Ad feature: Family run March plumbing firm is BR & L Britchford are celebrating 50 years of trading
This month sees a family-run firm celebrating the landmark anniversary of 50 years in business.
BR& L Britchford was started in August 1969 by Basil Britchford, who tired of working for others decided it was time to go it alone - he was just 20 at the time.
Since then Basil, who has been supported by his wife Linda since he started the firm, has seen the plumbing business go from strength to strength - so much so that he no longer drives a sign-written van and rarely needs to advertise for business.
“We have so much work, it all comes from word of mouth. I’m 70 now and should be slowing down, but that is not possible, we are so in demand. As a result we are always looking for reliable apprentices to join us and learn the trade,” said Basil, who works with son Ben, who joined the company after leaving school at the age of 16.
Basil began his plumbing career with an apprenticeship in construction and carpentry at the then Wisbech Tech College, but after watching a plumber at work decided he wanted to specialise in plumbing.
“Brick work was what I was really good at back then, but I watched the plumber doing lead work, and I was hooked. Lead work, doing bay windows and things like that is still my favourite part of the job, but obviously fitting kitchens, bathrooms and heating systems are the bread and butter for the company,” said Basil.
He worked as an apprentice with a couple of local firms including PT Morton and Son earning 30s 6d a week, losing the 6d for the cost of his tools.
Since setting up his own company Basil, has repaid the support he had starting out, by helping to train a number of apprentices, including Ben, 45, who is now responsible for much of the firm’s gas work having attained all the necessary certifications and accreditations.
As well as providing essential plumbing services to lots of local people in their homes, Basil has also worked on a number of major projects in and around the area including the Wheel Centre and the Cavalry estate both in March.
“The Cavalry work kept me busy for a number of years and I really enjoyed being on site,” said Basil, who is also well-known as a former football referee for the Cambs League and also running the local five-a-side league with Linda.
“We had our own team for a number of years and really enjoyed the five-a-side,” said Basil, who was courting Linda when he first set up BR & L Britchford, the couple have now been married for 48 years and as well as Ben have two daughters, Rebecca and Emma.
Linda has always supported Basil with his business providing the necessary admin support including ‘doing the books’.
Basil said: “Fifty years is a long time, but I have enjoyed it. I don’t think I fancy retiring, and I can’t even think of it at the moment, even if I did as we are so busy. We have had our ups and downs, there have been rough patches like the the recession in the 1990s, but we have come through them and we’re still going strong.”
More by this authorSarah Cliss