Our History – Where it All Began

For this week’s blog, we’re taking a trip down memory lane. 

Here is a brief history of Don Valley, an insight into our roots and how we have evolved into the company that we are today. 

Don Valley initially began as a market for repair and general fabrication, but as it was located in the heart of the Yorkshire coalfield, it evolved – taking steps towards the mining industry. 

Under the Atlee government, many industries were nationalised, including the mining industry. In response to this change, Don Valley became the Don Valley Co Ltd in 1947. The company was created to provide engineering services to the newly nationalised local collieries in and around Doncaster. This move proved vital as it allowed DVE to expand its client base to the whole of the UK coal industry. 

As the company moved on into the 50s, we formed an association with German machinery manufacturer Siebtechnik was formed. Through this association, DVE gained the manufacturing rights to a dewatering centrifuge, which became the machine of choice throughout the coal industry in the UK; this, in turn, helped boost DVE’s national presence. 

Work remained steady throughout the 60s as the company expanded. 

The 70s bought significant growth as the company built its first full coal preparation plants in South Yorkshire, Kent and Staffordshire. 

This growth continued throughout the 70s and into the 80s as DVE began to diversify into other nationalised industries such as power generation and steel production. During this time, DVE designed and built ore and coal handling facilities for British Steel’s import facility at Immingham and coal screening and handling systems at coal-fired power stations throughout the UK. 

As politics began to change in the 80s drastically-90s, so did the company. The shift to privatisation impacted the company, but it was able to keep up and adapt to these changes due to having grown in size and strength. 

Following the changes in structure and operation, DVE had a major win. They secured the first major plant built by British Coal at Rossington Colliery in South Yorkshire. They then took on one of their largest contracts (at this point in time). They were tasked to design and build most of the surface handling facilities at British Coal’s new flagship at Ashfirdby Colliery in Leicestershire, which was completed and commissioned in 1995. 

As the company entered the new millennium, many board members left, which allowed the business to restructure and modernise with the changing times. 

By 2007, the company continued to diversify through the formation of DVE Construction Ltd; it was formed to provide installation facilities to those in need of it.

Two years later, in 2009, the company acquired the name and intellectual property of Cleeve Materials Handling Ltd of Stroud, Gloucestershire; again, this move allowed the company to diversify into another area. A year on from that (2010), the DVE Group that we know today was formalised into a cohesive and flexible entity ready to grow and develop. 

DVE has continuously evolved and adapted since 1947 and aims to do so in years to come.

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