Starting in a small office near Fleet Street in 1873, it began reporting on the massive trade of wood products and was quickly in demand.

Over the years the trade has changed immensely, both in terms of the products offered, the companies operating in the sector and, of course, the use of mass communications to do business. The closing of a deal over a pint in the City Road, London is a thing of the past now and a touch of the button is all it takes.

Forest certification, engineered wood products and modified timber are just a few of the changes seen over the years. And TTJ has changed too. Interactive digital publications and regular e-bulletins have been added to printed copies to give more flexibility to readers, while events in the form of the annual TTJ Awards have been a feature in recent decades as an important meeting point for the UK timber products sector.

Quite how the UK timber trade will look in another 50 years is an interesting question. It is something that probably every generation of wood traders has asked themselves at some point.

But wood as a material is clearly going to be central to people’s needs in the future with its myriad of qualities, be it aesthetics, green credentials or performance. We hope that the industry will continue to prosper and innovate and our aim will be to continue to cover developments in the decades to come!

In this special anniversary issue of TTJ we have a look back in time at the TTJ’s history, share some of the milestones also being celebrated this year by others in the timber trade, find out how women in the industry have been succeeding and spotlight the TTJ Awards 2023, which will be an anniversary celebration. Please make sure to come along, it will be great fun.

Elsewhere in this issue, we cover the subject of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – something creating waves, but attracting both positive and negative views. Who is programming the AI is an often asked and valid question and can it be manipulated?

Ten-25 managing director Ian Oldrey says in “traditional” industries, like the timber trade, AI may not have historically played a vital role. But he says in this era of rapid technological advancements, it’s becoming more and more important to embrace the benefits AI brings – to optimise operations, improve efficiency, and even enhance ever-important sustainability efforts.

ERP systems, he adds, already use AI to take on tasks that have previously required human intelligence to complete. And AI engines are being introduced to provide predictions and forecasting by using historical sales data, market trends and external factors.

Very interesting. Hopefully, it can be useful when employed properly and the nightmarish comparisons with Skynet in the Terminator films will remain just science fiction!