A pictorial history of Sparrows International Crane Hire
A pictorial history of Sparrows International Crane Hire

 

 

 

22/09/2017.  Harry Taylor.

Sad news,  Harry Taylor has passed away. Harry and I worked on the first NCK 15 ton capacity crane for a year or two. Harry then joined Sparrows Contract services as a manager in the Plant Installation Department. He was a great character, always laughing and joking and was popular with everyone who knew him. Harry leaves a son and daughter Robert and Elizabeth, he will be sorely missed, RIP Harry. 

 

Harry is seen here on the left, with Bert Baker one of  our other operators standing and I'm sitting on the crane, they were great days.

24th August 2017

It's a small world, it seems the web site is still coming up with new visitors.

I heard from Carole Kent (Stuart Gregory’s daughter) she had met Chris James (George James son), Chris told her about the web site and Carole and her partner spent a long evening going through the various sections and seeing lots of names that she remembered when Stuart was a director.

For those of you not familiar with those names Stuart worked for The Group for 30 years going from crane operator to Director and George operated one of the 110 ton Lorain cranes before becoming head instructor in charge of Sparrows operator training school at Bath.

 A Facebook friend also sent me a picture that he knew I might be interested in, it is one of Tim Sparrows crane’s working at Sand Bay near Weston Super Mare, nice to see a crane in those old familiar colours.

   

02/08/2017

Recently I heard from George James son Chris, Chris had been looking through some old photographs and came upon this picture, George remained friends with Allen Morris for many years after Sparrows were taken over in 1986.

The picture was taken in July 2009 when George visited Allen‘s home at Cullompton in Devon where Allen raised a few Arabian horses, Allen with his mop of silver hair was then sadly in the early stages of dementia, it was their last meeting as George passed away in January 2010 and Allen passed away in Dec 2012.

Sad indeed to see this picture of two old employees who played a very active part in the growth of the old company. Allen was manager at Bath Depot and George was chief crane instructor and manager of the company’s crane operators training school in Bath. RIP George and Allen.

26th July 2017 Heard from Martyn Bealing that his father Fred Bealing had passed away, Fred worked in Sparrows Transport Division at Bristol, he drove the Scammel low loaders notably NFB 44 when he worked at times with Norman Small on the 1000 Ton Gottwald.

 

Another old Sparrow employee has left the nest as Dave Barnaby would say. RIP Fred.

Received this picture of the new dinghy that Alfs wife Pat has placed in Looe, Cornwall in memory of Alf, Pat still lives in Looe and the dinghy is just down the road from her home. The original wooden dinghy was beginning to show its age, Pat located this new metal one and this is the result, a great tribute to Alf. Many thanks Pat for letting us share your memorys and keeping "Alf and Sparrow International Crane Hire" still in the limelight, a company second to none.

 

 

 

I recently received this message from Bob Widger an old director of Greenhams, I have sent two nessages to him but no response is there anyone out there who remembers Bob and can perhaps give me an address or telephone number?

Bob Widger

 

E-mail address:

baroba@btinternet.com.com

 

Message:

Hi Frank,

I found your site recently, b rings back many memories.  I gather you live in Lincoln. At present, I live in North Norfolk but am shortly moving to a small village on the English/Welsh border to be nearer our two granddaughters.  Before we move, early July, I would love the opportunity to perhaps visit, it's only about a two hour drive.

It's great to see your fit and well.

 

Best regards,

 

Bob Widger

 

Colin Marshall 17th February 2017

Another old colleague has come to light.

Colin Marshall one of the Sales Reps originally based at Colnbrook (London) depot sent me a message after being in contact with Barry Mildren.

After spending 12 years with Sparrows Colin bought himself a low-loader, business was good and he bought a second one and from there he has built a very successful company, Colin still trades under his original trading name K-C-S. he still operates from Camberley and has another operation working at Stanwell (Heathrow)

His company web site is www.ksctransport.org and well worth a look at to see what Colin has achieved.

