Marshall Company History
Charles J Marshall (Aberdeen) Ltd celebrated its Diamond Anniversary in 2012. Sixty one years ago, the Marshall brand was conceived by Charles J Marshall; the year was 1952. This tenacious 18-year-old apprentice joiner decided that after his National Service, he would establish his own business producing something that he could sell en masse. At this time in history the introduction of the new technically advanced tractor was just in its infancy and the young Charles decided this was his time to capitalize on this opportunity.
While he was posted in Aberdeen, he was able to combine army national service throughout the day while building trailers at night; no mean feat but a win, win situation for this young man. His initial modest ambition was to build himself a factory to supply the whole of Scotland and be the largest supplier in this territory! In reality, to achieve this goal meant an investment to acquire some land and a small croft situated just 6 miles from Aberdeen was purchased. Charles managed to secure this at the cost of £2450. Needless to say this overjoyed his current long suffering neighbours as they had endured years of noise and constant TV interference from power tools used by this enthusiastic, young man.
By 1956 the first part of the present factory building was completed, named Chapel Works, it covered a 12000 sq ft site. True to form, the young Charles supervised and even poured the concrete blocks by hand to ensure that the best value was achieved from his investment.
The greatest advantage to his new factory layout was the ability to create the relatively new concept of a production line that allowed for the most efficient use of labour; always an expensive commodity and not to be wasted! Although said tongue in cheek, Charles quickly realised that labour was an essential requirement but had to be used efficiently so the production line was integral to this.
Then as today, Charles invested heavily in his business and purchased vast stocks of steel and other components. This gave him the added advantage of being able to buy at very competitive prices and so produce a more cost effective trailer. The knock on result from this strategy was a rapid expansion of turnover allowing him to further develop the factory premises.
By this stage he was employing all the trades required to manufacture steel and timber trailers. Production output had also rocketed up from a mere 46 units built in 1952 to supplying well over 1600 units per year by the mid sixties - no small feat for a joiner!
Equipment was another area of investment that was expanded to keep up with rising demand so he purchased a new brake pressand guillotine, the largest north of the Clyde for that time! Likewise, the shrewd move away from the "slow" arc welders to the latest concept of Mig welders also proved to be a winning formula for speeding up production. Nothing was going to hold him back from achieving his original ambition!
The 1970’s were the years of strike action and horrendous labour relations and Charles was extremely proud of the fact that he never had a strike and his factory still produced throughout this period. This result, he firmly believes, came from his own work ethic and the fact that even at this stage in business, he worked a full day with his staff on the shop floor. No job was too menial for Charles and no task was asked to be undertaken that he could or would not do himself.