In August 1965 “Help” by the Beatles was at number one, the group played Shay Stadium, New York, the first ever super-group stadium gig, and the Rolling Stones released “I Can’t Get no Satisfaction”. A keen follower of both groups, a young man called Brian Wood joined Street Crane Company as an apprentice. This was the middle of the swinging sixties, the Vietnam War was raging and the Greek government was in turmoil.
Joining as an apprentice plate welder Brian completed his apprenticeship in 1969, married Linda on Valentine’s Day in 1970 and began his move up the management ladder with a promotion to charge hand. Progression followed over subsequent years to foreman, general foreman and works manager in the early 1990’s, a role that he stayed in until 2008. Following a brief illness, Brian returned to work as quality manager a position he maintained until 2013, when, following a further illness, he decided to return in a part time role as inspector, three mornings per week.
“Things have changed over the years,” Brian noted. “There were fewer of us in those days, about 15 in the offices and 35 on the shop floor. The factory was very basic and the offices were in a temporary building on the side. Peter Street was the boss, but was very actively involved in every aspect of the business being instinctively a practical engineer. These times were the foundation for many friendships that remain to this day.”
Outside work, Brian’s passion was football, playing not watching, first for Fairfield United, then Peak Dale United, Birch Vale and later Chapel Town. “I have also greatly enjoyed walking and photography. Here, where Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire meet, we have some incredible countryside,” Brian added. Golf is Brian’s game of choice these days, with the assistance of an electric golf cart.
Brian and Linda have two children and four grandchildren. Travel has been a major interest since they became empty nesters, with trips to China, South Africa and the USA among the highlights.
“Every job has its pressures, but my time at Street has been mostly a positive experience. Over the years my dad, my brother and my son have all worked at the company. My son followed my path with an apprenticeship. There are many other families in Chapel that have a similar experience.” Brian’s celebration and reunion to mark his 50 years packed the Old Pack Horse in Chapel on August 7 to the rafters with friends and well-wishers.
Chairman Martin Street noted, “It has been a great pleasure to have worked with Brian and his father Les and brother Tony my entire career. Many has been the time Brian’s knowledge, determination and wise words have achieved outstanding results.”
Managing Director Andrew Pimblett, another long serving member of the Street team said, “It is astonishing to think that Brian and I now have over 95 years of crane building experience between us especially as we have another 33 people with over 25 years’ service. Brian is a lovely guy and it has been a real pleasure to work with him.”