Roofing Specialist Looks for Stories from Past Employees

Did you work for roofing company, John Williams & Company Ltd?

Do you know someone who did?

If so, the company wants to hear from you!

Established in 1870, the company has been known by a number of different names over the years. You may remember it as, JW Roofing, John Williams & Company Rotherhithe Ltd, John Williams & Company London Ltd, John Williams & Company Sussex Ltd or Tuxford-Williams of Wales.

With ties to Bangor, North Wales, the geographical area of the company’s previous employees is vast. From the slate mines of North Wales, to Crown Wharf in Chelsea, John Williams & Company had depots in Faversham, Newham, Southampton Docs, Dover, Worthing, Horsham and Rotherhithe. Shortly after World War I, John Williams & Company also owned a clay manufacturing business at Barton-upon-Humber, in Lincolnshire.

Originally, barges full of Welsh slate would travel by river down to the company’s premises at Rotherhithe, which had its own wharf on the river Thames.

In addition to selling and fixing roofing slate, the company processed slate for manufactured products such as steps, window sills, mortuary slabs and panels for electrical switch gear.

Now based in Lympne, Kent, many of the former depots are either closed or sold.

In this photograph of the Works Outing to Margate in 1954, former employee, Ted Baker is in the front row.

Core strength

“We survived the recession of the early 1900s due to the decision of the owners to concentrate on the company’s core strengths,” says Managing Director, John Howland, who joined the company in 1974.

John Williams & Company has a history of employing skilled crafts people that, even today, use traditional materials and techniques.

“We are putting together a collection of memorabilia for our Museum Room and we’d love to add to it the stories of the people who worked for us during our vast history, as we approach this landmark 150th year anniversary,” said John.

Supplied by Trevor Thorne, grandson of former John Williams & Company employee, Ted Baker, who is seated front left with the pewter tankard.
If you can help, please send your stories to


In what is believed to be a photograph of a company trip to a boat race, former employee, Ted Baker appears again, second from the right on the back row.
Pictured is the Lympne Yard photographed some decades ago, still in use today

John Williams & Company Ltd is a full-service heritage and restoration company, providing slate roofing, lead casting and building restoration services. Its team of highly skilled crafts people use traditional techniques passed down through generations.

Over its long history, the company has worked on many prestigious buildings, including Tower Bridge, St James’ Palace, The British Museum in London, Lancaster Gate, The Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly, The Slate Centre Museum in Llanberis, the Aldford Farm Building for the Duke of Westminster, Rochester Cathedral and Portchester Castle.



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