AN electrical firm, believed to be Stalybridge’s oldest family business, has been wired up for 100 years.
E Taylor & Son, commercial and industrial electrical and lighting specialist now in its fourth generation, has reached its landmark birthday.
And third generation Peter Taylor reaches a personal milestone on March 1 when he will have completed 50 years in the business.
The company, situated at the junction of Melbourne Street and Castle Street, has an impressive portfolio of clients including the VW, Mercedes and Jaguar dealerships while its town centre shop serves the public.
And one of its most impressive recent projects was providing the lighting for a new bridge at Piccadilly in Manchester city centre.
It is a world away from when Edwin Taylor began the company in 1920 charging accumulator batteries for customers’ wireless radios. He ran it from an outbuilding at the back of the Hippodrome Theatre.
Indeed, Peter added there has been considerable changes during the history of the company.
Peter, 67, said: “The company started with gas lighting being the norm. We are now installing LED with no bulbs. Lighting and technology has come a long way in 100 years.
“In my 50 years we have gone from 150 and 200 watt bulbs, fluorescent and halogen lighting to 20w LEC lights which are as bright as 200w bulbs.”
Edwin, an electrician by trade, formed his own company aged 35, having previously served his time as an apprentice with Rolls Royce and later worked for Ferranti’s where he was given the responsibility of fitting the electrical switchboard on the RMS Lusitania, the ocean liner sunk by a German U-boat in May 1915.
He was raised in Oldham but moved to Stalybridge, where he opened his business on Trinity Street which developed and he eventually began wiring houses, notably the new homes on Brushes Estate.
Edwin died in 1938 aged only 53 with the business taken over by his son Eddie who had joined the family business in the early 1930s and led it through the challenging war-time period between 1939-45.
The business was well established and grew rapidly and at one time employed 20 electricians throughout the North West.
In 1953, the business broke new ground with its first retail outlet which sold a range of lighting and electrical appliances in the former Kings Arms pub on Market Street.
Eddie also served in public office as a councillor on Stalybridge Town Council and in 1960-61 he and wife Mary were elected mayor and mayoress. He served for more than 28 years and in 1972 he was honoured to be made a freeman of the borough.
Eddie’s teenage son Peter joined the business in 1970 and remains in charge, running it with his wife Barbara and son Ian, who became involved in 1995.
Another move in 1973 took E Taylor & Son into the town centre and its current home to improve the retail side of the business and service to its customers.
Ian is in charge of installations on commercial and domestic contracts.
Peter’s sisters Maureen and Sheila were also involved in the company for more than 25 years, though both are now retired.
Today the business employs only two non-family members and they sub-contract work for the bigger contracts.
Peter said: “Many of our former employees have started their own businesses and we use them for big jobs.
“We cannot afford to carry a larger staff which is partially down to Brexit which has made it hard to predict what will happen and often left us firefighting.”Looking back at innovations, Peter said there has been some “fantastic changes” adding the industry is safer than ever because if improved technology, both for homeowners and those who work in the industry.
“Because of technology and the protection of circuits, there are less fires in home and electrocutions. Health and safety has also made it safer for workers,” he said.
E Taylor & Son, member of the NICEIC and ECA, the industry’s two leading trade bodies, carry out refurbishments for VW, Mercedes and Jaguar dealerships throughout the north of England, working in partnership since 1974 with Hyde builders Hantall Developments.
And in the case of Smith, Knight and Fay, Gee Cross, they have carried out three major projects when it was built in 1974, refurbished as VW in the 1980s and in 2018 became Audi used car sales.
Their biggest recent job was when they designed and installed the lighting for the new VW Van Centre at Trafford Park which is the largest repair workshop in Britain with 18 ramps.
Peter is heavily involved in community activities, Stalybridge Town Team and Stalybridge Business Forum and previously with Stalybridge Chamber of Trade which is no longer in existence.
To celebrate the centenary, E Taylor & Son are sponsoring Stalybridge Celtic’s home game against Morpeth Town on March 14 and on March 21 host a celebration for family, friends, customers and clients at the Broadoak Hotel, Ashton.
Looking to the next 100 years, Peter believes there will be further great advances.
He said: “There will still be a big future for our industry as everybody will still need electricity, whether it be for cars, trains or in homes.
“We are already seeing the wiring of premises has already started to change with wireless technology.
“You are able to switch on lights without physically doing so. It is definitely space age and things you saw on Star Trek are slowly becoming the everyday norm.”