Moving with the times
Modern removals companies like Abels have brought the industry to new levels
IT’S NOT so long ago that a supply of newspapers, some string and a few tea chests were the only packing materials you needed when moving home. And if the tea chest containing your china and glassware made ominous chinking noises when it arrived, or your wardrobe had mysteriously gained several deep scratches in transit, well that was the risk you took when you moved.
“Nowadays, that way of doing things seems positively prehistoric and bears no resemblance to the way a modern removals company operates,” says John Watson, managing director of Brandon-based Abels Moving Services.
“But it is still true that the condition of your treasured belongings when they arrive depends on the quality of the materials used to protect them and the way they were packed. How to pack correctly is something all our packing crews learn during their lengthy training with us.”
Some removals companies just bring in contract packers when needed, but all of Abels’ staff are full-time employees and all have undergone rigorous training in the company’s own specially-built training centre.
“Our staff learn on our own glass, china, furniture and so forth, not on our clients’ possessions,” says John, “and it takes around three years to train someone to the point where they can safely pack and move any object, from an antique grandfather clock to a grand piano.”
Abels only use the highest-quality packing materials, such as:
Acid-free tissue to wrap silver items, which prevents them becoming tarnished.
Specially-made bubblewrap consisting of three layers – a waterproof membrane, the bubbles themselves, and a soft fabric, which is what actually touches the item.
Sturdy cartons with double-walls which sandwich two fluted, corrugated layers.
If the item to be moved is too large (or too valuable) to go into a carton or to be wrapped, Abels specialist case-making department will purpose-build a case to safely contain the item during shipment. The case-makers can be asked to construct a case for almost anything, from a suit of armour or a statue to a vintage motorbike.
Abels often works with private collectors as well as meeting the conditions specified by the Museums & Galleries Commission for the movement of exhibits to and from museums and art galleries. Among Abels’ specialities are transporting:
PIANOS: there are some 12,000 parts in a piano and moving such a delicate instrument requires great care and attention. Abels has considerable experience in moving pianos, ranging from an upright to the finest concert grand, and will undertake the entire process, beginning with preparing the instrument for its move to setting it up in its new home ready to be retuned.
FINE ART AND ANTIQUES:
few items are as valuable as the £6 million renaissance altarpiece
Madonna and Child by Giovanni Bellini which Abels relocated for Norwich Castle Museum, but many of the company’s moves involve transporting clients’ valuable paintings or statues in custom-made transit cases.
WINE: when clients want to move the contents of their wine cellar, Abels has the experience to do so in a temperaturecontrolled environment and without spilling a drop.
“Every move is different and places different demands on us and our decades of knowhow,” says John Watson, “which is what makes it immensely satisfying to complete such difficult and demanding moves successfully.” abels.co.uk
Top: Some of the Abels teamAbove:Careful packing Below:A vintage motorcycle being safely crated