Soon after the First World War, Joe Disson, my Grandfather, started a building and construction business. By the 1920s, it had become a successful local business.
He is seen here photographed with his staff on a company day outing starting from Cochrane Street, circa 1927. My Grandfather and my Dad, also Joe, are seen on the right of the charabanc. In the photograph, are two of my Dad’s younger brothers, Perce and Willy, all looking forward to a day out on the coast.
My Grandfather died in 1941. Unfortunately the business was badly affected by WW2, as all the staff were called up for war service. My Dad, the eldest son, was left to keep the business ticking over. Meanwhile, Dad joined the The Home Guard, manning the Anti-Aircraft guns on Hampstead Heath. I believe, throughout the whole of the war, the unit never recorded a single direct hit. On returning home after a hard night on the guns, I often remember my Dad saying how good the Full English Breakfast had been that morning, all deliciously served up for the ‘troops’. At least someone in the family was being well fed!
From the late twenties, the building business was run from a large builders’ yard, together with a workshop and offices, on the corner of Woronzow Road and St John’s Wood Terrace. The site was, eventually, compulsorily taken over for redevelopment in the late fifties causing the business to move to new premises in Charlbert Street.