A pictorial history of Sparrows International Crane Hire
A pictorial history of Sparrows International Crane Hire
The company headquarters at Bath.

'Compiled by Frank Sumsion former director' 

 I arrived at Sparrows during 1957 and on my first day I felt at home with the brothers, employees and the cranes, and one fact that helped me throughout my career with the company was being there at the beginning.

I worked very closely with the brothers in operations in which they were already proven experts, such as vehicle recovery, machinery moving and, of course, operating early mechanically-operated cranes, including those built by the brothers themselves in their own workshop.

It was learning the hard way, those first cranes were very basic and although not complicated to operate it needed skill to make them function as a useful piece of lifting equipment.

The company expanded its engineering division to complement the crane hire business and provided a specialist lifting service second to none in the construction industry.

They also entered the offshore industry becoming one of the first companies in the world dedicated to the supply of crane operators and service engineers for the challenging work in the very tough working environment of the North Sea.

The company began in 1948 with small home built cranes and a maximum lifting capacity of 10-tons, these were in operation until the late 1950s. However from humble beginnings, Sparrows would eventually own and operate the first 1,000-tonne capacity truck crane in the world.

When I joined Sparrows it was beyond my wildest dreams, and I am sure beyond the wildest dreams of the Sparrow family, that the company would progress to its eventual size.

Also, through supplying cranes and expertise, Sparrows earned the respect of many of the largest construction companies in the world.

The brothers' philosophy was to promote from within the company wherever possible. I was one of the fortunate few chosen for promotion as the company progressed. It was to be 12 years before I became a sales representative. Four years later I became  Managing Director of Sparrows Heavy Crawler Cranes Ltd, and a whole new world opened up before me.

 I am grateful to the three brothers for giving me the opportunity to prove myself.

I needed help throughout my career to progress, my thanks goes to fellow directors, colleagues, crane operators and friends within the company who supported me along the way.

There were, of course times when the going was tough but I can honestly say that there were very few days during my career, both as crane operator and member of the staff, when I did not feel happy going to work.

Further history is contained in a book I have compiled. The book is yet to be published but details more wonderful memories. 

I have titled it Flying with Sparrows.



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© Frank Sumsion