The headquarters and works of Scaffolding (Great Britain) or SGB was in the Willow Lane trading estate.
In an ad from 1947, head office was shown as Plough Lane, SW17.
In an ad from Building magazine in 1951, the head office is shown as Mitcham, with telegrams to Scafco, Mitcham
The Scafco Works can be seen on this 1953 OS map:
A news item from January 1950 refers to a radio tower being erected on the 12 acre site:
West Sussex Gazette – Thursday 19 January 1950
One of the new sights of Mitcham Is a wireless aerial 175 feet high on the 12 acres at Willow-lane occupied by Scaffolding (Great Britain), Ltd. The company specialises in steel tubular scaffolding, the Inventor of which founded the business as a firm in 1904. This scaffolding is In use on 1,500 jobs, from the Houses of Parliament downwards. The radio system Installed is, after the police fashion. for keeping headquarters in touch with supervisors on their rounds, and with estimators who are sometimes wanted at very short notice.
Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History says that in 1960 the firm was the largest scaffolding company in the UK.
From the Norwood News, 5th November 1965:
COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS REQUIRED BY SCAFFOLDING (Great Britain) LTD.
for I.C.T. 1301 Card/Tape Computer, previous experience although desirable is not essential, and recent school- leavers will be considered.
Applicants must have G.C.E. pass in Maths preferably at A level. Excellent conditions of employment including Staff Cafeteria, Company Buses, Sports and Social Club.
Apply COMPUTER MANAGER, MIT 3400 ext. 389
For more on the ICT 1301, The National Museum of Computing are restoring one.
From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th June 1969:
THE SGB BUS
The Mitcham scaffolding firm of S.G.B. Ltd., who already run their own bus service between the Willow Lane industrial estate and central Mitcham, have extended the service into Morden. Employees can use the yellow staff bus on the route from Rose Hill, along Middleton Road and Goat Road, to the S.G.B. premises on the estate.
Other News Articles
1972 : SGB and the last 50-mile stretch of the M4
Memories from former staff (as posted on the Mitcham History Group on Facebook)
I worked at Scaffolding (Great Britain) Ltd from 1974-75 in the Costing department. The place was completely self-contained with a network of service roads connecting each department. There was also a Burt Road and several others that I recall. The Personnel department was in a new building opposite.
SGB were always buying up other companies, Youngman System Building & Spurgeons Clean Plan were two of them. They also owned The Hire Shops, which I believe still exist under the name HSS Hire Shops. I think the newer building in Willow Lane is their head office, or at least it was when I took the photo. The company was sold in 1999 and trades under another name, but I read an article recently suggesting the SGB brand name may be restored……
Worked there for a very short period of time in the typing pool….we were all facing forward like at school and absolutely forbidden to speak to each other during working hours…..run by a very stern lady who sat at the front of the ‘class’ and shouted at anyone who slacked for even a moment……had to ask permission to use the toilet and she timed you!!! I dared to ask another typist for the spelling of a directors name and she blew her top.. I tried to explain but she was so enraged I dared to explain….I was so shocked at her rage I stood up, told her to keep her job and walked out…..in those days you had ‘your cards’ which were a record of tax and National Insurance and you couldn’t start another job without them… she shouted she would keep them for a week as punishment ……No worker rights in those days (1962)!!!!!
For several years before they moved, I used to cook all the meals for Directors meetings which were held weekly. They had a fully furnished bungalow on site where prospective clients were wined & dined too. They had a fully equipped kitchen there that I used.
My first job from leaving school in 1960 was with SGB in Willow Lane. I worked in the coding and costing department. We would get the company bus (yellow double decker) from the three Kings pond to and from work. Remember the Directors cars, Aston Martin’s parked opposite my office window. Great Christmas parties and many lunches in the, then called, the Goat Pub. SGB gave me a good start in working life.
Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.