 

Frank Sumsion 25/01/2017

 

 

Found this Leaflet that was handed out to every passenger aboard a flight on Concorde, this one was from my first flight and it details all the things you may endure during the flight, such as the slight nudge in your back as you pass through the sound barrier and telling you that at full speed you travel 23 miles per minute, it is easy to see the curvature of the earth when you are flying at 60,000 ft, I shall never forget the experience and having the opportunity to fly from Washington to Heathrow on 5 occasions, this was during its first year of operations and before Concorde was allowed to fly from New York.

 

Dave Stockman 23/01/2017

Frank,  

This is the second time I have visited the site.  Just a short history of my career for you. 

My father got me an interview with Robin Shelley at Sparrows in 1972, shortly after I received a phone call from Brian Piercy to start work as a rigger working with Sparrows Contract Services out of the Bristol depot. I did not have a Construction Industry Union card and in those days, it was a 3year waiting time to obtain one. 

I worked on the M4 beam installation at Kenfig Viaduct in South Wales.  Could tell you lots of stories of the teething problems. I also worked on the project for Shell at Newhaven where Sparrows 500tonne Gottwald crane double lifted with a 350tonne Gottwald crane shipped from Holland, for the lift we used an off-set lifting beam and a special tailing in frame, both designed by Sparrows, I then moved on to the Thames Barrier and several other projects. 

Later I became self-employed, Brian Hurley (ex Sparrows) got me 2 projects with what was then Plant Landing Services, I joined Colin and Paul Sands and later worked on a project in Saudi. 

Returning to the UK I joined Seward Wyon for several years installing container cranes and so on.  I resigned from them after a disagreement with a member of staff. 

Paul Edgil (ex Sparrow) asked me to join Hewden Stewart Heavy Lift Division and I was employed during the dismantling of the CO 2 Nuclear boilers at Berkeley power station. Sadly, my Dad died in April 1995, this upset me and I wanted to get away.  

I applied for a position with Foster wheeler and worked for them in Thailand for a 6-month period and I missed seeing Mike Seward who was also working on a project in Thailand at the time but I was unable to contact him. I then returned to UK.  In 1996 I pestered Bob Barnes for a position with Mammoet, this is when Mammoet took over Decalift (Barry Mildren and John Parsons worked here). John then formed his own company SES and later made a partnership with Sarens. From then on I worked for over 20 years with either Mammoet or Sarens enjoying senior positions that allowed me to work and train other people in the heavy lift industry. 

I can truthfully say that I would not have had a successful life in this industry if it not been for the experience I gained during those early days working at Sparrow’s with, at that time, some of the very best guys in the Heavy Lift Industry, Brian Frost, Brian Piercy, Ray Windlass, Jack Chapman, and Fred Orledge, it was a pleasure working and training with them.

Finally, my family and me are now living in Thailand, we visited a resort restaurant, during a conversation with the owner he informed me that an ex Sparrow employee lived in the house next door, so being polite I knocked on their door.  A lady (Mikes wife) answered and I explained myself and the husband was Mike Seward.  We talked of old times and I contacted Bob Barnes and he came down for an afternoon. 
I was also lucky to have worked and lived close to Mick Burke (Ex Sparrow Heavy Cranes) who passed away a few years ago. 
I have fantastic memories. 

Kindest regards 

Dave Stockman.  

PS. please give my regards to Dave Barnaby 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17th December 2016

Received this picture from Mike Seward of his lovely home in Thailand, the bungalow was built on the site of an original one, it is built on stilts in case of flooding but this helps to keep the house cool along with the already installed air conditioning, the interior has highly polished floors and all bedroooms are en-suite, all in all a fantastic home. see other pictures below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The interior of Mike's home in Ruan, Thailand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The carport stands clear from the house.and it is all situated on a large plot, it keeps Mike busy and active during his retirement.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike with his lovely wife Mook, they met when Mike was working in Thailand in 1995 and were married it 1997, almost 20 years together have passed already, the years have flown by. I'm sure we all wish Mike a long and happy retirement. 

