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Premises Dartford

Biography > Hills Electrical > Premises
It was October 1994. We were looking for premises somewhere in the London area. A company called Bribern Electrical  had gone bankrupt and some of their staff wanted to join our organisation and start a new branch. We drove around until we found the premises pictured above on the London Road outside Dartford. I phoned these estate agent and was told that they were probably sold but if we cared we could enter race with the other buyer. If we could complete first they would be ours. I phoned our solicitor, a guy called David Roberts and told him the situation. That was on the Tuesday of the week and by the following Monday we owned it.

It turned out that the property had been built by the Co-op before the war. It was a butchers shop. They used to drive the cattle down the road into the butchers slaughter them there and then,  carve them up and sell the meat. A rather gory, detail by time we moved in,  was that the concrete still had the rivulet markings were the blood used to flow into the drains. Above what was the butchers shop the Co-op, because they cared for their employees, created a dance hall.  So employees, somewhat incongruously, would dance above this butchers shop.

When we bought it there was a large open plan area downstairs some stores behind and upstairs was in offices. If you went out of the offices there was also a 2 bed flat within the property. I was quite taken with the idea of using the flat for holidays. Popping down at the weekend with my family and enjoying the delights of London, seemed like a good idea.

So I had the flat refurbished, repapered, together with a  new boiler new lighting and new storage. Then one Friday evening we decided that we’d try it out. I started to drive down about 6:00 o’clock at night ,when I finished work in the dark. We got as far as Watford Gap services when we remembered that had forgotten something vital and we had to drive back and pick it up. By the time I actually pulled in to Dartford I wasn’t very happy and since the flat had only just been wallpapered it was still a little damp, and the paint smell was awful. This wasn’t good for our health. We passed a rather uneasy night sleeping there and then wandered around London the next day. On the Sunday morning we had a look around central London again, parking by Tower Bridge which you could do in those days. Then we drove back home and we never went back again. We did use the flat after that to allow workers who needed somewhere to stay to use it. So it wasn’t a waste of money.

In fact the flat came in useful when we wanted to carry out some remedial extensions. We employed a firm of  builders from Walsall and they went down to do the work and stayed in the flat. Amazingly they managed to persuade a couple of girls to come back with them to the flat for the evening. After a few drinks the girls decided they wanted to leave and in fact panicked. They couldn’t figure their way out so they broke through the main premises smashed down the front door and left. The builders had a real battle to repair the damage they done and hide the facts.

I used to visit for meetings on a fairly regular basis. If the M25 was not jammed you could just do it in two and a half hours. I ‘d set off at 6.30am and hammer down as fast as I could. I’d arrive at a couple of minutes to 9.00am by which time I was in need of a pee. I’d park, sprint up the stairs and then descend in a more gradual fashion, before we would start whatever meeting was appropriate. When the M25 was jammed it could take an eternity. On one occasion it took 12 hours.

We operated successfully from the premises for some years carrying out some very prestigious projects from there including London Wall, the Gherkin and the Bank of England

Unfortunately, as things began to go wrong across the company we were forced to sell up and close the branch. We eventually did that in November 2007, so we had a good run of 13 years owning it during that time we made some substantial profits.

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