75 Years of Excellence
26/10/2011

W & J Chambers
Alan Chamber (lorry driver) receives a delivery order from brother William at the W & J Chambers Sand, Gravel and Concrete Products depot in Drumahow.

Chances are, if your house was built in the last 75 years, it was built with a brick from W&J Chambers.

 

The business, based at 91 Glenshane Road has just celebrated its 75th anniversary, making it one of the city's most long standing companies.

Three generations of Chambers men have now come through the company which was first started by John Chambers, formerly a farmer, in June 1935. Initially four or five men were employed using hand-moulds and it's now one the of North West's largest manufacturers of concrete products.

"At that time things operated on a very primitive basis," explained the present owner, Mr. Will Chambers, a son of the founder.

"We employed a handful of men producing bricks for various uses and our sole means of transport was a motorcycle and side-car which was used to carry cement from a city centre store to the plant," he added.

W&J Chambers was initially established to produce concrete blocks, but in recent years has expanded into some new product areas: specifically aggregates, sand, ready to use mortar, premixed concrete and pre-packed sand/gravel.

Originally based at Sandbank in Ballyarnett, W&J Chambers later moved to Lisdillon in Ardmore before locating to their current site in 1958.

By the 1960s, John's only son Will took over the business, with the help of his wife Rita. In the 1980s he was joined by his five sons: John, David, Gordon, William
Junior and Alan, all of whom play an active role in the company today.

W&J Chambers began by manufacturing concrete blocks , however further expansion came in 1942 when they acquired the site at Lisdillon and started to produce sand and gravel.In 1947 W&J Chambers had one of the North West's first sand and gravel washingplants.

Further developments and expansion came in the 1980s when W&J Chambers took over sand pits in Donemana and Burndennet. In 1994 they acquired their first stone quarry
at Lisbunny.ln 2004 they acquired their first farm feed and equestrian store based in Drumahoe and are now one of the leading suppliers of farm feed and equestrian supplies.

The most recent expansion came this year when W&J Chambers secured a new site at Coleraine.

W&J Chambers can now offer a wider range of building and concrete products to an expanding customer base. These new product areas have provided a boost to the company's sales levels.

However no job is too small, while W & J Chambers supply to some of Northern Ireland's biggest contractors they also offer a one to one service to individuals.

Recently W & J Chambers who now employ 60 staff were joined by employees past and present at a celebration event in the Beech Hill Hotel.

Will says he puts the success of the business down to the loyalty of the workforce.

"When I first took over the running of the company, my wife, Rita, and myself kept the company books and as well as getting up early in the morning to make sure that our orders were filled on time, often working into the small hours to ensure that the books balanced."

"We have a hardworking bunch of lads, some of whom have been with us for as long as 40 years. They all seems to be happy in what they do and everyone pulls together to make sure that things go smoothly."

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank tham all for their services over the years," he said.


Mr. and Mrs. Will and Rite Chambers with their sons Gordon and David at their offices at Drumahow.

This article is from the Derry Journal.