As a family business with a unique heritage, we aspire to make the world a more beautiful place by drawing on the values that we've used from the very beginning. Spanning three generations of one family, CED Stone Group has certainly faced many challenges – but one thing has remained certain, our clients' trust in our passion and expertise.
Although our involvement with natural stone dates back to the middle of the 19th Century when they supplied raw flint from France to the ceramics industry, it was in 1978 that our Chairman, Michael Heap, made the decision to supply specialist natural stone aggregates. We've been developing, growing and investing in our product range ever since. Our people have grown with us too, with some employees working with us for over 25 years!
Go back in time and explore our fascinating past:
The Walley family, originally from Staffordshire, imports raw flint from France by ship and canal boat for use in the ceramics industry.
When flint becomes available in Essex as a by-product of chalk extractions being used in cement production, Michael Heap's grandfather, Albert Leonard Walley, installs a small processing unit at West Thurrock. This unit is known today as our London East depot.
Albert's son John is killed in a plane crash along with his new wife. His sister, Nora, then a budding tennis player, immediately steps in to help manage the business. Nora initially only intended to hold the fort while her other brother George finished his studies, however he tragically dies in hospital from appendicitis. Nora bravely takes over the business.
Flint supplies from France are cut off during the second world war and West Thurrock's flint production becomes vital to the ceramics industry in Britain.
1950's - 1960's
Other uses and applications for calcined (cooked) flint develop in the market, demand increases and the business prospers. In 1959 Civil Engineering Developments Ltd officially forms and devises applications for calcined flint with resin technology.
The calcined flint production business is sold. Changes in the market and restricted resources mean that the business is forced to adapt in order to survive. In 1975 Nora's son, Michael Heap, takes over the business as Managing Director and recognizing the potential for supplying specialist aggregates and stone, he moves the company forward in a new direction.
CED begins work with BALI (British Association of Landscaping Industries), donating approximately twenty different stone materials for a spare triangular-shaped garden at the Stoke-On-Trent National Garden Festival. This leads to our involvement with the Glasgow Garden Festival a few years later.
Our Scottish depot opens in Castlecary as a holding store for the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival. CED supplies a huge range of stone materials to both the festival infrastructure itself, as well as to a multitude of international gardeners. Initially starting as a small 50m² patch of land, local demand for the products grows and CED buys additional land to expand the depot. Today, CED Scotland works out of a six acre site.
Michael sources a large order of high-quality reclaimed setts and cubes, and purchases a holding store in Langley Mill – which eventually becomes our CED Midlands Depot.
CED supplies materials to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show for the first time, supporting designer David Stevens and his Summer House garden.
Michael luckily stumbles across an ideal location for a new depot in West Drayton which is perfect for serving customers based on the west side of London. CED's London West depot opens in August.
Summer House Garden
Our teams develop 'CEDEC Footpath Gravel' for the new Canary Wharf project in London. CEDEC builds in popularity via word of mouth and becomes our most commonly purchased products and the go-to permeable footpath gravel in the UK landscape industry.
Disaster strikes! An ocean going barge, transporting 8,000 tonnes of Rock Armour granite from Norway, capsizes during a huge storm in the middle of the North Sea. CED survives the losses only through the support and generosity of our suppliers, many who we still work with to this day.
CEDEC Red at Canary Wharf, London
CED supplies materials for the Ebbw Vale National Garden Festival in South Wales, which welcomes over 2 million visitors.
Ebbw Vale National Garden Festival
Giles begins work with his first client, selecting standing stones from Hafod Quarry in Wales for the relocation of Ebbw Vale's Gorsedd Stone Circle.
Michael's son, Giles Heap, joins the family business and starts his career working in CED's London East depot. One of his first responsibilities is to sweep the yard!
Stockton Depot is sold
New offices are built at the front of the depot at CED London East.
CED wins a large bagged aggregate order. A new and innovative bagging plant is installed at the CED London East depot, making things much more efficient as up until this bags were hand stacked.
West Thurrock Bagging Plant
Further developments at CED Scotland are made with the installation of their first robotic bagging plant, fed by 27 new decorative aggregate bays.
Castlecary Depot Bagging Plant
Our products feature in 9 gardens and trade-stands at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, including The Fortnum & Mason Garden by Robert Myers, which won a Gold RHS Medal. CED are now regular suppliers to RHS Chelsea gardens, being involved in every show since 2002.
Fortnum and Mason Garden
Michael begins to bring the UK stone industry together to create The Geological Walk, a very special paving display at the British Geological Society Headquarters in Nottingham. The scheme includes every type of British paving stone from the Precambrian to the Quaternary periods.
The Geological Walk, Nottingham
CED establishes a new depot based in Omagh in Ireland, and begins developing a network of stock lists to allow coverage of both Ireland and Northern Ireland. New display areas at our CED London West depot in West Drayton are completed.
CED becomes full members of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). Improvements to our Midlands Depot in Langley Mill are completed, with new offices and indoor and outdoor display areas.
Langley Mill Internal Showroom
Giles Heap takes over the family business as Managing Director. After 38 years, Michael Heap steps into a Chairman role.
Michael and Giles Heap
Our Commercial Team travels to India to visit a school in Jaipur which is run by The Shri Radhey Sewa Trust, a charity that we are still supporting to this day. The school gives new opportunities to street children who might otherwise be working in sandstone quarries.
Calum Fraser - Commercial Division Director visiting school in Jaipur
CED sponsors Party for Perennial at the Roof Gardens in Kensington, to raise funds for Perennial, the UK charity which supports horticulturists.
CED establishes a bespoke stone sawing and drilling workshop at the CED London East depot in West Thurrock.
CED Stone Group welcomes Corfe Stone to the business, which becomes CED's North West depot.
CED also begins international expansion by establishing a new division in Canada.
CED Stone Group Welcomes Corfe Stone to the family
CED celebrates their 40th year anniversary with a re-brand
CED Stone awarded Principal Winners of the BALI Affiliate Exceptional Service award after entering the awards for the first time ever!