Business History

Back in the 1800’s long before recycling became a buzz word the Schofield family were hard at work earning a living recycling any suitable material that came their way, typically woollen waste, leather belting, wooden bobbins, anything the areas booming textile industry could reuse.

James Schofield, born in 1828, and his wife Elizabeth bought land and property on the present site at Greenhead, Linthwaite 800ft up on a Pennine hillside in 1876, the deeds for the land show him to be a woollen waste dealer, James died in 1842 with the property passing to his wife. Upon her death in 1908 Joe Benjamin (J.B.) Schofield one of James 4 children paid £700 for the property and 3 acres of land and the business of J.B. Schofield was born, by now dealing in scrap metal. Originally the earliest paperwork that the company could find referred to 1912, this being the reason for established 1912on the vehicles, it is however wrong.

J.B. Schofield (Joe) had 4 sons 2 of whom, Norman and Stanley took the opportunity in 1920 to buy for the princely sum of £410 another 8 acres of land to add to what was already in the family. Later in 1941 Norman paid £800 to buy the rest of the familys share in all the land and property at Greenhead thus setting the scene for the next 3 generations of Schofields.

Like most other business of the time the horse and cart was the transport of the day, however in 1933 13 years after Joes death the first diesel engined vehicles came along, YG8732 a Morris commercial, by 1954 following the lean postwar years Norman, encouraged by sons Carl and George had scraped the money together to buy the companys first new vehicle, a Perkins P6 engined Dodge 5 tonner based on payload in those days of course. Norman told the two This is the last new wagon Ill ever buy. He did, however buy the business of W. Oldcorn from his friend William Bill Oldcorn , involved in coal and general haulage W.Oldcorn still trades from the same office as J.B. Schofield.

Normans death at the age of 67 in 1964 led to Carl and younger brother George taking over the business with some stock but very little money. The two brothers set about expanding the company forming J.B. Schofield & Sons Ltd, larger vehicles Foden, probably the best premium vehicle of that era were the chosen marque, forming a trend that is carried to the current day. A new crane with electro magnet for handling the ferrous scrap metal, crawler excavators, wheeled loaders and crawler cranes were all aquired with demolition and plant hire being undertaken.

During the 1960 in Schofields home valley the Colne Valley, famous for its textile mills, rows of stone weavers cottages built to service the now declining industry where being condemned and demolished and replaced with modern housing thus keeping the demolition equipment busy. Larger industrial demolition sites were of course providing scrap metal for the scrap processing side of the business. Many of the new houses were being built from the same stone and wood reclaimed from the destruction of the houses being replaced, many houses in the Huddersfield area being built from materials supplied by Schofields.

Although textiles were declining the local villages were growing providing yet more work for the plant hire business, stripping soil and sub soil in conjunction with local developers, these fields now unrecognisable as sprawling housing estates.

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