department on the first floor of the sports shop.
By the mid 80’s, a good sports shop with the fishing department and the Men’s clothes shop was Peter’s focus until one day at a sports buying show, he and Adrian Davis decided to buy some Mitre balls together to get double the discount, and so began the Allied buying group! With a large empty warehouse from the camping shop days available, footballs and even 6 foot snooker tables were being delivered, the rest is history.
In 1987 Peter manged to secure a deposit to become his own landlord and purchase Kendrick Hall where Batemans is situated now.
In the late 80’s Peter’s son Andrew joined the business. This was the start of the sales path as he moved into the sports industry as the south west sales manager for Arena swimwear & Le Coq Sportif and Adidas UK prior to joing the Bateman's team.
During the early 90’s the manager of the men’s shop, “Peter Howard,” retired and it was decided to close the shop and to bring the uniform department back from John Street into the main shop. By the middle of the 90’s Andrew was taking over the day to day running of Batemans, leaving his Father to spend more time with the Chamber of trade and the Buying Group. Between them and helped by excellent staff the business increased its turnover very well.
In 2008, the introduction of a “Customer Loyalty Scheme”, proved to be a great success. Operated by a national data company, expert within this field, Batemans and the fellow Allied Partners members had the capacity to grow the scheme from 1 member to 250,00 nationally!
In April 2010, Batemans Sports and all the “Allied Partners” buying group members joined Intersport UK on mass, this was to lead to the security and longevity of the company. Interport offered the comfort blanket of buying power, marketing within the sports industry worlwide.
So today in Stroud, a country town of 16,000 souls and a Sports Direct 100 yards up the street, Batemans continues to do business. Our active Loyalty Scheme of 4,000 customers has helped forge our path through the latest recession and made us a stronger company overall.
At times like these to be a part of “Intersport UK”is one of the best decisions Batemans Sports Ltd could have made, but also, and as importantly, our customer loyalty has kept the business alive and still present.
Thank you to you all.