Chapel-en-le-Frith worker to retire after 52 years with same firm

Brian, pictured in 1966, a year after joining Street Crane as an apprentice plate welder.
Brian, pictured in 1966, a year after joining Street Crane as an apprentice plate welder.

A loyal Chapel-en-le-Frith employee is preparing to bid his colleagues a fond farewell after over half a century working for the same company.

Brian Wood, whose entire working life has been spent at Street Crane, is due to retire on August 9 - exactly 52 years to the day since he first started working for the crane and hoist manufacturer.

Brian Wood is retiring after 52 years working at Street Crane in Chapel-en-le-Frith.

Brian Wood is retiring after 52 years working at Street Crane in Chapel-en-le-Frith.

The 68-year-old joined Street as an apprentice plate welder in 1965, completing his apprenticeship in 1969.

He married Linda on Valentine’s Day in 1970 and began his move up the management ladder with a promotion to foreman and subsequently works manager by the early 1990s, a role he remained in until 2008.

Following a brief illness, Brian returned to work as quality manager and held the position until 2013, when, following a further illness, he became a quality inspector responsible for checking crane components.

Despite mixed emotions about leaving, Brian looks back on his career with fond memories.

“Many things have changed over the years,” he recalled. “In those early days, there were about 15 people in the offices and 35 on the shop floor – now there are nearer 200.

“Peter Street was the boss and very actively involved in every aspect of the business, being a practical engineer. These times were the foundation for many friendships that remain to this day.

“I’ve enjoyed watching Street expand and succeed and I’m proud to have played a part in its growth. There’s never been a dull moment and I’ve always been given the chance to learn new things and try new roles which is partly why I’ve stayed here so long.

“It’s going to be strange not coming to the factory anymore and seeing my friends and colleagues but I’m looking forward to relaxing and spending more time with my family.

“I’d like to play a bit more golf and get back into drawing and photography. I’ve also got four grandchildren who will keep me busy.”

Andrew Pimblett, Managing Director at Street Crane, said: “Brian’s working life has been exceptional in two respects – firstly his length of service and secondly his popularity.

“It’s easy to forget how much of our lives are spent at work and therefore how important it is to have good relations with our colleagues.

“I have been at Street for 48 of the 52 years Brian has served and I can honestly say I have not heard a bad word said against him.

“He has always worked with a smile on his face and his sense of humour was never far away. I know all those who have worked with Brian over the years will join me in wishing him and Linda a long and happy retirement together.”

Brian is one of four family members to have worked at Street, with his father Les, brother Tony and son Steven also spending parts of their careers with the firm.

Chairman Martin Street added: “Fifty-two years is a remarkable achievement, the likes of which will probably not be seen again at Street Crane.”

Brian’s retirement will be marked with a party on Friday August 11, from 6pm, at the Pack Horse in Chapel-en-le-Frith, with an open invitation extended to his former colleagues.