Biography > Hills Electrical > Premises
We decided to move into Scotland when we heard about a man who wanted to open a branch for us in Edinburgh. He’d been working for another firm of contractors and when the owners son bought himself Ferrari he was offended and wanted to set up with a more orthodox company. We started out with some small premises rented in a place called Bilston Glen, the enterprise started well and we carried out some nice contracts.
One of the contracts we were employed to carry out was the refurbishment of Iona Abbey. Iona Abbey is a difficult place to reach it requires 2 ferry hops, one from the mainland across the Isle of Mull, and then from Mull another short ferry hop across to Iona. The job went well, electricians stayed on the island over the winter and everyone was happy with the results. We decided to take a journalist across to have a look. We got to Mull checked in to the hotel and went for a meal in a restaurant on Mull. We had a very nice meal and it was, maybe, half past midnight by the time we drove back to the hotel which was by now completely locked. We made some frantic phone calls and managed to get hold of the caretaker to come and open up for us so we could go to bed. He was not a happy bunny the next morning we had breakfast and drove across the island to catch the ferry to Iona where we spent the day talking to people and examining the job that had gone on. The QS we met was due at a meeting in London the next morning. He was driving a Land Rover Discovery and was going to drive overnight all the way down to London. I was driven across Mull and back to Glasgow Airport where I caught the flight home, spent the night at home, and then caught a train down to London where I bumped into the same QS again. He seemed no worse for his journey
We looked around for new premises and could find nothing to buy. I had been kicking around the idea of building a pyramid. The logic being that we needed something that was different and would make us stand out. It was less about efficient use of space and more about making a statement. A builder who was going bust decided that they would build it for us at a very competitive price and so we bought the land and a built the pyramid.
We started to open branches with at an open day. So we got the local MP round and he cut the ribbon. Then we all went off a ride around the area in a helicopter. One of our staff was afraid of heights and decided that he would conque his fear once and for all by taking a helicopter flight. So he drove all the way up from Walsall to Edinburgh and was ready to go up in the chopper. We let all of the guests have their flight and then it was our turn. I walked out of the building but our Walsall man stopped at the door as though there was a sheet of glass there and stopped. He then had the pleasure of driving all the way back home for nothing.
As things started to go wrong we struggled more and more to get business and eventually I ended up having to sell the premises. Fortunately there was a company who's logo was a pyramid and they snapped up the building instantly.
However whilst we were waiting for them to complete the gypsies decided to move in and park on our land. We knew the drill by now and I posted £500 in cash up to my contact in Edinburgh who then paid them to go away. He handed over the money on the basis that they would honour it and move out. I was staggered when they actually did that rather than ask for more and more money. Once they had gone the sale could proceed and that was the end of the adventure in Edinburgh.