Johnson Machinery Ltd, CH Johnson Ltd

Johnson Machinery Ltd - unofficial website - Factories, Branch & Staff Pictures

The Johnson Works at Adswood Road, Stockport

Added - 23/03/10. David C has produced these stunning photo's of the Johnson offices. What a fantastic logo or emblem on top of the building. The company built a lot of conveyors such as the one pictured.

C H Johnson Adswood works

Added - 23/03/10. Another view of the office from David C. The car registration suggests this picture dates from the late 1950's. It's a Standard Vanguard which had the same engine as a TR2 and Fergie tractors!

Johnson Machinery Adswood Road

Lee and Phil have provided these two photos of the works which they believe were taken in 1963. This one shows the railway line that ran at the rear of the factory to Chaple en le Frith and then on through (and under) the Peak District to South Yorkshire. This line was removed by the 1970's. The Manchester - London line is the one with the overhead electric gantry. In the yard are a number of dumpers which were awaiting refurbishment after being hired out. Ken adds, ' the dumpers were mainly 3E, which had been traded in by Wimpey and McAlpine. They built up to such an extent that one of the main reasons for opening the Whaley Bridge wks was to refurbish them for resale. The chimney was at Sykes's Bleach Works in Edgeley. The large house was known as Miss Tomkin's where an earlier owner had kept monkeys before moving to Manchester and forming Belle Vue Zoo. The railway bridges just off picture to the right were known locally as the "monkey bridges". The low building on the left is Bridge Hall Junior School'.

Johnson Machinery group photo 1963

This second photograph is of the works personnel in front of the office block celebrating a retirement, Geroge Inglis the Works Director is positioned on the left, and the smaller man 3rd from left is Ernie Wilkins the machine shop foreman. 5th from left is Ronnie Day welding shop chargehand, later foreman on the retirement of his uncle Frank Parr. 8th left is Malcolm Robinson ex apprentice and Assistant Works Manager Adswood Works. Next to Malcolm is Joe Wooding plater/welder. On the building line with the cap and 'tache is Bill Jones machine shop chargehand behind Wilf Darlington conveyor shop chargehand. In the brown slop behind Wilf is Frank Dickens Conveyor shop foreman. Next to Wilf is Joe Hogan & Freddie Rushton conveyor shop fitters. In the suit is (I think), Frank Bolger, was he retiring? & Bill Thomas both welders. The chap in the open jacket is Len Nickerson blacksmith. Next end on right is Jack(?) Robinson joiner. Thanks to Ken for naming so many staff.

Added 26/03/10 - The works staff. To view a larger version of the image click here Photo courtesy of David C

Johnson Machinery staff

Added 26/03/10 - The works staff. Is the chap holding something retiring? To see a larger version of the image click here. Photo courtesy of David C.

 Brian Dearden

This is Brian Dearden the boss. Photo kindly provided by David C. Added 6/4/10

 Cyril Stokes

Cyril Stokes. Photo kindly provided by David C. Added 6/4/10

Drawing office

These 3 superb original photographs from Dave W show the Drawing Office as it stood in the 1970's. This is the back of Drawing Office. In the foreground is the tilting device seen in other photos being used to test the stability of the Humper.

Drawing office

This is inside the drawing office. Picture by Dave W.

Drawing office

Front view of the drawing office. More 1970's cars in the car park. Picture by Dave W.

Added 24/03/10 - Undated picture of the drawing office staff. Thanks to Dave C.

Drawing office - Johnson Machinery

Added 24/03/10 - The staff of the drawing office early 1970's. Picture from Dave C.

Drawing office staff 1979

Added 24/03/10 - 1979 drawing office staff. Thanks to Dave C.

Alistair says, "Oh boy do those photos of the DO bring it all back, especially the interior shot.  In the shot from the front you can just see part of the building that contained the 'Development section' where a senior fitter with the assistance of a third year apprentice would build the prototypes. Parts would be sketched out in the DO or fabricated to suit in the section before fitting to the prototype for testing. Once everything was satisfactory the part was 'productionised' in the DO. I remember turning a fabricated brake pedal into a drawing for a SG Iron casting thereby reducing the parts count and machining processes. The only building not shown is the Spares department which was to the right of the DO as seen in the front view".

