Time Marquees – then and now

The current COVID-19 lockdown situation has given many of us an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect. In uncertain times, it can be comforting to look at back at some of our past highlights and remind ourselves of the positive things we can achieve.

By doing so, we also feel inspired to think about the future and all those special birthday parties, engagements, weddings, anniversaries, sporting events and festivals that we will one day be able to enjoy with our friends, families and communities once again.

We have been thinking about our journey as a marquee hire company in the South East and wanted to share our reflections on Time Marquees – then and now…

A salute to where it all began…

Time Marquees started back in the late 1990s, with Robert running the marquee hire company part-time from his garden shed in Sandhurst, Berkshire.

In those early days, we had the home of the British Army on our doorstep, in Aldershot, and different divisions often hired marquees from us. Time Marquees lent our services to Airborne Forces, Logistics, Army School of Catering, Royal Gurkha Rifles, and others.

Growing and changing

Keeping with our strong family values, as the business grew over the years Robert brought his children, Richard and Sally, to the helm. As our clientele developed, we also employed several operational and office staff and took occupancy in two warehouses in Berkshire and Hampshire.

It wasn’t only our team that expanded. The range of marquees we were able to offer increased too. Where we’d previously offered 3m, 6m and 9m widths, we were able cater for larger events with the procurement of 12m and 15m marquees, as well as range of high roof pagodas. In 2016, we invested in stretch tents, which were an exciting new product to the UK, originating from South Africa.

We have always taken pride in constantly updating our product range in line with market trends; over the years adding radial arms, clear roof and wall panels, and solid sides to our marquees. Increasing our functionality in this way allows us to be more creative with the types of events we can do, as well as fine-tuning our problem-solving capabilities.

Solid foundations endure

The close-knit family culture of our business allows us to offer a personal touch to those planning often once-in-a-lifetime events that mean the world to them. We have always maintained this approach and feel it underpins the unique and hassle-free experience our customers value.

Taking underpinnings more literally, the flooring we offer has evolved over the years, just as our marquee frames have. What began as laying sheets of 8 x 4-foot plywood in the early years, has been replaced with a purpose-built interlocking floor system with steel frame to cover any eventuality. These days, we also use cassette flooring to provide a premium solid floor finish.

Time Marquees started off just offering striped coconut matting, which was all that was available back then). As the years went by, people moved towards carpet because it was available in a wider range of colours.

One thing that never changes is the cyclical nature of fashion, so it is not surprising that the desire for natural matting has circled back around. The corn colour complements the rustic theme that is so popular these days.

What makes us extra happy about this trend re-emerging is that it is better for the environment because the matting can be washed off and re-used. And one trend we’re definitely hoping is future-proof is the eco-conscious one…

North, South, East, West

Although we mainly supply marquee hire around the Home Counties, over the years our loyal customers have taken us as far as the northern reaches of Scotland and the southern reaches of Spain. This has left us with a huge memory bank of marquee décor inspiration from around the world that we can share with our clients when they’re planning events.

But, thanks to the great British weather, it is not always that exotic. Luckily, we’ve got the capabilities to install marquees in all weathers – and have done so more times than we could ever count, from Wembley to a very wet and windy field in Nottingham.

Every year, we provide marquee hire for a events big and small. In 2019 alone, we worked with Frogmore House, Highclere County Show, Build It Live in Bicester, Cartier Queens Cup Polo Semi Final, Cartier Queens Cup Polo Final, Royal Windsor at Guards Polo Club, and Royal Holloway University. As well as bigger events like these, we have covered plenty of smaller community events, such as local festivals, sporting events and fundraisers.

Looking ahead to the future

At the time of posting this blog, social distancing measures are still preventing large gatherings from going ahead – but it won’t last forever. To help us all see the light at the end of the tunnel, let’s keep planning for and daydreaming about all those special occasions with the family and friends we’re missing so much.

Most of us have more time on our hands! Make mood boards (perhaps using Pinterest) to share with us during or after lockdown. We would love to share ideas and show you some of the new features we’re offering in 2020, and beyond:

  • Expanded stretch tent range – we can now offer 10m x 22.5m stretch tent
  • 5 light centre pendant light cluster, offering something different to the traditional chandelier and globe lights
  • A wider variety of fairy lights and festoon lights
  • Gas flambeau light stands (8′ high with internal gas supply) – to add atmosphere to your outside entrance and fire pits
  • Glow cubes and glow poseur tables – so much fun for parties.
  • Long trestle tables – we have invested in purchasing our own 6’x3’ trestle tables allowing a little more space than the standard 6’ x 2’ x 6’ wide tables and we’re able to offer at a lower price than if you hired them in externally
  • Cross back chairs and benches – for a bigger choice of seating options

Let’s stay positive and make plans for happier times. What celebrations and events are you looking forward to? Time Marquees is a marquee hire company in the South East. Call us on 0118 973 6444 or email sales@time-marquees.co.uk to discuss your marquee requirements for the future.