Refrigeration in Nottingham


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hi Frank

Are you familiar with John S Hall Refrigeration, or Watnall Refrigeration? The first was around many years ago, the latter a little later.

Kath

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Hi Kath

Yes. i know both. The latter, Watnall was taken over some years back and one of their directors now works for one of my suppliers - Space Airconditioning. Steve McGregor - he's their sales manager for the midlands and my contact. Nice guy.

Can't say I know what happened to JS though. I do know Anthony Hall who is the president of the east midlands refrigeration society.

Frank

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Hi Frank

My hubby worked in the office of JS Hall, on Cliff Rd. The storage place on the ground floor went back into the cave system. We remember Anthony Hall well, he lived at Bingham at that time. [may still do]

Pete Quinton worked at JSH before going out on his own and starting Watnall Refrig. I think he lives in Ruddington now, or thereabouts. Didn't know he'd sold it, we haven't been in touch for years.

Kath

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When I was an apprentice electrician at Coop 1968-1975,

I worked at Coop House. The refrigeration units there were

in 'Benhams Passage' below the store.

I think it was York Refrigeration that used to maintain it?

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Katy, I think JS Hall was in the same building as the company I first started working for, GT RANBY. We were in the old BICC premises and had the top few floors coming out in a square, name elludes me now, but opposite St Mary's Church on High Pavement.

There were no other tennants in the building all the way down from us. The whole building was built into the "living rock" Was it Commerce Square???

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My boss at the time, Geoff Ranby's wife ran a little busy cafe just around the corner. Nancy I think her name was. We also had Jeff Key's rewinds in the same building, real name of them was Ranby and Key's. They bought into a transformer design and winding company while I worked for them too, Nottm Transformers.

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Yes I remember Ranbys cafe.

Also in the square where Ranbys electrical was, was a Carribean club. The name escapes me. It was run by a Jamaican Cricketer?

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Yes I remember Ranbys cafe.

Also in the square where Ranbys electrical was, was a Carribean club. The name escapes me. It was run by a Jamaican Cricketer?

Must have been way after my time there Mick, I worked for Ranby's from1962 to 1964, Thats when I secured an apprenticeship with the NCB.

One of the electricians who worked there used to take his girlfriends to the square at night of a weekend because it was so quiet. He had one of those little Bedford vans with sliding side doors. He gave us a laugh one Monday morning, he'd been in the square the night before doing..well you get the picture, and the van was rocking with extra momentum!! He stopped what he was doing but the van carried on rocking! He looked out the window and a prostitute was entertaining a client leaning on the van!

The square was notorious for prostitutes plying their trade at night..

Still, that was the Lace Market those days....

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Hubby worked at Hall's from '67-'74. He used to walk up flights of stairs to come out the top in Commerce Square to go to the little cafe you mentioned. He would always buy a sausage sandwich [or cob] which were wonderful. During that time he said the only business on the top 3 floors [empty floors between Halls and this business] was a clothing company.

He thinks Ranby's was at the top of the building next door. He said that building was empty from Ranby's all the way down to Cliff Rd. Halls were the only agents in Nottm who supplied York Refrigeration. They did the cold rooms for restaurants, even a mortuary, and beer coolers for pubs, which they made on the premises.

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I wasn't sure Katy, then that building was Ranby's old place where your hubby came up and through. I didn't know the staircase was open all the way down, when Ranby's were in there, myself and another apprentice started to go down the stairs, didn't have a torch or anything, and we could only get so far due to all the windows being bricked up. It was just dark and too dangerous to venture further.

Ranby's used to be on the ground floor, Ranby and Keys the next on down and Nottm Transformer the next one down still. If i recall there was a ladies fashion factory above us... Long time ago. We moved next door into the old BICC wharehouse, our stores was ground floor, next floor up was the offices and above that was Nottm Transformer. I think we left Ranby and Keys Rewinds where they were, can't remember. They were only a small outfit anyway.

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  • 2 years later...

Hi All, just come across these messages, certainly brings back memories both good and bad. Been trying to work out who each of you are and Kath for sure is Brian's husband how are you both.

Well just to clarify a few of the facts, my dad started John S. Hall Refrigeration just after end of World War 2 not sure of exact date but I think around 1946 he originally served his apprentaship at W.J.Furse and was mate to Claude Bilby. He left Furse around 1937 to join Eric Helliwell to start up E.Helliwell & Co Refrigeration a company eventually taken over by Prestcold. My dad started his business in the garage from home 9, Elmhurst Ave, Mapperley (also place of my birth 1938)he later moved his business to 81/83 Cliff Road as you commented an 8 storey building against the cliff side with a fifth floor access to Commerce Square on top of the Cliff accessed from High Pavement.

Yes BICC were next door in Commerce Square and eventually G.T.Ranby Electrical Contractors moved in there with Alan Key joining on the upper floor creating Ranby & Key motor rewinds. From memory I believe a further associated company was there Nottingham Transformers. I also remeber well Ranbys Cafe which was a regular place for lunch.

