The History of Crane

Starting from humble beginnings in a DIY shop in a small village in the heart of the Norfolk countryside in 1974, Crane Garden Buildings has a wealth of knowledge and expertise behind it, and 50 years on, is still proud to be a family-run business. 

Our heritage is very important to us, and we're pleased to be able to share the journey we have been on with all of you now, too. 

Please see below for a video guiding you through our journey, and a timeline of all our key events since 1974.

The people of Crane

Crane tool hire shop from the 70s

The story of Crane Garden Buildings begins in Dersingham, Norfolk where David Crane hand-crafted the first shed out of the back of the family’s DIY shed. After the first one quickly sold, David decided to make two more 4’6 x 7ft sheds when a customer came in and enquired about having a shed made in a different size. From that moment on, David began taking orders for bespoke sheds.

Crane Sheds and Summerhouses in Dersingham

With demand for sheds increasing, David & his wife, Linda, had a dedicated workshop built at the back of the DIY shop and the family renamed their company from Crane Joinery Supplies to Crane Sheds and Summerhouses to reflect the change in their business.

Crane Royal Warrant - gained in 1995

The company soon outgrew the workshop in Dersingham so they sought a new premise on the Sandringham Estate. It was also around the time of the move to the new location that the business was awarded the prestigious Royal Warrant of Appointment.

Newbury when first opened in 2007

After many successful years serving customers in Norfolk, the company expanded to deliver and install buildings across all of mainland UK and opened their first show centre outside of the county within Hillier Garden Centre in Newbury, Berkshire.

FSC and John Lewis - 2009

The business became FSC® certified, using timber that is traceable and grown in well-managed forests. 2009 also saw the start of our partnership with John Lewis, offering a shed, studio, summerhouse and garden room designs that were (and still are) exclusively sold with the retailer.

National Trust partnership - 2010 with logo

The company formed another brand partnership, this time with the National Trust. This collaboration saw the creation of 8 traditionally styled sheds and summerhouses, with the designs inspired by National Trust properties within East Anglia. This partnership still continues to this day, with a contribution from each building sold from this collaboration going to the National Trust to help them conserve the special places they look after.

Narford HQ in Norfolk from 2012 in the countryside

With the company going from strength to strength, Crane HQ relocated to its current premises in Narford, Norfolk, providing plenty of room for further expansion. 

Crane Garden Buildings logo

After many years of hard work, David and Linda Crane decided to retire, leaving their sons, James and Nick Crane, to run the family business between them.

This marked a new era for the business, and to recognise the wide range of designs that were now being offered by the company, the brothers decided to rebrand to Crane Garden Buildings.

Farrow & Ball partnership 2016

Crane started a partnership with luxury paint company Farrow & Ball, offering customers the option of having the exterior and interior of their buildings decorated in their rich & fully opaque paint system from a range of specially selected colours.

Workshop extension in 2018

To help the business keep up with increasing demand, the decision was made to expand the workshop at Crane HQ. This expansion was also needed for the growing workforce, as the company had just passed the 100-employee milestone across the factory, head office, and the 7 show centres the company had opened at this point.

Crane employees winter 2022

Today, Crane Garden Buildings has over 130 employees, 12 show centres across the country, and 22 core buildings, plus ranges with the National Trust and John Lewis. 

Above all, we still hold the quality of materials and quality of our craftsmanship in the highest esteem, and that goes for our service as well. Crane has survived so long by successfully navigating changing times, staying ahead of the curve, and maintaining the quality that our customers have come to know and love. 

We hope you've enjoyed learning about Crane since our inception in 1974. For more information, please watch the video at the top of the page, or if you'd like to, please peruse our wide range of high quality timber garden buildings.