Since its founding in 1925, Emerton Roofing has been on an exciting journey: flourishing from a local Crewe sole trader to the nationally recognised business it is today. Each of the four generations of Emerton Roofing has strived to combine their vast industry knowledge with a considered approach – in order to provide our customers with an exceptional roofing service. Here is the story of the Emerton Family within the craft of ‘Roofing’:
As the new railway town of Crewe grew in the mid-nineteenth century, craftsmen from across the land were drawn to the area to find work ‘building the town’. Amongst them was David Emerton from Wolverton, Buckinghamshire. He was joined by his wife Elizabeth. Upon both settling and Elizabeth opening a small shop, David pursued his trade as a ‘Slater and Plasterer’. Their son Charles followed him and between them were able to count a number of fine buildings in the town that they had worked on.
Charles later had three sons, all of whom became ‘Slaters’. The eldest, James, started life as a slater before becoming the overhead crane driver in the Crewe railway erecting shop. Middle son Charles (also known as John) worked in the London Blitz as a fireman in the evenings, whilst mending roofs in the day. The third and youngest son, Ralph William, gained valuable roofing experience as a slater when working on new local authority housing in Crewe during the 1920s. In 1925, Ralph took the chance of setting up as an independent and became a sole trading ‘Slater and Tiler’. Emerton Roofing was born.
Ralph steadily created a workforce in the proceeding years until the onset of World War Two, when most of his operatives were called up into the armed forces. During this time Ralph combined servicing local roof coverings with periods working away in the Trough of Bowland. Soon after the war ‘R. W. Emerton’ quickly expanded his staffing levels once more, leading to the completion of several substantial council housing contracts in Mid Cheshire. As capability increased, ‘Roof Leadwork’ was added to the company’s growing portfolio in 1948.
A significant move for the company occurred in 1950 when Ralph welcomed apprentice son Gerald into the business. After a successful apprenticeship period and building degree graduation, Gerald was subsequently made a partner in the business in 1960. With Gerald’s introduction, Emerton’s infamous two-tone green colour scheme was born and has been prevalent ever since!
Progress continued and in Ralph’s retiring years Gerald, alongside wife Deana, made the business a limited company in 1962. Gerald continued to develop Ralph’s reputation for high quality roof restorations and quickly expanded areas of work into neighbouring counties. A couple of successful years later, specialist ‘Bitumen Flat Roofing’ teams were deployed alongside further peripheral skills such as ‘Brickwork’ and ‘Carpentry’.
With the company reaching new heights, Gerald became President of the National Federation of Roofing Contractors in 1982 and made significant contributions to British and European Standards in ‘Roofing’, receiving the coveted European Pin of Honour in 1993.
During this period, Gerald’s son ‘Simon’ joined the family business as the third generation of Emerton Roofing. After a period working alongside his father, Simon took charge of day to day management around the turn of the century and shared a successful period alongside Gerald, receiving prestigious accolades for a string of high-profile projects.
Meanwhile, the company continued to grow in stature and in the mid 1990’s moved into their newly built depot at Beambridge in Nantwich. The new base provided the necessary infrastructure for administrative and management purposes alongside day to day staffing, vehicular maintenance and material storage purposes.
Simon expanded teams further in 2012, when adding a ‘Scaffolding’ division to the company, meeting increasing safety regulations and improving the efficiency of Emerton Roofing’s projects.
In 2013, the firm welcomed its fourth generation when two of Simon’s sons, William and Andrew, joined the business. The two new recruits spent the following years combining time on the tools with official roofing apprenticeships at Leeds College of Building (LCB). The young Emertons continued in their predecessors’ footsteps, both excelling at the national ‘Skillbuild’ competition before William represented the United Kingdom at the World Championships for Young Roofers in Latvia.
Now operating in their roles as Contract Managers, William and Andrew welcomed third brother James into the business in the summer of 2019. James now attends a LCB apprenticeship, studying the craft of ‘Slating and Tiling’.
Today, Emerton Roofing (Western) Limited operates a comprehensive workforce, combining the various areas of expertise needed to deliver a rounded and professional roofing service. As on day one, the present Emerton family remains passionate about preserving and delivering the skills and craft associated with traditional British Roofing. The family’s drive and determination to provide customers with value and a first-class quality service remains the heartbeat of the business.