28th October 2016

I was recently in Cornwall with my daughter Julie and her husband Colin. Whilst there I had the opportunity to visit Alf’s widow Pat, at her home in Looe.

I was eager to see not only Pat but the Floral dinghy that she has sponsored in memory of Alf,

 Pat made us most welcome at her lovely apartment overlooking the harbour and seafront, where she spent so many happy years with Alf until he passed away in 2012.

Pat treated us to Champagne and sandwiches and we drank to “Absent friends”.

Later Julie and Colin went for a walk around the harbour, leaving Pat and me to reminisce about Alf and the good old days at Sparrows.

Before leaving we went with Pat to see the Red Coloured Dinghy that Pat sponsors, it is just a few yards from Pats apartment and dedicated to Super Sparrow (Alf of course) and that is written on the side of the dinghy together with old Super Sparrow logo.

It was lovely to visit Pat, there were emotional moments of course, …...so many memories.

Pat and me sitting in front of Alf's memorial, and below me in Pat's home sitting in the seat where Alf enjoyed his view of the harbour.

4th October 2016

Received this picture of Sparrows old headquarters from my son, Mike. The building is now an apartment block and two extra storey's have been added. The basement still appears to be a carpark. There was a lift in the original office block serving the basement and the two upper floors, it was situated central and to the rear of the building. Evidently the apartments are a reasonable size and like all property in Bath these days do not come cheap.

Mike said he thought the site looked sad, and it certainly does when you compare it to the original offices on this site's home page. The building and site were always kept in pristine condition complementing the entrance to the city.

Hopefully the new owners will clean the exterior of the old building to match the new storey's and then tidy the whole site, at present it looks an eyesore to those visitors approaching the city from the west.

How times change.

 

3rd October 2016 

Heard the sad news from Dave Barnaby today that Ted Boyce has passed away at the age of 95, Ted was a one of Sparrows characters, he joined as an engineer and became involved in crane inspections and accidents on site, later on he assisted Elizabeth White the director of Sparrows Crane Sales (Used Cranes).

Ted was a Japanese POW and when the first Japanese cranes came on the market he was opposed to the company buying them but when he saw how well they were engineered he relented a little.

Ted was remembered very often for a comment he made when going to lunch with one of the brothers and two Japanese crane sales representatives, his famous words were " I was once a guest of your Emperor for 4 or 5 years (POW)" that was Ted, I think it was taken with good spirit. RIP Ted.  

21st September 2016

Received another very comprehensive story of the how the Thames Barrier project progressed from the day it was first envisaged and put out to contract, at this time Mike Seward was still employed by Cleveland Bridge, Mike left Cleveland Bridge to become Director of SCS, it makes very good reading, it is in the Sparrows Contract Services section.

 

30th July 2016

I have received more details and pictures of contracts carried out by SCS from Mike Seward and have put them under a new heading Sparrows Contract Services, they make very interesting reading.

28th July 2016

I have received details of two interesting projects from Mike Seward they make very intersting reading especially the one concerning the 1000 tonne Gottwalds first project in Indonesia. Take a look they are under the section News from previous directors.

 

 

Received this very apt picture from Dave Barnaby of Gordon's cortege and the following message from Barry Mildren  regarding Gordon’s funeral and those attending

Received this message from Barry Mildren

Hi Frank

Home in time (From Spain) to make it to Gordon’s funeral. Quite a few old faces there. Barry Barnes and Rita, Big Sylve, little Julie who was infatuated by George James, Jim Hagan, Dave Barnaby, Bev Hitchcock, Trevor Harvey, Tony Codd, Margaret Berry, Pat Sparrow, what a lovely lady! Merv and Wendy, and quite a few of the drivers. All in all, a good turnout and I believe the family were pleased. Poor Mark Sparrow was really suffering and Leigh gave an excellent eulogy which was light and bright and gave a very honest picture of his dad. Tim was his usual quiet self and told me he was glad it was over for Gordon because the last few weeks had been difficult for Gordon. I was surprised to see that he (Gordon) was only 83 years old. All in all, a very balanced affair. RIP Gordon.

