Holidays were very scarce, maybe a long week end at Weston Super Mare or Burnham on Sea, were a special treat for us. My Mother used to go to see her folks on the farm in Ballyheane Co. Mayo Eire. That was always a very enjoyable time, the journey was long, an adventurous flight from Elmdon (Birmingham) to Dublin, an overnight stay in Dublin usually with my Fathers sister or cousin. What seemed to be an endless train journey to Castlebar the next day, on a steam train that stopped at every opportunity, in a carriage that was of single compartments with no facilities. The journey was worth it, we loved life on the farm, bringing in the hay on horse and cart, digging spuds and fresh vegetables; unfortunately it would never be for more than a few days, a week at the most. Then there was always the heartbreak at leaving for the return home.
The occasional weekend we would all pile into my Father’s car, firstly an Austin A55 then a Vauxhall Cresta, for a trip to Measham that usually included a stop for a glass of pop at the Four Counties Public House then Sunday Lunch at the Measham auction site, followed by a walk around the vehicles and machines due for auction the following week, to see if there was anything of interest, that would take my Fathers fancy! Later in the afternoon, a drive in the countryside, a run in a field, then the trip back home, that usually caused one of us to suffer travel sickness. Happy Days!
The Rover Motor Company, Solihull was expanding, work was secured in clearing and excavating for the new extensions on site. Coleman`s were working for Tarmac, Ken Wood was the Site Agent, he was a good man who taught me a lot about life on site. I soon learnt how to read drawings, check levels, set out and value works, check progress; I knew that I would be interrogated, by the Boss over dinner, every evening, about progress (or lack of it)!
On 16th October 1962 Mr. J.E.Coleman, trading as Coleman Bros. Turn Over £33,550.18.9d., Gross Profit £8,146.0.9d (24%), became an Incorporated entity to start Trading as Coleman & Company (Plant Hire) Ltd., that in its first 6 months to year ending 31st March 1963 Turn Over £28,401.14.6d., Gross Profit £3,992.5.4d. (14%) In 1964 Coleman & Company (Plant Hire) Ltd. joined the Road Haulage Association (R.H.A.) an organisation of which we are still members.
Upto this time my involvement seemed to be one of hard labour, Saturdays and School Holidays were spent working on site, picking wood from hardcore, drawing nails from timber in readiness for sale, all for pocket money, in collecting bits of scrap, I soon learnt the difference between brass, gun metal, copper, valuable non ferrous, lead was beaten with a hammer to make it denser therefore heavier, after all it was my pocket money, from which I always gave Mother `a few bob` for my keep then saving the rest. Little did I realise< at the time, that I was getting a good basic training on how to make work pay and create an income.
Learn more about Coleman & Company’s history by looking at our 50th Anniversary book.