A new book has been published by John Jempson & Son Ltd., haulage contractors of Rye, to mark the first century and a half since the company’s foundation in 1866. Entitled A Cause for Celebration, it brings up to date a story first told in 1982.
The earlier history is reproduced with illustrations from the horse-drawn origins of the business, through the rapid changes and growth in the twentieth century. The vehicles, the road network, the operating skills of drivers and office staff have all changed immeasurably. What has remained the same is the primary function of management to respond to new conditions, to be innovative and strive to remain profitable whatever the circumstances.
In the last 30 years, this has meant investing in the right vehicles for the job, chasing contracts, and handling staff relations in a changing environment. It has also meant keeping up to date with regulations, much emanating from the EU and generally to the benefit of good working conditions in the industry, however frustrating these appeared at the time they were introduced.
Rich in photographic material, the book gives an interesting and very readable account of relationships built over the years with customers, suppliers and workforce. Members of staff tell their own personal stories of how they came to join the company and some of the incidents they encountered. The feel of a family business has survived the retirement of Jonathan Jempson and the coming in 2004 of Mark Chamberlain as managing director and now majority shareholder.
This business ethos was demonstrated by the holding of a celebratory dinner at the Cavalry and Guards Club in Piccadilly, London on Saturday evening, August 20, attended by customers, suppliers and staff of the company. Held in aid of St Michael’s Hospice, the event raised £15,000.
Written by Brian Weatherley, the former editor of Commercial Motor magazine, the new book is produced by Adams of Rye Ltd, a firm claiming even greater longevity, having been established in 1854. It is a private edition for the firm’s use, but six copies have been donated to Rye News. We shall offer one to the librrary – if anyone is interested in procuring a copy, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Tom Lee