It's comforting to know that Gordon's traditions are in safe hands and will be maintained by his family.

I was sorry that I could not attend but have health problems at the moment,  my sincere condolences are with Sheila and the family as we have said before it is the end of an era.

RIP Gordon

 

George Browns visit to Lincoln

George Brown 14/06/2016

Some of you will recall George Brown, one of our popular sales representatives in Scotland. Recently George’s wife, Jeanette, found the Sparrows website enabling George to make contact.

He mentioned that he would like to renew our acquaintance and a meeting was arranged.

George and Jeanette travelled to Lincoln last weekend (12th June, 2016) and stayed locally overnight.

It is some years since we were last together, however, he has hardly altered (we are pictured together outside my home). George has retained the positive attitude to life that earned him respect all those years ago.

During their visit we recalled many good times. One memory we spoke about was when Gordon and myself flew with the executives of Cammel Laird, to Clydeside, to see the Gottwald 1000 tonne crane on site, prior to their hiring it for a long-term contract at Birkenhead.

George worked for several companies after the takeover of Sparrows but, like so many of us, said no company could match ‘Sparrows’ . . . they were the best.

George and I intend to meet again sometime in the future.

 

2nd June 2016 Gordon Sparrow

 

I heard the sad news this morning that Gordon, the last of the three brothers who formed the company, died yesterday at the age of 82. Gordon was the youngest brother.

 

My thoughts and condolences go out to Sheila, Tim, Leigh, Mark and the rest of the family at this sad time.

 

After national service in the Royal Engineers, Gordon returned to Bath in 1949 and joined his brothers and their venture into the crane hire business. He quickly became as active in the progress of the company as they were.

 

I have clear memories of Gordon. Once he and I drove a small Dodge breakdown lorry (ex War Department) on a snow-covered icy morning during the winter of 1957. We were expected to rescue two overturned lorries, one was situated at Brassknocker Hill, south of Bath, and the other at Box hill, to the east of the city. I was a novice crane operator and this was my first vehicle recovery. Gordon was skilled in crane operation and both vehicles were recovered and up-righted without further damage.

 

I learnt many things on that cold morning, such as the art of using winches and the placing of slings and chains in the correct position to save further damage to vehicles that had been involved in accidents, however, to Gordon it all seemed natural.

 

I remember too that Gordon had been wearing his overalls, they had been No 3 on the hanging rack; Alf’s and George’s were numbers 1 and 2, and mine . . . No 12.

 

Overalls? Gordon and his brothers were all operating cranes alongside other employees in those early days.

 

I will always remember Gordon as a gentleman, a true professional in the crane hire industry.

 

RIP Gordon.

 

Note: The following link, from Vertikal Crane Magazine (of which Leigh, Gordon’s son, is owner and editor), pays tribute to Gordon and also Sparrow International Crane Hire:

 

http://www.vertikal.net/en/news/story/25690/ - comments

 

 

April 1st 2016

Malcolm Mitchell an associate and friend of Tony Codd (An ex director of Sparrow Crane Hire in Bath) has recently been in touch with me regarding his son Robert, as a young lad Robert was very interested in cranes often seeing Sparrow Cranes pass by at Keynsham where he lived.

He wrote to "Jim i’ll Fixit" to see if he could arrange a chance to drive a crane but received no reply, his Dad suggested writing to Sparrows, the outcome was a day off school to visit Sparrows Training school at their headquarters in Bath. 

