I am probably a lot older than most posters here and have seenand experienced the peaks and troughs of the economy and house and commercial property prices since the late fifties, I am also partially blind so any stupid errors in my post are not through any illiteracy or poor education, thats why I do not post as often as I used
Several things control our financial destiny, employment and earnings, interest rates, and the most crucial of all, debt liability and the ability to cober our creditors and liabilities. I was born and bred in Birmingham before the war which was the centre of world manufacturing industry, its moto was 'Forward' if you want it we can make it many of the finest industrialists in the world such as James Watt and Matthew Bolton centred around Soho, which is now Handsworth, Aston and Sandwell.
My early expereiences of industry were during the war and my mother working as one of 19,000 employees manufacturing and building Spitfires and Lancasters at Vickers Castle Bromwhich on a 500 acre site givent to Churchill and the country by a wealthy landowner.
After the war when I was nearing leaving school we were regularly visited by people from such companies as Joseph Lucas, Dinlop Avery's scales, Cadbury's and many of the worlds leading manufacturers looking to recruit apprentices, the Birmingham mail was a large broadsheett it was full of every concievable type of secure well paid jobs, at the time you expected to remain in a secure job for life.
I started a five year indentured engineering apprenticeship with one the most worlds most famous motor cycle manufacturers, I was immediately enrolled at the Cadbury Companies own technical Ccllege at Bournville for one day a week. I prospered and could afford everything I needed, I lived in a Council prefab built for such as my father returning from the far east totally blind from combat injury, my father was was immediately also found fully time employment in a factory in Hockley were he worked till he retired and got ironically the gold watch, my mother left Vickers and worked until she retired for a gunsmith in what was known as the gun quarter.
A girl who was a bit older than me has been my Sunday school teacher who lived in a terraced back to back with her mother who was very poor having lost her father in the war won a scholarship to King Edwards grammerr school in Handsworth still one of, if still not the finest in the country. she qualified as a Pharmacist at 19 four years later we married and opened our own Pharmacy a brand new large shop with a flat large garden and a rear garage cost, £2,000. the business prospered and interest rates were similar to today, I had a seriously good job with all the overtime I could work, almost everything manufactured was for export.
There was long waiting list for new cars and motor cycles, in the factory I worked every month big banners went up. "The Boats Coming In" referring to the cargo ships arriving from America, which meant everyone was to expected to work overtime and switch jobs to wrapping and crating, it meant everyone from engineers, toolmakers and drawing room staff, we had full order books for months ahead with the Berliner Corporation the importers in New York.
In the early sixties things changed, I cannot recall why, I was not as aware in those days of market fluctuations as I am now, but there was a serious recession, sales slowed dealer were going bust by the shed load, including the biggest in the country, Kings of Oxford owned by Mike Hailwoods multi milliuonaire father Stan, the company I worked was taken over and moved to London, I immediately got a job with gunmakers Webley and Scott by West Bromwhich football ground. One of the cleverest racing motor cycle development engineers I ever met and had been apprebtice to went self employed painting and decorating and never returned to industry.
The Pharmacy continued to grow and proper and every year I bought the wife a new car, she earned it the hours she worked not a Morris Minor, but decent kit Wolseley 6/99 the a 6/110, a 3litre Princess a Jaguar 3.8s and another 3.8s followed by a Rover 3.5 coupe a Lancia Flaminia coupe and Jensen.
We sold the Pharmacy to Boots because my wife had caught TB of a patient and I bought a good motor cycle business in Cheshire, the trade was making a huge comeback with the Japanese, I had four franchises Honda, Suzuki Yamaha and BMW, we made remarkable progress over the years increasing the turnover from £75K to £1.4m (yes million), the previous owner had been in the job since the war, made his packet and just kept it on as a hobby, we expanded into engineering, racing engines, insurance and finance brokerage, plus we were exporting a substantial amount of new Honda cummuter machines and spare parts to the the Gambian government in Banjul for the use of medical and aid workers.
We opened a second business in 1975, the first business was a very large showroom, plus worhops and car park with three flats, which we used as offices and stores,a large clothing accessories and spares departments and accident repairs all boosted income this was in one of the wealthiest areas of Cheshire, the second business was not so big but had a good showroom workshop and a flat above we did not lease these premises we bought them, in addition I rented a vast newly built chicken battery house that had been built by a local farmer who failed to get planning , I stored up to 500 new motor cycles in crates there, if you did not forward order from Japan you were selling from an empty barrow.
by 1977 we were employing 27 staff and woking all hours, every year we won many holidays for reaching sales targets, Japan, Acapulco, Greek Island Cruises, the States, Cannes etc, we never took them because we could not spare the time, we took just two in 1979 and 1980 to the states, the rest we gave to the staff by drawing the highest card , win one, and you were excluded from the next draw.
Deals were plentiful, because of the volume of business I could afford to buy big, a tasty one was a **** up at the Cooperative Wholesale Society, some idiot ordered 24,000 pint bottles of Castrol two stroke oil, unfortunately with a chain saw label on them, it was the same stuff as Castrol TT motor cycle oil, I bought the lot at 2p a bottle, stacked it high sold it cheap at 65p well below RRP.
In 1976 I was offered a house by the boss of the business next door an E.A it was in Burton on the Wirral very expensive and exclusive area, five bed bungalow four car garage 3 are garden, paddock, and large 7 acre field, it had a massive sandstone wall frontage with double gates at each end, he showed me brochure £59Km it had been empty and overgrown for a few years I knew the place and laughed it him, he persisted and offered the keys and told me to have a look inside and around the back.
I took the wife for a look, massive gravel drive and frontage was knee deep in grass and the garfens were overgrown and inpenatrable, the inside of the house was huge the lounge was 46ft, the kitchen was old and dated with a rayburn and the huge bsathroom was antique with black tyling and what like a ships boiler room showet it had two sets of french windows one from the lounge and one from the master bedroom/dressing room leading onto a massive raised patio with steps to the gardens, the view across the river dee to north Wales was stunning, all the windows and french windows were old steel framed.
The wife loved it but it wanted a lot spent, I went back and told the guy no way at £59K, he opened a foulder and slid a letter out just as far as the heading HM Customs & Excise VAT Recovery was all I could see, bid me at it? okay £15K it want;s a fortune spending and a years work, he told me to piss off I was not going to nick it, it had been subject of a Court charging order and a four Court battle with the Wirrakls biggest Audi/VW dealer who had gone bus. I eventually went £30 and got it, the wife spent a year and £35k (thirty years ago)
Totally gutted new kitchen etc new tramacked dribe sandstone wall rebuilt with two sets of 9ft Oack gates new tarmac deive to the paddock four stable block and tackroom and a new full size all weather riding menage. We had a housewarming garden party three knights of the realm and members of government members , Japanese company bosses from Handa Yamaha and Suzuki and government Minister of Transport who is now a peer.
Nice? live in Australian groom, top class hunters in the stables, gardener, Bentley T11 and the wifes Mercedes 450se in the garage, lovely jubbly. I had just a 9K mortgage on the place, it sold a year last may for £985K. I was also sponsoring a 10 time Isle of man T.T winner and and world champion motor cycle racer plus a couple of good blokes on a sidecar outfit.
£985K great stuff the trouble is it was NOT SOLD BY ME!!!,
Not the end of the story but my eyes are acheing, going for a walk along the stunning Atlantic coat of Ireland with the dog then I will come back and tell you how it all goes pear shaped, not only for us but ten of thousands of others many close friends one for £50 MILLION.