The Walker family have been involved in the Building Industry in Preston from the mid 19th Century with John and James Walker instrumental in forming the Master Joiners & Builders of Preston in 1850
R. Walker & Sons (Preston) Ltd was formed by Roger Walker in 1896 and he established his company in Back Lane now Market Street West opposite Trinity Church as Carpenters, Joiners and Funeral Directors, trading from 3 cottages with the workshop at 1st floor level as illustrated in the enclosed photograph.
Roger Walker was unique in obtaining his City & Guilds Certificates in both Carpentry & Joinery and Brickwork & Masonry.
In the early part of the 20th Century R.Walker & Sons was involved in building many buildings which shape Preston town centre as we now know it including working on Miller Arcade.
Roger had three sons, Jack, Norbert and Herbert Walker who assisted in the running of the business until the start of the 2nd World War. The war affected the Company by splitting the Family.
Norbert was called into the Forces, Jack carried on running the business and Herbert along with many of our Joiners was called upon to work at Dick Kerrs (English Electric) as pattern makers for Aircraft manufacturing. Later R. Walker in conjunction with the War Office converted the Dunkenhalgh Hotel at Rishton into a Military HQ and were involved in other War Office Contracts including the manufacture of 1000’s of munitions boxes in conjunction with Page & Taylors timber merchants of Watery Lane.
Even after the end of World War II the construction industry was still depressed, raw materials were rationed and licenses had to be obtained to purchase timber. Fuel coupons were introduced which along with labour shortages made the Post War years difficult.
Jack Walker continued to run the business throughout the war and in 1946 was joined by his son Kenneth. Norbert continued his career as a Clerk of Works for the War Office after 1945 and never returned to the Company. Herbert Walker returned to the Company as a Joiner whilst also pursuing a career as a respected Tutor at Preston Technical College in Building Construction.
Herbert’s eldest son David joined the company as an apprentice Joiner in 1953. After a 7 years apprenticeship he left the Company for 2 years to carry out his National Service before returning to partake in a more managerial role.
Whilst traditionally the Company undertook small domestic works, David and Ken endeavoured to obtain more commercial work, primarily Local Authority Contracts and Maintenance works of all Government Buildings in and around the Preston Area.
Due to the continued growth of the Company the 1st floor was demolished and larger workshop facilities were built at the rear of the premises incorporating redundant alleyways and back yards.
After a successful working relationship for over 25 years Ken died prematurely in 1980. David was joined by Graham his eldest son in the running of the Company after serving a 3 year apprenticeship. Grant his youngest son joined the company in 1987 whilst studying for his degree in Building Surveying.
R. Walker & Sons (Preston) Ltd have always held an active role in the promotion of the Building Industry in the local area. Indeed boasting 4 past presidents of the Preston & District Building Trades Employers Association, more than any other current member.
1988 proved to be a pivotal year for R. Walker & Sons with the purchase of the adjacent property for the manufacture of PVCu windows and doors. The Walker Windows name has become Synonymous with quality and integrity within the domestic and commercial replacement PVCu window market.
1996 saw the company complete 100 years successful trading and rather than resting on their laurels, David, Graham and Grant have increased the growth of the Company each year through quality workmanship and the reputation as one of Preston’s oldest family companies to build a client portfolio including Lancashire County Council, Preston NHS Trust, Blackpool Wyre and Fylde NHS Trust.
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