It turned out to be a great day for him as his visit to Sparrows attracted the attention of the local press and was shown on HTV , it really made a day to remember for him. He was seen operating a large crane under the guidance of Ron Wall one of Sparrows operators. ( See entry under Newspaper cuttings in the Photo section of the web site)

Robert never became a crane operator but ironically his cousin Philip is now employed as an accountant for Tim Sparrow the owner of Sparrow Crane Hire Ltd at their base in Keynsham, nr Bristol. (Tim is the son of Gordon Sparrow of Sparrows International Crane Hire) 

Its a small world. 

 

 

 Latest news,15/02/2016

   I recently heard from George Brown who was a Sales Representative based in Falkirk, George was a member of the Group Sales Team, he is now almost 72 years old and like all of us wonders where the years have gone. 

   During his time at Sparrows George was heavily involved with the Contract at Scott Lithgow on the Clyde when they hired the Demag CC4000 650/800 tonne crane for the final lifts on BPs Semi submersible rig the “Sea Explorer”

   George has had quite a busy and interesting life since leaving the old company in 1986 and is now living in Ayrshire. Listed here is a list of Georges activities.

 

1.     He designed and patented a device for securing shutters on vacant properties.

2.     He designed and patented a device for lifting manhole covers.

3.     He became a student in business study earning a MB then an MBA and started a Management and Leadership Training Company that is now in his daughter’s charge.

4.     He was not ready to retire completely and now runs a decorating company, not on the tools though as he employs tradesman for the day today operations.

    

George did return to GWS crane hire for a 2-year period that gave him some earning and time to study.

Nice to know that George has done well and still lives a busy life.

 

23/12/2015 Percy Matten

Had following message from Derek Chapman today saying that Percy Matten had died aged 78

Derek says that when he joined Sparrows in 1971 Percy was driving a 35 ton Strut jib Coles crane out of Plymouth depot and that he had spent some time on various jobs with Percy enjoying breakfast cooked on the gas stove that he kept in the cab of his crane.

Percy eventually ended up as a sales rep at Plymouth and much later worked in Saudi before returning home to work on the oil rigs for Sparrow Offshore. Derek believes several of the old Plymouth Depot staff including Dave Barnaby (depot manager in those days) will attend his funeral that will be held at Weston Mills Crematorium on Thursday 31st December. RIP Percy.

 

23/12/2015. This the original picture of the Grove self erecting crane working in Leicester in 1979, Chris was working for R Moore of Norwich at the time and the crane was hired through head office at Bath.
l

22/12/2015

Received a message from Chris Moore who was a structrural engineer back in 1979 and working in Leicester, he had occasion to hire the Grove self erecting crane to lift 3ton beams over scaffolding and said the crane was ideal for the work when being operated on a street in a busy city area. His picture is in black and white .

13th November 2015

Received this picture of a Coles Crane in one of the Bath carnivals during  the early sixties, the driver was Ian Cross who sadly died at an early age, Dapper Davis is in the operators cab and the one in the white overalls is Rod Carter, Rod sent me the photo.

Norman Small

 

I heard sadly yesterday (1st December 2015) that Norman Small had passed away last year.

 

Norman was one of the operators of the Gottwald 1000 tonne crane, the first of its type in the world.

 

About four years ago Norman had a stroke whilst returning from Canada after visiting his granddaughter. He suffered loss of memory. His son-in-law, Kevin, told me that Norman had great respect for Sparrows and thought of them as his family.

 

Norman joined Sparrows in the early sixties and was soon established as an operator on one of the 110 tonne Lorain's, his partner was Dave Stockman.

 

When the 500 tonne Gottwald arrived in the early seventies Norman and Dave were trained to operate it and did so for almost ten years until the 1000 tonne Gottwald arrived. They were then sent to Germany and trained to operate what was at that time the largest truck crane in the world.

 

The crane was part of a new joint venture company, Montalev-Sparrow.

 

The crane’s first job was in Indonesia, it then worked at Rostock in East Germany.

