Our first business premises.

1974 saw Coleman & Co (Plant Hire) Ltd purchase 43, Station Road, Stechford, and move, from the not too far away, rented property in Albert Road, Stechford, Birmingham.

Week 13 Our First Premises

Coleman & Company’s first offices were located in Stechford, Birmingham. Moving from our Albert Road (home) office represented a big step for the business.

It was somewhere that the business could continue to develop and grow, somewhere that we could do something with, all facilities were on site. We made one building into a workshop where we could carry out repairs and maintenance to the plant and vehicles. Another was converted into an Office enabling the office to be moved from the house, my mother and sister worked away from the “home office” for the first time! The new site was fairly secure with hard standing that had main road access. We were all so pleased and proud of our latest acquisition, away from the primitive and restricted conditions of the rented Albert Road Site. Mother and Father went home in the evenings to a house that was a home, not a place of business (sometimes). They believed and hoped that at long last, they could work away from their usual place of residence.

Coleman & Company had become synonymous with the Stechford area, we were a prominent company, offering secure employment to many local people. In January 1975 I was asked to stand in the Local Government Elections for the Conservative Party in the nearby Labour strong hold of Shard End. The campaign was a completely new experience, meeting many people from all walks of society, it was very demanding on my time, especially when done after a hard days work! However on 1st May 1975, I was voted onto the Birmingham City Council for a term of four years. What hard work it turned out to be, my time was never my own, constituents always wanting more, making demands for housing improvements or transfers, complaints about neighbours, noise, car parking problems, it was seemingly endless.

Week 13 - Harold-Wilson-007

Harold WIlson, former British Prime Minister deep in thought.

There were of course pluses, the Civic Receptions; we met Her Royal Highness, The Queen and Prince Philip at the official opening of the National Exhibition Centre on 2nd February 1976. I was fortunate to meet Prime Minister Harold Wilson, ex Prime Minister Edward Heath, future Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also Parliamentarians from all political persuasions.

Komatsu machines were continually added to the fleet, very good machines, parts and product support, well that was another matter. It was decided to standardise on Caterpillar products. The first Cat 225 excavators in the U.K. came to Coleman`s, then Cat D6d dozers, Cat 977k loaders.

Cat 225 hard at work

One of our Cat 225’s (“back actors”) hard at work. Please note the health and safety precautions taken by one of our labourers. How things have changed.

The first Cat 977 that was bought was Serial No. 48J172, was bought by yours truly at an Auction in Tamworth, my Father left me to it, he told me the price that he thought that the machine should be bought for, we disagreed as I believed the machine was worth substantially more, nervously, I successfully bid for the machine, so then I had to tell the “Boss” as was usual my ears were ringing due to the tones of his displeasure. I found work with Sir Alfred McAlpine for that machine and several others; it had paid for itself within six months and worked without fault for many years thereafter.

 

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