Added 06/04/10 - office staff. Photo courtesy of Dave C.

The Johnson Works at Adswood as at 2009

This is the old Johnson office building as it stood in June 2009. Many thanks to Alastair for taking the trouble to photograph it.

Johnson Machinery - welding shop

This is the former welding shop which you may recognise if you look at some of the old Johnson photographs. The factory and main office have been split up into units. The design office which was across the road has been demolished.

Dave says, "Johnson Machinery Ltd was bought out by J F Nash Securities Ltd in 1979 (which was part of the Reliant Motor company) and called it Johnson Construction Machinery. They brought in new directors John Toolan Marketing, Richard Miller Engineering, and Mike Nugent Accounts, I can't remember who the MD was, I will try and find out who it was. It was decided to design a complete new range of 4WD Dumpers, which I worked on under the leadership of Richard Miller, (Ex. Thwaites, and Barfords), Lead Engineer Gerry Adamson, Draughtsmen Dave Deakin, Dave Clegg, and me Dave Wright."

The Whaley Bridge Factory

Chris says, "I was apprenticed at Johnson Machinery after training school with Frank Davies at Adswood in 74 - 75. I served the rest of my time at Whaley Bridge. I made a lot of 2Hs, Motils and built most of the Humpers going through Whaley Factory. Nobody liked putting them together because the Hydraulics were a pain, all the pipes were bent and fitted by hand. Towards the end amidst union disruption two of us were responsible for development of the chassis, cab and suspension of the joint venture The Trantor which I still see the odd one operating".


"The Trantor company was from Heaton Mersey, Stockport and I think something to do with Dearden's family".

Graham says, "The Trantor picture is one of 18 prototypes built in Stockport for Lonrho Exports Ltd.[Tiny Rowland] and the picture shows Will Tutton driving this particular vehicle. The connection between Johnson construction and W.S.Taylor Engineering Developments [Now Trantor INTERNATIONAL LTD] was formulated because the directors of the Trantor project asked Johnsons to make as licensees the Trantor tractors.  As discussions were under way the owners of Johnson appeared to be more interested in selling out and less interested in growing their then well-established I recall. I hope this does NOT offend anyone. The easiest way to read on the web about the current business of the Trantor project is to read the keynote address on after looking at the AGROVER links to Trantor the Trantor was always seen as a Landrover and farm tractor combined and was the worlds first fully-suspended farm tractor. The Trantor product was always made entirely of English components until auto-industry collapse around 1990. At this time Trantor moved its supply chain to lower-cost INDIA and about 35% of its items/components/assemblies come from TATA with TVS, LUCAS, Ashok-Leyland being a part of the current supply-chain. Michelin, 80kph tyres[50mph] being unavailable in India are the exception.  The archivist at Trantor is a Mrs Pauline Owen from Brinnington, Stockport".

Does anyone have any photographs of the Whaley Bridge works?

The Scottish Branch at Kirkintilloch

Added - 23/3/10. Johnsons had a Scottish branch at Kirkintilloch. Another one of David C's great pictures.


Added - 23/03/10. Another view of the Scottish branch. The cars suggest this picture was taken during the 1960's. Thanks again to David C.

Memories of Kirkintilloch - kindly provided by Ewen - added 27/07/10

'I am going to give you some insight into the Kirkintilloch depot. The depot was opened circa 1963, as the single unit you see in the photograph. Around four years later another unit of the same size and structure was added to double the size of the building. In 1972 new offices and a showroom were built on to the front of the building and that's the way it is to this day. It is now a tyre and exhaust centre.