 

Later it was shipped to the Hartland Point Refinery in New Zealand. It was here that the Gottwald made a world-record lift at that time, a vessel weighing 742 tonnes.

 

Norman was at the controls during this mammoth lift, there are several pictures of the lift in the New Zealand photo section, including a picture of Norman.

 

R.I.P. Norman.

I

 

12th October 2015

Received this message from an old colleague, Chris Sampson, it explains itself.

On reflection a crane drivers life in the 60s was far different then before depots where opened around the country, crews could go mouths without seeing each other. Here are a few names you may wish to add to your list of old employees;  
Peter Hurley    Worked on 50 ton Coles with Dave Stockman
Fred Newman. Work shop Forman/manager.
Ted White. Accounts
Graham King. Worked with Bill Woodman on a15ton NCK.
Paul Netherwood and Tony Bray, worked on a 30 ton Priestman before going to Offshore on the Riggs.       

I spent 6 months working out of the Exeter depot when first opened.
Great memories, my how time as slipped by.
Sadly I lost all my photos when my depot closed at Wednesbury.  I don't suppose by chance you have a copy of the 40 ton NCK with Eric & Charlie. lifting a stone at Stone Henge*, one of my grandsons is doing some studies on Stone Henge
I have just had my 75th birthday but keeping well,
If any other names come to mind I will let you know, in the meantime keep well nice to hear from you.

Kind regards Chris.

*I found the picture of the job at Stone Henge and forwarded it to him.

>

Dave Barnaby sent me this picture of the Lorain MC875 and the Coles Centurion, the cranes are waiting for a police escort at Abergavenny South Wales and returning to Bath after completing work at Clydach near Swansea, the operator at the front of the Lorain was Gwyn Thomas, at this time (1966) the Coles Centurion was rated as the largest truck in the world.

18th September 2015

Received this reference on Facebook from Dick Dalziel and thought it might bring back a few names and memories of Offshore.

Hello Frank

You don’t know me as such, but it seems I have known you for years. You are a legend in the crane world, and we have mutual friends all over the place. When I left Stotherts I joined Sparrows Offshore Services and was with them for 13 years, all Offshore. My boss then was Angus Lyons and after that we had Ken Scott (who I think Is still at the helm}. I went on to become Crane Foreman on the Brent Bravo, Forties Alpha, Brae Alpha and Brae Bravo. Funnily enough, I have just come off line talking to Dennis Millard. Seen Ken Tailor some months ago. Bev Hitchcock lives in Cornwall as you probably know. Dave Barnaby, Charlie Keys, Geoff English etc. etc. The list is endless Frank. I am even in contact with Tony Sumsion in Australia as we were very good friends for years and years and more or less went everywhere together until I went into the Royal Navy. When I left ,we took up more or less where we left off, until he Emigrated to Ozz, bless him. Well that’s it in a nutshell, I will keep in touch Frank. At 72 years I probably speak your language. Hope you and yours are in good health.

Regards

Dick Dalziel

 

12th June 2015 Roger Berry

Heard the sad news that Roger passed away this morning. He will be well remembered by everyone that worked at Sparrows, he was manager of Bristol Depot for many years and became South West Area manager in 1975.

When the company was taken over by Grayston, White, and Sparrow in 1986 he remained with the group until he retired.

He was well known in many circles in Bath being amongst many things, President of Bath Rugby club and a Member of Bath Rotary, and well known for the efforts he placed on charity work.

I am proud to have known him as a personal friend and he will be sadly missed, not only by his family and friends in Bath, but by the many other friends he had all around the country.

Our thoughts go to Margaret and all the family at this sad time.

Rest in peace Roger.

 

 

4th August 2015

Alf's wife Pat sent me this picture of the Floral Dinghy in Looe dedicated to Alf and sponsored by Pat in Allf's memory, the Supersparrow sign and Logo show clearly and these dinghies spread around Looe give pleasure to lots of people, a great tribute to Alf, well done Pat.. 