Back to John S. Hall Ltd., we were distributors for York and covered mainly the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire areas, unfortunately as Brian will remember my father died rather suddenly at only 53 years of age which left me in charge having had little experience of running a business of this size. All of my time had been spent on the pratical engineering aspect of the business and although I say it myself I was quite good but was too easily led by the wims and wishes of York to grow the business and move into new not so familiar air conditioning fields in which we made many very costly mistakes which largely contibuted to our downfall. Changes of top brass at York were no longer supportive and eventually forced us into liqidation in 1967. I tried to pick up the threads with a few of the staff and a number of loyal customers trading as East Midlands Refrigeration but lack of capital made it difficult to sustain and I tried to change from service work to wholesale component supplies which went reasonably well but this required even more finance to develop it. I established a good supply of components from Thermofrost Cryo and eventually became their local stockist for the area but eventually I decided enough was enough as I did not want to end up as I had with John S. Hall so decided to cease business at end of September 1984. TFC asked me to join them which I did on 1st October 1984 where I stayed until I retired in 2001. I now devote all of my time with what was my long term hobby of photography.

I would love to hear from any of the others on this thread and perhaps can help fill in a little more of the past.

Anthony Hall

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Yep, your right about Nottingham Transformer, can't think who ran it, but they had a small staff. One feller was deaf, amazing he read your lips and could manage a good conversation too! I think the owners name was John something or other. A long time ago!!

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Mention of W.J. Furse reminded me that I bought my first car, a 1957 Austin A35, from a member of the Furse family - and he was the original owner. The car was advertised in the NEP - and we went to a very "posh" house on Bridle Road in Bramcote to look at it - and bought it on the spot! The old chap who was selling it had a tear in his eye as we drove away! I believe he said that the house was the home of his son. I remember my dad being very impressed!

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Me again, have been fascinated by the various recolections and been trying to work out who is who, Kath was no problem then it came to Frank not the comments etc., did not fit Frank Eyre so I think it must be Frank Casterton am I right?

As I mentioned before my dad started his refrigeration career with W.J.Furse who were Frigidaire distributors, it was ironic that when Furse closed down their refrigeration department a few of the staff joined us at John S. Hall some may remember a few names, from those days, Frank Eyre, Pete Quinton, Roger Holyland, Tony Milward, Gordon Birch, Eileen Burch etc.

Anthony

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Hi Anthony.

Wow, a blast from the past, to see your posting. How are you and Angela doing? And the children? I remember Jeremy's name but can't think of your daughter's. Are you still in the house next to the church in Bingham? You most likely can see we moved to the States, in 1986. Brian and I often wondered what happened to JS Hall and you too. You missed a name off your staff, Keith Glasby, lived at Colwick I do believe. Brian is out right now, can't wait to tell him about you. He'll be interested to read your postings.

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Hi All, just come across these messages, certainly brings back memories both good and bad. Been trying to work out who each of you are and Kath for sure is Brian's husband how are you both.

Well just to clarify a few of the facts, my dad started John S. Hall Refrigeration just after end of World War 2 not sure of exact date but I think around 1946 he originally served his apprentaship at W.J.Furse and was mate to Claude Bilby. He left Furse around 1937 to join Eric Helliwell to start up E.Helliwell & Co Refrigeration a company eventually taken over by Prestcold. My dad started his business in the garage from home 9, Elmhurst Ave, Mapperley (also place of my birth 1938)he later moved his business to 81/83 Cliff Road as you commented an 8 storey building against the cliff side with a fifth floor access to Commerce Square on top of the Cliff accessed from High Pavement.

Yes BICC were next door in Commerce Square and eventually G.T.Ranby Electrical Contractors moved in there with Alan Key joining on the upper floor creating Ranby & Key motor rewinds. From memory I believe a further associated company was there Nottingham Transformers. I also remeber well Ranbys Cafe which was a regular place for lunch.

Back to John S. Hall Ltd., we were distributors for York and covered mainly the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire areas, unfortunately as Brian will remember my father died rather suddenly at only 53 years of age which left me in charge having had little experience of running a business of this size. All of my time had been spent on the pratical engineering aspect of the business and although I say it myself I was quite good but was too easily led by the wims and wishes of York to grow the business and move into new not so familiar air conditioning fields in which we made many very costly mistakes which largely contibuted to our downfall. Changes of top brass at York were no longer supportive and eventually forced us into liqidation in 1967. I tried to pick up the threads with a few of the staff and a number of loyal customers trading as East Midlands Refrigeration but lack of capital made it difficult to sustain and I tried to change from service work to wholesale component supplies which went reasonably well but this required even more finance to develop it. I established a good supply of components from Thermofrost Cryo and eventually became their local stockist for the area but eventually I decided enough was enough as I did not want to end up as I had with John S. Hall so decided to cease business at end of September 1984. TFC asked me to join them which I did on 1st October 1984 where I stayed until I retired in 2001. I now devote all of my time with what was my long term hobby of photography.

I would love to hear from any of the others on this thread and perhaps can help fill in a little more of the past.

Hi Anthony

Were you involved with the East Midlands Refrigeration Society? I may have met you at Basford Hall College on one of the meeting nights where you tried to re-invigorate the membership? I was there with Brian Killan and others......

Sorry to say, but I'm not the Frank you are thinking of.

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