I started there in June 1969 at the age of fifteen, the office staff included R.H. (Bob) Lee, Director, Charlie Clingan, depot manager, Bob O'Donnell, stores and some sort of management role, I don't think even he knew what it was, Bob was a lifetime Johnsons man who had worked in Adswood Road but moved up to Scotland when the new depot opened. Bob Fraser, sales, George (can't remember his surname) hire clerk, Gibby (can't remember his surname), he was another one I wasn't too sure what his role was and I don't think he did either, one minute he was hanging around looking pretty in the office and the next he was out cutting up old dumpers. There were three girls in the office, Mary, Audrey and Isobel. There was also an older couple who rumour had it owned shares in the Scottish operation, Mr and Mrs Adams. They turned up once or twice a week and I know that Mrs Adams did the wages. The shopfloor included, John McPherson, electrician, Alistair Alexander Robertson, main fitter, Willie Millar pump, rammer and mechanical poker fitter, Jock McStavock, mobile service engineer, John Higgins, fitter, Willie Owens, lorry driver/ fitter, Brian Scott, apprentice and "Ronald the weasle", Bob Lees' son, who was paid as an apprentice but in my opinion spent his career being a pest.

During the 60's and 70's there were many projects going on in the building trade including new towns like East Kilbride, Glenrothes, Cumbernauld and Erskine, both private and public developments and major road projects like the M8, Kingston and Erskine bridges, M90 and the M73 and M74 so the potential to make money from plant hire at the time was great. Johnsons had fifty Rotaplacers on contract hire to SSHA with the skips only painted in SSHA yellow, plus all the other regular hirers, Wimpey and the like. The most popular hired machine was the Rotaplacer followed by mud pumps, that seemed like the battlecry from the office when Mary took a call enquiring if we had a Rotaplacer available, "Haw Charlie have you got a Rotaplacer"? Alistair's and John's time was spent constantly making them ready for hire. There were always new machines leaving the show area which at the time was the grass area outside the office. One of my jobs was to clean the dirt from them, which had built up while they sat awaiting a customer.

We also did a healthy trade in reconditioned parts which were refurbished in the workshop, things like steering boxes, gearboxes and differentials. At the time we had one large beaver tail Bedford TK lorry, a small flatbed Bedford J type lorry, which had started life as a mobile compressor truck, a Ford Thames pick up and a Ford Transit diesel van. We also had a Lolode single axle trailer. The hire fleet also had some non Johnson products, we had some Benford 5/3 half mixers and Broomwade towable air compressors. The staff stayed mostly the same with the exception of driver/fitters, Willie Owens left and was replaced by Donald McLeod, he left then Duncan Tedford the Bedford came, he went and Jimmy Gilhaney came. Bob Fraser the sales person who, it was alleged also had some financial stake in the business left in mysterious circumstances one Friday, after he apparently took himself on a trip to Stockport to tell tales. He was replaced by Danny McMillan. I had and still have a theory that anyone could make a business work in those days, there was opportunities out there for everyone. The culture in the place seemed to be drinking and pilfering, and that was the management! Bob Lee seemed to spend most of his time with his drinking and sailing pals falling into the Clyde from yachts and boats. While that was going on another pair, one management and one a service engineer were busy with their own small cottage industry reconditioning parts and selling them to small plant hire operators. Everyone seemed to know what was going on but no one seemed to try to stop it. Despite the side issues the business was doing well and in 1971 a depot in Ladybank in Fife was opened, followed a few years later by another in Galston in Ayrshire.

Now to the picture of the Kirkintilloch depot, that must have been taken when the site was just opened as I can see no sign of machines or stock, I seem to remember seeing that picture before. Anyway I will just mention the people I recognise, 1st left is Bob Lee, 5th left in the white overalls is Bob O'Donnell 1st right is Bob Fraser and 5th right is B Dearsden'.

Johnson Construction Machinery Ltd - Worsley Factory

Johnson Construction Machinery factory

 This is the new factory built on the side of Hodgkinson and Bennis Ltd Highfield Road, Little Hulton, Manchester, M38 9SS which was used after the change to Johnson Construction Machinery Ltd.

Johnson Construction Machinery factory

Close up of the new factory.

Any more photographs for this website will be most welcome.