Marstons football team dominated the local league in the 1930’s and in 1938 won the League playing the final at Craven Cottage. Three of the Sackett family played for the team – front row right – they were scaffolders and labourers. WJ Marston is standing second from left and John W Marston is standing third from right.
The Football team in about 1990 – 5 a side between W J Marston & Son against the hotels teams.
The 1950’s saw the hey day of the Company annual ‘beano’ which was a real treat for the men who were used to working every Saturday. A trip to the seaside paid for by the boss was something special and everyone would wear a new cap – most of which were lost during the day ! to mark the event everyone would wear a red and cream rosette pinned to a smart suit.
For most people who worked for Marstons between the 1930’s to 1970’s the annual beanos held fond memories. They were always ‘well oiled’ events and this is all the more remarkable because the older Marstons were teetotal .
Marstons final beano was held on the 25th August 1978 due in part to the evolutionary change from direct employees to subcontractors.
Summer outings replaced the beanos
1991 company outing to see the new flats completed at Tideway Wharf. John Marston is in the front third from left.
2011 company outing to Greenwhich to see the Queen’s House, the Painted Hall, the Naval College and the Cutty Sark. Caroline Marston is centre front step.
Family and company celebrations
1938 Over 200 staff and ‘their ladies’ were invited to celebrate Mr and Mrs Marstons Golden wedding. Bob Bence presented the couple with a gold coffee set and WJ was completely taken aback by the warmth and affection shown them. Their daughters Lily and Alice both sang and some of the staff put on entertainment
In 1976 Staff celebrated John and Elsie’s golden wedding in the canteen in Stephendale Road. Later in 1995 Around 150 staff, former employees and family celebrated the Company’s centenary in Fulham Town Hall. John and Mette Marston are 6th and 7th from the right in the front row with Anne and Tony to the left of them. Caroline and James Marston are seated in the far right front row and Andrew Marston third from the left. Other Marstons are scattered through the crowd.
Image left: John Marston at the Company celebration at Fulham Palace in 2008. Image Right: John Marston collecting his MBE from Buckingham Palace in 2011
Proud of the trades
In around 1923 Marstons acquired the freehold to a property at 1 Stephendale Road and opened a Joiners shop. Most joinery for sites was manufactured in the shop including windows, doors and fitted furniture as well as specialist items for churches and museums. Ted Atkins joined as a joiner in 1947 from the Navy taking over as foreman in 1960 from Charlie McLennon. Ted eventually retired in 1990 leaving the joiners shop to be rented out for a while before it was closed in 1995.
In 1914 Harry Sander a 14 year old lad joined for an Easter job as a ‘smudge’ on a school painting contract and stayed until 1984 – In the early days Harry thought nothing of walking several miles often pushing a hand cart loaded with timber scaffold before doing a full days work - he is Marstons longest serving employee.Harry later became the company’s lorry driver and was behind the wheel of the Marston lorry that followed the Mayor’s car across the new Wandsworth Bridge when it was opened in 1939.
Harry served in the army from 1918 to 1924 and again from 1940 to 1946 in the Royal Army Service Corp, seeing service as an ambulance driver during D-Day to VE & occupation of Germany, in the BOAR - driving a variety of ambulances all christened 'Fulham'.
Painters on the job - note the collars and ties as well as overalls. Freddie James on the far right always looked very dapper. Marston has maintained directly employed decorators since 1895.
Pictured above in October 1965 Harry, also a painter as well as van driver stands in front of one of the vans he drove.
Leroy Chase (image left) joined Marstons from school, left and came back again in 1981. In 2016 celebrated 35 years service and still counting!
Charlie Price tuck pointing at Devonshire House and Mount Clare in 1959. The red bricks had to be pointed with raised white pointing not used for 50 years -luckily Charlie had been apprenticed to his father and could recall the skills required.
1981 Dave Ingram at the tender age of 17 collecting an award during his four year apprentice training. William Marston originally a tin plate and zinc roofer became a plumber, a new trade in the 1890’s through the skills he had already acquired. William trained Bob Bence( started 1901 )who trained Buddy Wright who trained Bill Polden (started 1949) who trained Dave Ingram started who in 2017 completed 37 years plumbing service for Marstons and continues to do so as well as train new plumbers.
Gangers and labourers
Note the block and tackle that was used to lift the steelwork along with brute strength. The foundations were dug by hand although there were mechanical cement mixers. The scaffold poles were made from timber, euphemistically called ‘the sticks’ with absolutely no protection for anyone working at height.
Before the days of hard hats and hi-viz instead neckerchiefs, waistcoats and caps were the order of the day and of course having a ciggie on the go – no problem - the Health and Safety at Work Act was not introduced until 1974.
All the lifting, carting and digging still had to be done by hand by the labourers under the eyes of the gangers. Among the hardest working labourers were the Sackett brothers, two of who worked for Marstons in the 1920’s and four by the 1930’s. Two of the Sacketts went on to become extremely efficient gangers continuing with the Company until they retired in the 1970’s. Teddy Sacketts son also joined Marstons in the 1960’s. A family firm in more than one sense it has been a long running trait of Marstons to employ one or more member of the same family.