The specialist transport and forwarding company Williams & Hill, who are responsible for transporting ‘Dippy the Diplodocus’ as part of the Natural History Museum’s record breaking Dippy on Tour.
A Natural History Adventure exhibition, are able to continue providing global fine art logistics services after receiving a £500,000 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan from Barclays.
Williams & Hill specialise in transporting, shipping, packaging, case making, and installing objects including artwork and antiques – and regularly ship artwork to and from events such as the Frieze Art Fair, London and Art Basel in Basel and Miami.
They also undertake a number of special projects, and are currently moving the National History Museum’s ‘Dippy the Diplodocus’ around the UK on its national tour, which means moving a full skeleton that consists of 292 bones, is 21.3 metres long, 4.3 metres wide and 4.25 metres high – including packaging, transportation, security and access control for Dippy.
This tour is the largest travelling expedition in the UK and has already been seen by over 1.5 million people, increasing visitor numbers at every partner venue visited so far. Dippy’s tour has also had real economic impact on the areas visited. Dorset County Museum found that Dippy’s visit resulted in an additional £2.25m boost to local businesses, whilst Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery found that Dippy attracted over 140,000 additional visitors to the city, who ultimately spent more than £4m.
As part of the COVID-19 response, Dippy is currently in lockdown in Rochdale but – having secured the funding through the CBIL scheme, alongside a six-month capital repayment holiday on their existing facility – Williams & Hill are now planning to take Dippy on to Norwich Cathedral on the final leg of the tour where it is hoped his success will continue.
Kerry Hill, co-founder of Williams & Hill Ltd, said, “I am grateful to Barclays for helping us through the process of accessing funds under the CBIL scheme. The money hit our account just before Easter, and meant we could take a few days off from the stress of trying to mothball our business.
“At the peak of the crisis, I had some emotional days having to furlough some of our amazing staff and not sleeping with the worry of how the company could survive. Whilst none of us are out of the woods, today I find my company in the safe hands of my team.
“From directors to warehouse and delivery staff, our team has been amazing, but frankly the adage of ‘cash is king’ has never had more resonance, and with credit control, supportive clients and suppliers, and the support of Barclays, I see the future safety of my company is in great hands.
“My Barclays Relationship Director, Nick Leonard, has been very informative of what my options would be, has been adaptable to fast-changing circumstances, and most importantly available to talk when I needed support.”
Lee Collinson, Head of Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics at Barclays Corporate Banking said, “Williams & Hill have been a longstanding client that we have supported for nearly twenty years.
“The impact of COVID 19-was immediate for them given that they are involved in the Transport and Logistics sector, but through strong management they were able to minimise the impact, and manage to continue trading at a reduced scale, and expect to return to normal as quickly as possible and enhance their reputation with clients.
“We are pleased to have provided them support through the CBIL scheme and a Capital Repayment Holiday on their existing loan, which will allow them to focus on driving their business with the certainty that they have the liquidity they need to trade.”