Business once run by men who spent their nights putting out fires in bombed-out London celebrates its 100-year anniversary
PUBLISHED: 17:31 09 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:31 09 November 2018
While we commemorate those who were involved in the war effort this weekend, Alan Evers has particular reason to feel proud of his own great grandfather, Thomas James Evers.
This month marks 100 years since Mr Evers, a carpenter and joiner, started up the family construction firm, T J Evers, in Tiptree.
Since then, it has mushroomed into a company with over 100 staff and a £22m turnover, but even now, T J Evers’ offices are still housed in Thomas’s old home on New Road, Tiptree.
“My great grandfather was really good with his hands, so instead of being sent to the front during the First World War, Thomas managed a team of ladies in Chelmsford who were building reconnaissance aircraft,” explained Mr Evers.
Lloyd George’s post-war “land fit for heroes to live in” would need houses and that provided opportunities for those with the right skills to build them. So as soon as the war was over, Thomas began his building company with “not much more than a wheelbarrow and a couple of mates,” says Mr Evers.
He admits that Thomas’s son, also named Alan, had more of a brain for business. “My grandfather fought hard to secure work during the 1930s depression with his best mate Reg Adams, and got the business to the point where during the Second World War, they were building barracks and pill boxes,” explained Mr Evers.
“At night, the pair worked as firemen on bombed out buildings in the East End of London, and during the day, they were busy working on building projects.”
During the 1950s and 1960s, the company was growing at breakneck speed.
The company continued under the leadership of Alan’s son Michael, and his son Alan is one of the current directors.
The secret of the company’s ongoing success, according to Mr Evers, is that the directors are shareholders, and being a family company at the heart and soul of the community, staff are invested in it for the long term.
“Much of the work we do is in the education sector,” said Mr Evers.
Recently awarded projects include St Bernard’s High School’s new classroom block in Westcliffe-on-Sea and a new dining hall and a teaching block at Beaumont School in St Albans.
Other projects the company have undertaken include the Mercury Theatre, student Accommodation at Essex University and Harwich RNLI. The most recently completed project is a new barn farm shop and café at Glebe Farm, East Mersea which will be opening for visitors early in the new year.
“My great grandfather would be extremely proud of the successful business we have today especially in the way in which we have held true to our roots of constructing quality buildings for our clients,” added Mr Evers. “Being a master joiner, quality and attention to detail was in his DNA and very dear to him and this his legacy runs through TJ Evers today.”
Steve Ewers, director at T J Evers and chairman of Essex Construction Training Award (ECTA), said that T J Evers has always worked towards “changing the sometime poor perception of the industry.”
“We will continue to work with the youth of today – both boys and girls - in order to encourage them to pursue a career in construction,” he added.