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History 2019-07-17T08:08:10+00:00

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Stonemason George Hodges started as a builder in 1877 working from a hand cart based in Derby Street, Burton on Trent. His son Frederick joined him in 1895, at the age of 16, and the company became Messrs. Geo Hodges & Son. In 1916, after the death of his father, Fred took over the firm. In 1926 Fred became the President of the National Federation of Building Trade Employers and was a member of the special committee which brought into being the National Working Rules and Conditions.

Geo. Hodges & Son Ltd was incorporated in 1932 and in the same year it purchased its current premises, which it had previously leased. Fred’s son Geoffrey George became a director of the Company in 1946. He had previously served as Colonel of the 6th North Staffordshire Regiment, which he had joined as a Territorial during the war. After Fred’s death in 1948 Geoffrey became Chairman and Managing Director. Under his control the company grew and took on larger projects, for the Burton on Trent Corporation, local Industries and the Breweries and Maltings. During World War II the extensive joinery and machine shops were utilised by the MoD to produce aircraft wing spars and fuselage bulkheads.

After the war the Company was employed to build council housing. This was the only time, apart from the occasional one off speculative built house, that the company undertook mass housing projects, instead choosing to concentrate on industrial work for the Breweries and Maltings and other industries all over the country. Over time the Company also undertook civil engineering works for the Central Electricity Generating Board in the Midlands.

Contracts grew in size and number and in the 1970’s the Company had over 250 employees and was one of the largest Building Contractors in Staffordshire. Gradually, with the onset of mechanical plant and equipment, the number of labourers reduced, and the Company became one that employed mostly tradesmen, some of whom progressed to Foremen and eventually, Site Managers. This trend has continued until this day and most of our Site Managers have worked for us since leaving school.

The Company’s Centenary year in 1977 saw the death of Daphne Hodges, the wife of Frederick, and Colonel Geoffrey George O.B.E, TD., J.P., D.L., F.I.O.B. As Geoffrey was a bachelor and had no heirs, there were no remaining members of the Hodges family associated with the Company, although it still retains the Hodges name today. It is testament to the Company that in this centenary year 30 employees were awarded gold watches for 21 or more years’ service, a tradition that continues to this day, where 9 current employees have achieved this status.

The Company has always been progressive and forward thinking, and, under the leadership of Frank Berry, expansion included the installation of one of the first Olivetti computers in 1983, which needed its own office. It calculated the payroll of 150 employees and assisted with the estimating.

After the recession in 1983 and 84, although the number of employees had reduced, the Company was committed to training young employees and during 1986 took on two trainee quantity surveyors, who went on to attain B.Sc. degrees in quantity surveying. This became the way forward and continues to this day.

In 1986 the Company first ventured into the world of garden centres and constructed the Byrkley Park Garden Centre near Burton on Trent. Since then it has gained extensive experience in this industry and undertakes projects all over the country. As a private company the directors and their successors continued to run the Company until in 2001, after the retirement of Mr Frank Berry and Mr Chris Baker, the Managing Director Chris Frost purchased the total shareholding and promoted the current directors to further the continuation of the Company.

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