Jim Rawley - Local Builder

Alfred Rawley
!936/38 - Jim Rawley 3rd team member from right in the back row
Janet Rawley
Jim Rawley 3rd team member from the right in back row
Janet Rawley
Workers in Pound Lane Workshop
Janet Rawley
Stepping up - Colin, left, and Howard Rawley
ECHO Tuesday June 7 2011

My father, the late Jim Rawley, moved to Laindon with his parents Margaret and Alfred Rawley, together with his four sisters in 1919. His father, Alfred, was a Solicitor’s Clerk to his brother-in-law Walter Coleman; he later started a small estate agent’s business situated at the top end of Laindon High Road and to my own recollection he a had a very small office in the late 60s at the approach opposite the Railway Station, you had to cross the ditch over some wooden boards to get to it.

The family eventually moved to “Nickleby”, St Nicholas Lane – a wooden bungalow they had built but very small inside. It was eventually pulled down due to the Basildon Development Corporation’s compulsory purchase. They lived – (that is my grandparents) for a while in “The Grove”, Langdon Hills, which my father owned.

In his younger days he played football for the Laindon Hotel ? Chris Collins and Sid Clifford also being players.

He served for a while in the Royal Artillery as a Signaller during the War.

He trained to be a carpenter with and by a Mr Patrick. There was another local builder that he knew who was a Mr Cass who apparently built a lot of the bungalows on St Nicholas Lane the same person who built my grandparent’s bungalow.

Bill LanceWally DabbsSyd MumfordE ThurwoodJim Rawley

Dad eventually became a builder, married and had four children and lived in Pound Lane, Laindon in a bungalow built by him, until 1969, when the family moved to Bicknacre in a house that was the last one he built. He was killed in an accident in 1973.

When my father was building and living in Laindon, he built quite a few houses in the surrounding areas as well as Laindon and Langdon Hills. Stock, Horndon on the Hill, Galleywood, Stanford-le-Hope and Ramsden Heath. My sister, Cora Shorter, still lives in one of the properties he built. 

In 1961 my brother Colin came out of the RAF and together with my father they started the Plant Hire Company which this year is celebrating its 50th year of business. They used the builder’s yard for a while until a purpose built office block and yard was built at Durham Road in 1968.

In 2003 they moved to Harvey Road, Basildon now running a completely different plant hire company from it’s beginning, now specialising in site accommodation and toilets only. No scaffolding or mechanical plant. Colin runs this with his son Howard so the Rawley name in business is still about.

Rawley building winner

Article by Tom King (Echo - Business Essex June 7, 2011)

ROAD crews working on the M25 road-widening scheme between Thurrock and Brentwood can bask in the comforts of home. That is thanks to a Basildon company that celebrates its 50th anniversary this month.

Rawley Plant, of Burnt Mills, manufactures, hires and sells products at the Ideal Home end of the site unit market. The whiff of easy living has gone down well with construction and civil engineering companies such as John Laing, Balfour Beatty, Skanska and Birse, all of whom have hired Rawley Plant’s products. Rawley units are also being used on the Olympic Games site.

The Rawley story began in 1951 with the company’s first contract. It was for the hire of a single ladder and scaffold board to a home decorator in Laindon. The transaction was worth just 30 shillings (£1.50). Today, Rawley has an annual turnover measured in millions. The man who made that first sale, Colin Rawley, still runs the company as chairman. Now, though, he is supported by four generations of the family. “I remember that first sale very well,” says Mr Rawley, “because it was the start of a memorable working journey. It was 1961 and my father Jim, who was a house builder, had seen the potential.”

Rawley Plant’s products grew through tool hire to contractors’ large plant, scaffolding, site accommodation and toilet rental. Then came a change in company strategy. Leaving an overcrowded plant hire sector in 2003, the company opted to specialise in site accommodation and toilet hire. Mr Rawley says: “This sector has grown with the help of two trends – enhanced health and safety regulations in construction and the British love of outdoor events.”

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  • My father used to deliver groceries to the Rawleys at “Nickleby” in St Nicholas Lane. I remember a lady who was very nice, possibly Margaret Rawley. I was friendly with
    Cherry Rawley who lived in Pound Lane and assume she was the daughter of Jim Rawley.

    By Georgina Nottage ne Ellingford (26/09/2020)
  • As a young child I accompanied my mother on her trips down the High Road. A routine stop was to pay the rent to Rawley Estate Agent whose little office sat on stilts opposite the entrance to Station Approach. Our rent was twelve shillings a week! Some years later George Hill and I often rode the train back from Fenchurch Street with Cora Rawley and her friends Eileen Cullington and Audrey (can’t remember her last name). Audrey lived in either Pound Lane or Church Road. George Hill courted her for some time. A happy trio of girls.

    By alan davies (24/09/2020)
  • I knew Janet Rawley. when I was a kid about 14.
    Her father built a house in Worthing Road for the Cheesman family.
    PS. We used to play on the scaffolding!!!

    By Stephen White (24/09/2020)
  • Hi Janet,  I was astonished and delighted to find your article about Alfred Rawley and his descendants on the website while trying to track down some family history.  My grandfather was Robert Rawley who was the third child in that generation of Rawleys (Walter, Kate, Robert, Jack and Alfred). I have an old photo of the family from the early 1900s and would like to be able to identify everybody in the photo, which includes Walter Coleman plus his and Kate’s first two children.  I would like to share the photo with you if you could contact me by e-mail.  I now live in Vancouver, Canada. Thank you!

    Pauline Collyer (nee Rawley)

    Editor:  Pauline, unfortunately we do not have Janet’s email address to pass on to you.  Hopefully she will make contact upon reading your comment.

    By Pauline Collyer (04/03/2016)
  • Hi Janet I remember your sister Cora. We went to the youth centre at Laindon High Road School.  We walked along A127 to Pound Lane many times.   She was a lovely girl but did not like her name Cora, so I knew her as Ann. Memories from the 50s.

    Best Wishes Len Miller.

    By Leonard Miller (05/03/2015)
  • In the 3rd photo down, ‘workers in Pound Lane workshop’ my sister Janet is mistaken. The man on the left is Bill Lance, a plumber and heating engineer who lived in Langdon Hills and carried all plumbing, heating and gutter work for my father’s house-building business.

    Editor: Thanks Colin I have rectified it, if you find other omissions, errors or you wish to add more please let me know.

    By Colin Rawley (12/12/2011)
  • Hi Janet; My parents rented number 1 Denbigh Road from Mr Rawley. I was born there in February 1943 and moved out about 11 years or so later. In the 1950s it was sometimes my job to go and pay the rent – I did this errand as quickly as possible because I was scared stiff! I was very young and the walk over those boards to the office seemed way up in the sky (a ditch?). Also Mr Alfred Rawley frightened the wits out of me but I had no valid reason for that. I can still walk through that house and gardens in my mind. I loved the old steam trains thundering by, hearing the toots and waves from the engine drivers. I believe Rawley Plant is built near or on my old house site. Its good to read your history, thanks.

    By Andrea Ash (née Pinnell) (04/12/2011)

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