The history of Hall Bros is very much linked to the history of its location, in the Walsgrave area of Coventry. Much of the housing that exists in this area was built by the company and throughout the years it has maintained firm links with the community. As well as developing a reputation for solid construction work of high quality, the company has continually supported training and development, with a huge number of local apprentices and trainees passing through the firm.
The Early YearsIn 1900 Charles Adolphus Hall left Barbados to find work in the “mother country”. He arrived in the Stoke area of Road in Coventry in 1908, via Scotland and Newcastle-on-Tyne and became the first African Caribbean to settle in the City. He worked as a millwright at the Daimler works for forty years, earning an award of merit and a gold medal from the engineering union. In spite of the extensive racial prejudice prevailing at the time, Charles played a full and active life in the local community, playing cricket for Foleshill Albion and regularly attending Stoke St Michael’s church with his wife, Sarah Ann. His is an extraordinary story of perseverance and endeavour in the face of difficult circumstances. In 1933 Charles supported his sons, Bob and Bill, in setting up a building and joinery company known as “Hall Bros”, based in Walsgrave, Coventry. Bob had served a seven year apprentice as a bricklayer and they set up the business with a bank loan that Charles had underwritten with the deeds of the family home in Stoke. The business was closed during the war whilst Bob served as a sergeant in the Royal Air Force, building airfields in Iceland and the Hebrides.
Early motor car bodies were made of wooden frames and the firm’s first venture in joinery manufacturing was to supply these frames to the Daimler works from their joinery factory. Eventually the brothers moved on to construct many hundreds of flats, houses and factory units, mainly in the Wyken, Walsgrave and Holbrooks areas, contributing enormously to the post-war reconstruction of the city. The very first houses were built in Woodway Lane, adjacent to Sowe Common in 1933. Bob never neglected to remind anyone that he had laid every single brick in all four properties! Before the war the brothers built more houses in Farren Road, Ansty Road and elsewhere in the city.1945 to 1960sOn demobilisation in 1945 the business resumed trading in an era of rapid redevelopment, building primarily council houses to house the ever growing population of the City. There were several other significant developments around this time: Hinckley Road, Shirley Road and Regina Crescent were the first private developments after the war of semi-detached houses and bungalows, built by the company in 1955.The company was also engaged in contracting and a major project was a new factory for the expanding AP Metalcraft, a local company specialising in pressed metal work, doing much work for the Admiralty and for Coventry’s rapidly expanding industrial base. The relationship with this company continued for over sixty years. Another project of which Bob was particularly proud was the construction of the new Salvation Army Citadel in Camden Street, Stoke. Shulman’s Walk, Mardol Close and Gresley Road was a development principally of bungalows, some of which were intended for nuclear families, which at the time was an innovative development.1970s to 1990sThe Stoke Hill Estate and the Primrose Park Estate were constructed in the early 1970s and were a mixture of semi-detached and terraced houses for sale, followed by flats in Earle Court and bungalows in Regis Walk. Wootton Court was a significant entry to the private lettings arena, in the days of rent regulation. This is a three storey block of apartments on the corner of Henley Road and Wyken Croft. It remains typical of the construction of that period. In 1970 Bob’s son Robert entered the business full time and became General Manager of the company. The late 1970s also saw the start of the Mount Pleasant Estate, following many years of discussions with the planning authorities. This is a major mixed development which incorporates family homes, sheltered accommodation, shared ownership apartments, and retail and leisure development. The final phase of this development is currently under construction.An early phase was the construction of family homes in Manfield Avenue, followed by sheltered accommodation at Marsh House, built for the New Hestia Housing Association. This was followed by detached houses in Turlands Close and more houses, bungalows and maisonettes in Shuna Croft and The Kintyre. The naming of the roads on many of the developments reflected old Bob’s deep affection for Scotland where he spent many holidays. The Henley Industrial Estate was built in partnership with AP Metalcraft Ltd in the mid 1980s. This consisted of fourteen new industrial units and eventually the conversion of the firm’s offices and joinery works into a further unit and the existing petrol station to a retail outlet. Willow Courtyard was a small private courtyard development for the over 55s in two storey blocks with mainly two bedroom apartments.More Recent DevelopmentsThe Old Yard is a substantial single site development of eighty-six apartments on the site of the firm’s old building yard and joinery factory. This was designed primarily for young professionals, mainly associated with the nearby University Hospital. It is a proud boast that every single brick on the site was laid by a current or former student of City College, Coventry. The development was officially opened in 2004 by Sir John Gains, the then Chairman of the Construction Confederation and Group Chief Executive of Mowlem plc, and a former student at King Henry VIII School in Coventry.Bronte Walk is a development completed on the site of former horticultural nurseries at Longfellow Road which had fallen into disrepair and was causing a local nuisance to neighbours. The much sought after eighteen apartments located there have created a vibrant community. Harmony Court and Mull Court are single blocks of apartments catering for young professionals and also the more elderly, completed in the late 2000’s. Halls Drive is a superb new development of properties for rent, designed specifically for the over-fifty-fives, yet with provision for active professionals. The development is divided into three phases, the first of which consists of apartments for those people who qualify for affordable rents. Each apartment has maple timber planned kitchens, substantial living accommodation and either one or two bedrooms. There are lifts provided for access to the three and two storey blocks where necessary and in general the build is of the highest quality, in accordance with Hall Bros policy of building for tenant satisfaction, low maintenance and long life of construction components.These apartments are highly energy efficient, having heavily insulated walls and roof space, modern filled double glazing and the very latest solar energy provision.It can be seen from this brief history that the company is very much woven into the fabric of the Walsgrave community.
Charles Hall and family
First houses built in 1933
Hall Bros, 2 The Square Business Centre, Manfield Avenue, Coventry, CV2 2QJTel: 024 7661 2121Email: firstname.lastname@example.org