20th May 2015

Dave Barnaby found this picture of me taken with George Sheldrick, it was taken in 1980 at the Royal Hotel, Scunthorpe, George was one of the great characters in Heavy Cranes he joined the company from Plant Sales in London when Sparrows took them over, unfortunately George was killed whilst working on a project in Spain the following year he was sadly missed by us all.

 

1st April 2015

Heard the sad news that Dave Barnaby's partner Irene has passed away today. Irene had been ill for the past few months, and has recently been in hospital.

Dave met Irene when he was working on Teesside for Grayston White and Sparrow, They were friends for a few years before they became partners 20 years ago. They moved to Dudley in West Midlands when Dave began his employment with Alatas.

Irene was from Thornaby and at her request funeral arrangements will be held there where her close family live.

Dave has spent his working life in the crane industry and was Sparrow's youngest manager when they opened a new depot at Didcot for the building of the new Power station, he moved on to Plymton Depot in Devon before moving to the Heavy Crawler Crane Division in London as Operations manager. When Heavy Cranes moved to Scunthorpe Depot Dave became Senior Manager Heavy Cranes, his final move for the Company before the takeover by BET in 1985, was a move to Boothstown at Manchester where he became Northwest Area Manager with total responsibility for the Heavy Crane Division and the Local Crane Depot. After the takeover he relocated to Teesside with Grayston White and Sparrow.

Our thoughts and condolences are with Dave and Irene's family at this sad time.

 

 

9th March 2015

Lots of you will be familiar with the name Bev Hitchcock, Bev was the youngest employee at Sparrows when I began my career there in 1957.

I received a message from Bev's son Ian yesterday 7th March with an interesting statistic:

Ian Bev's son is the family third generation crane operator, it started with his grandfather Ted in the late 1950's;

1. Ted Hitchcock: Operated Sparrows first brand new crane, a Coles 10 ton Mobile.

2. Bev Hitchcock: Operated cranes of all types and spent his life in the crane industry.

3. Ian Hitchcock: Currently operates a 130ton Grove crane for King Lifting Bristol.

Ian tells me that his son Samual will also be a crane operator so the Hitchcock family will be looking at four generations working in the industry, is this a record?

Bev still has his own collection of over 400 model cranes in his own private crane museum at his home in Cornwall, he probably has the best collection of model cranes and Crane Industry memorabilia in the country, he spends many hours of his retirement keeping everything in good working order and as up to date as possible, a great credit to him.   

 

18th February 2015

Heard the sad news that Betty Short has passed away aged 84 years, Betty was the first office lady (Girl) employed by Sparrows in the mid 1950's, this was during the days when the company had the old home made cranes and the boys were still serving petrol from the garage forecourt, Betty looked after the makeshift office and continued her career with the company to become the personal secretary for Alf, George, and Gordon.

Betty remained with the company until the last day and will be sadly missed by her family and the many friends she made during her career, Ron her husband still lives at their family home in Bath and our condolences go to him, RIP Betty, you were a true and loyal employee.

 

5th January 2015.

Some of you will remember Gordie (Gordon) Gunstone, he worked for Sparrows at Bath and Bristol for over 22 years, Paul, Gordies son was in touch and liked the site, he noticed that Gordie was not mentioned in the original employees list, he also mentioned Fred Newman and Fred Holt all long term employees, they were not include on the original list because I believe they started after or about 1961/2 and I could only remeber the ones mentioned from the days after I joined the company in 1957, Gordie worked at Sparrows until the final days working as afitter on Compny cars, vans, lorrries etc.will keep the site updated if other news crops up. 

28th August 2014

Heard from Tony Mcmillan that Dave Evans had passed away at the end of 2011, Dave was the second operator of the 1000 tonne Gottwald when it worked in New Zealand. Dave stayed in NZ and went on to work in Christchurch for TITAN cranes in 1985, and operated smaller telescopic cranes during his time with them. Tony hopes to see Dave's stepson who has a collection of Dave's photos and Tony hopes to forward some of them to me. It is a small world. 

