Back in the late 1940’s Great Britain was recovering from several years of wartime rationing and was in the grip of a period of severe austerity. It was an era of rebuilding and a chance for the working men of the day to begin ventures unfettered by the Red Tape and bureaucracy of more modern times. These were the days before Health and Safety.
Throughout post war Britain men were setting up small enterprises. They were the entrepreneurs of the day – although at that time no one would recognise such a term let alone label themselves in such a way. These men simply thought that they were making a living and not setting up enduring ventures that would last well into the next century.
One such man was William Hayden. In the late 1940’s William was living in the Black Country area of the Midlands. The area was a hotbed of manufacturing and engineering and was arguably the workshop of the world! The Black Country area was synonymous with 1000 trades including Glassmaking, Chain Making, Nail Making, Ironworking and Steel working. These heavy industries centred around foundries and workshops - the area was littered with dirty foundries producing tons of dirty waste.
The enterprising William Hayden realised that the foundries relied upon deliveries to keep their furnaces working. Sand, Iron ore and minerals all needed to arrive by road at the foundry gates to be smelted into iron and steel to drive the rebuilding of Britain.
In turn, the same raw ingredients were spent and ended their life as waste products of the whole manufacturing process. These waste products then needed to be taken away from the factories and foundries for ultimate disposal.
William Hayden saw a business opportunity in both delivering the raw materials required by the foundries and also disposing of the spoil created by their processes. The only problem was that he couldn’t drive the trucks that were needed to do the job!
Undeterred, he decided to buy one wagon and to employ a man to drive it. He went on to develop a network of foundry owners who were receptive to the idea of using his new company to fulfil both ends of the supply and disposal process.
William Hayden was a family man and by the early 1950’s he had three sons.
Building upon his family values coupled with his vision for the future William decided that when, in 1953, he formally incorporated the company – he would naturally call it William Hayden and Son Ltd. This was the formation of the company as it is today.
William steered the company forward. He expanded the fleet and spread his endeavours employing more drivers and operators along the way. Vehicles of the day were extremely temperamental and required much more attention than modern day counterparts – William was up to the challenge and maintained the growing fleet ‘in house’.
William Hayden and Son Ltd continued through the swinging sixties and by the turn of the decade was employing the second generation of Haydens in the form of Bill, Eric and Alan – pictured above with any early truck (Note that high visibility jackets were not in vogue back in the day!).
The company began to diversify and move into other areas and by the arrival of the third generation was into Plant Hire, Skips, Demolition and Muck removal from sites. These changes were necessary, mainly due to the demise of the industry of the Old Black Country and the development of building projects and road schemes that replaced them.
Throughout those years and throughout the various incarnations William Hayden and Son Ltd is still a family business. The company has, more or less, returned to its roots – removing spoil and muck! Although there are virtually no foundries left, having been replaced by hypermarkets, there is still a need for the removal of muck and spoil and the firm is still there! Removing muck and spoil!
This is a circular story. Mr Hayden started a company in the late 1940’s which is run today by his grandsons and great grandchildren – Andy, Phil, Michael, Jacob and Camilla. The current generation are standing on the shoulders of their fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfather to carry the family name proudly into the future.