ABOUT STALHAM ENGINEERING
We are a family business which has been established on the same site in Stalham, Norfolk, since 1938.
The current owners are the eight sons of the founder, six of whom are currently involved in the general day to day running of the business. Over the years, the company has grown and developed into the business you see today.
We offer a range of car, agricultural and garden machinery services including new and used sales, servicing and repairs. We also have a garage with full forecourt facilities.
In 1938 S. J. (Jimmy) Nicholson rented the cottage and blacksmiths workshop for ten shillings (50p) per week. The garage workshop and forecourt now stand on the site of the old blacksmiths shop.
Jimmy had started in business on his own account two years earlier as a Threshing Machine Contractor, operating a Ransomes Steam Traction engine together with a Threshing Drum and Straw Pitcher. He borrowed the initial deposit of £60 from a local smallholder.
Over the next few years a combination of hard work, enthusiasm and a desire of success, the business expanded to operate six threshing sets all driven by Steam Traction engines.
After the second world war, farm mechanisation brought the demise of steam power. So in 1948 the old engines were sold together with much of the older machinery. Tractors took over as the power source on farms and gradually through the 1950s combine harvesters took over the harvesting of the grain crops, forcing Jimmy to move into more general farm contracting operations.
In 1957 a new enterprise was created, with planning permission granted to operate a petrol filling station on the premises. This led into motor car repairs and sales of accessories.
The 1960s again provided expansion and opportunity with many farmers buying their own machinery. Demand for contracting gradually diminished. Jimmy moved into the world of hydraulic excavator hire by purchasing a Whitlock Digger. By the early 70s a fleet of over 20 machines with operators were contracted out to coincide with installation of mains sewers and house building in the area. Bacton GasTerminal provided an immense amount of work during this time.
During the 60s and 70s the premises were rebuilt in order to provide modern facilities. Adjacent land and a farmyard were also purchased to increase the total premises to over 3 acres. The agricultural machinery sector had been created and a totally new set of buildings and yard was built to split the business into separate operating concerns.
All the growth of the business during this period had coincided with the sons of the founder joining father Jimmy. Malcolm, the eldest, had spent some time with a firm of accountants and joined in 1957, initially to operate machinery. He gradually took over the administration and financial matters. Tony had served his apprenticeship with an agricultural machinery company and brought in valuable knowledge of farm machinery. John joined direct from school and served petrol for many years. He also had a big input into the development of the motor services section. After working in a local store, Roger joined to look after the parts operation. During the next few years the younger sons also joined the company, Henry after serving a parts apprenticeship at a Norwich motor dealer, Alan direct from school, David after working at a food processing plant and lastly Tim also joined direct from school.
The business moved forward by operating in three main sectors, agricultural machinery and services, new car sales and motor services and garden machinery.
As well as the eight sons already mentioned, founder Jimmy and wife Kathleen also had six daughters who in turn all have families and are all working in their own business or chosen professions.
Jimmy Nicholson, the founder, died at the age of 82 in 1998 but not before recording his memories in the form of two books both of which are local best sellers. ‘I kept a troshin’ and ‘More muck than Money’ contain many tales of his early business years and much about life in general.
Directors: M. G. Nicholson (Secretary), A. W. Nicholson, G. H. Nicholson, A. R. Nicholson, D. G. Nicholson, P Nicholson, T C Nicholson
Registered Office: The Green, Stalham, Norwich, Norfolk, NR12 9QG
Registered in England 759472