7th April 2014

Received some great pictures of the Gottwald 1000 tonne crane being transported to Hartland Point in New Zealand, pictures courtesy of Tony Macmillan. The pictures are now in the New Zealand photo section. There is also a picture of the refinery.

17th July 2013

I have added a few more pictures courtesy of Leigh Sparrow in a separate file in the photo section under “New Pictures from the early days” there are also a few in the Sparrow family section.

George’s funeral at Haycombe was attended by some 80/90 members of family, several of the old staff, and colleagues from the good old days at "Sparrows"
David and Karen held a reception at Beckford Gate that was well attended, sad but all part of life’s rich tapestry, lots of memories were recalled, with special one’s of George, his “Rolls” being parked out front with that well known registration plate GR900.

 

We were all sorry to hear the sad news of George's passing,

 SPARROW George Richard Husband of the late Annie, died peacefully at RUH in Bath on 27th June aged 88. Much loved and greatly missed. Father, Brother, Grandpa and Great-Grandpa

Heard the sad news today (25th April 2013) that Alan Morris had passed away in December last year, Alan was one of the very first employees of Sparrows, he worked with the brothers on vehicle recovery and operated the first 10ton ex WD Lorain that he named "Old Smokey", he was the first to be promoted as Depot manager at Bath.

Pat sent me this Spring picture of Alf's memorial boat in Looe, Cornwall, a never to be forgotten Super Sparrow.
Received this picture from Dave Barnaby today (24th May) it is an American Hoist 9299 the picture is from the mid 70's and loaded on Kings Transport Bristol, this is one of the machines introduced to the fleet when Sparrows purchased Plant Sales.

12 th April 2013

I have added a few new pictures,

1. Headquarters at Bath in the home section.

2. Alf and Ken Cross in Portugal in special projects.

3, A few new pictures of the New Zealand Project

4. A few new pictures in the special projects section.

Remember to scroll down through the sections.

If there is anyone one out there with any pictures of
interest that would add to the site I would be pleased to hear from you.

01/02/2013

Sad to say that I lost my dear wife Jane after a long illness, she passed away peacefully at home and a service was held on 14th February in Lincoln, many thanks to those old friends from Sparrows that travelled so far to be with me and my family on that day, Especially Alf’s wife Pat who drove from Cornwall, Roger Berry, Barry Mildren from Bath, and Barry and Rita Barnes (Demag) from London, and Dave Barnaby (who always called her Auntie Jane),  thanks also to our many friends and family for their kind cards and condolences. After 64 years of happy marriage she will be sadly missed, but I am left with many wonderful memories and for that I shall be eternally grateful.

 

 

KELLAWAY Herbert (Bert) Passed away on 15th December following a fall and a short illness, aged 91. Holder of the Mayor's medal for 50 years service with Stothert & Pitt. Regular entrant in Bath in Bloom Much loved father, uncle, grandad, and great grandfather. He will be greatly missed by family and friends. Funeral arrangements to be announced at a later date. G Mannings.

 

Those of you that worked in the West Country and knew Stothert and Pitt will remember Bert, before he retired he was head of Construction and travelled the world for them, he was a regular user of Sparrows cranes and one of the first persons to hire the 500 tonne Gottwald, Bert was my eldest cousin.

 

Alf's wife Pat has had a new flower boat installed in Looe in memory of Alf ( See local newspaper cutting below), further to this she has had Alf's model crane restored and it is to be fitted with a perspex cover and placed in the Bath Heritage Museum, Alf left the model crane to his son Steve who  works in the States but resides in Mexico, the museum will hold the model in safe keeping and Steve will retain ownership. The model is a 30 ton Kato, and I believe was made by Kato as a personal gift to Alf.

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