Company seeks stories from past employees ahead of its 150th anniversary

A roofing specialist which celebrates its 150th anniversary next year is looking for former employees to share their memories of their time with the company.

Do you recognise anyone from this John Williams & Company picture?
Do you recognise anyone from this John Williams & Company picture?

John Williams & Company Ltd is a full-service heritage and restoration company which provides slate roofing, lead casting and building restoration services.

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Established in 1870, the company has been known by a number of different names over the years: JW Roofing, John Williams & Company Rotherhithe Ltd, John Williams & Company London Ltd, John Williams & Company Sussex Ltd or Tuxford-Williams of Wales.

Do you recognise anyone from this John Williams & Company picture?

With ties to Bangor, North Wales, the geographical area of the company’s previous employees is vast.

From the slate mines of North Wales, to Crown Wharf in Chelsea, John Williams & Company had depots in Worthing, Horsham, Faversham, Newham, Southampton, Dover and Rotherhithe.

Shortly after the First World War, John Williams & Company also owned a clay manufacturing business at Barton-upon-Humber, in Lincolnshire.

Originally, barges full of Welsh slate would travel by river down to the premises at Rotherhithe, which had its own wharf on the river Thames.

Do you recognise anyone from this John Williams & Company picture?

In addition to selling and fixing roofing slate, the company processed slate for manufactured products such as steps, window sills, mortuary slabs and panels for electrical switch gear.

Now based in Lympne, Kent, many of the former depots were either closed or sold.

John Williams & Company has a history of employing skilled crafts people who, even today, use traditional materials and techniques passed down through generations.

Managing director, John Howland, who joined the company in 1974, said: “We survived the recession of the early 1900s due to the decision of the owners to concentrate on the company’s core strengths.

Do you recognise anyone from this John Williams & Company picture?

“We are putting together a collection of memorabilia for our museum room and we’d love to add to it, the stories of the people who worked for us during our vast history as we approach this landmark 150th anniversary.”

Over the years John Williams & Company Ltd has worked on many buildings, including Tower Bridge, St James’ Palace, The British Museum in London, Lancaster Gate, The Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly, The Slate Centre Museum in Llanberis, the Aldford Farm Building for the Duke of Westminster, Rochester Cathedral and Portchester Castle.

Did you work for John Williams & Company Ltd or know someone who did? Take a look through the pictures on the page and see if any jog your memory.

If you can help, email your stories to [email protected]---

A John Williams & Company outing to Margate in 1954
The current base of John Williams & Company Ltd in Lympne, Kent