J W Cannon was formed in 1948 by William John Cannon.
A local man born and bred in South London , ‘Jack’ Cannon as everyone knew him, had spent much of the immediate years after the war cycling from place to place plying his trade as a Master Tiler and Bricklayer.
An honest tradesman offering a fair day’s work for a reasonable payment soon became popular with most of his neighbours in the Mitcham area and Jack Cannon grew a large following of local people happy to have a trustworthy and capable builder on their doorstep.
Bomb damage was of course a staple diet for builders at this stage of the 20th century and as the amount of work completed grew, so did Jack Cannon’s reputation of quality and care.
1950 proved to be an eventful year. Jack Cannon took on a partner and Cannon & Roaf was formed. Jack’s daughter Eileen joined as office manager / secretary and soon set about making important decisions which affected the future of the company – just as she was to do many times in the future.
Eileen decided that the garage at the end of the garden used as the present premises in Mitcham were too small for a progressive company and Cannon & Roaf moved to a spare plot of rented land in William Street, Carshalton.
This plot was next door to his brother’s blacksmith business and on this site Cannon & Roaf built offices, storerooms, a joinery workshop and a fitter’s shop for repairing the growing number of company vehicles. This site was eventually purchased by J W Cannon & Co Ltd in 1970.
Always one to enjoy socialising and meeting people. Jack Cannon soon became involved with many local groups and organisations building up a network of good causes that he would eagerly help either practically or with fund raising. Boys’ clubs in particular were a favourite with Jack’s love of boxing coming to the fore and the building of Pollard’s Hill Social Club, giving Jack a great sense of achievement and pride.
Late in the 1950’s Cannon & Roaf was dissolved and J W Cannon & Co Ltd re emerged as a separate company once more. During the previous and following years the business continued to flourish and established and well known organisations as well as private householders became regular client’s all keen to enjoy Jack Cannon’s growing reputation. Companies such as Seeboard, British Gas, Surrey County Council and the GLC all accepted J W Cannon on to their lists as respectable and trustworthy builders of quality.
The company also branched out to develop a small estate of houses for the one and only time in its history to compliment a period of steady growth.
During the 1960s the workforce gradually grew under the leadership of Jack Cannon, his daughter Eileen, George Sullivan and Jack’s brother Den. A real family affair and one that gave Jack an immense sense of pride.In the early 70s, with the company seeming to be going from strength to strength, it was joined by Roy Foulsham, a highly qualified and respected Civil Engineer who was brought on board with the intention of assisting in the continued growth of the company.
With a professional management team in place it seemed like the future was settled but in 1973, after a long period of illness, Jack Cannon died. With a growing workforce and many faithful clients the company had to survive and thanks to the efforts of all in charge it did.
One character in particular took centre stage, as she had been doing all her life in her other guise as a local singer and sought-after stage artist.
Eileen, now Bowden after her marriage to Ron Bowden in 1956, became Managing Director and took on the major task of forging the business forward. With support and assistance from all around, the company, far from stagnating, carried on building, repairing and refurbishing. Thanks to the efforts of all around, more regular household names became clients – the Co–op, Royal Marsden Hospital and TheMetropolitan Police to name but a few.
The seventies brought with them many changes, not least dark recessions but thanks to the quality of the reputation previously built up and now maintained and the determination of Eileen, the company managed to survive. The number of people employed varied and stalwarts George Sullivan and Dennis Cannon either retired or left, but Eileen Bowden and Roy Foulsham ensured the company grew through the bad times and was stable enough to withstand periods that saw many other businesses fail and disappear.
The early 80s saw another family member, Clive Bowden, join the company as an apprentice carpenter and the family feel to J W Cannon & Co Ltd began again with a third generation in the fold. After working on the sites for some years, Clive continued to study construction and management and following qualification was appointed a Director of the Company in 1986.
Once again the company grew, with other major names becoming regular clients of J W Cannon, the London Boroughs of Sutton and Croydon have had many of their landmarks and buildings, refurbished, painted or rebuilt by J W Cannon & Co Ltd. Reigate and Banstead Council and various Housing Associations employed the company to carry out major refurbishments and re building projects.
During the 80s and 90s the company’s reputation grew and other clients to come on board regularly were major insurance companies.In the mid nineties, after many years of loyal and profitable service, Roy Foulsham decided that he wanted to follow a different career path and resigned from the board of J W Cannon. Clive and Eileen decided that family was the only way forward and pressed further ahead with just themselves as directors.
Through the remainder of the 90s and into the new century, Clive and Eileen added to the client database, established J W Cannon as a company willing and able to try new technology and products and ensured that the company was financially stable to carry on as it had done for the previous decades.
J W Cannon was 60 years old in 2008 and although Eileen has had to take a back seat for a number of years due to failing health, the company prospers and continues to be an established landmark of the local community, having been at the same premises for so many years.
The company is proud of its family origins and is delighted that it’s workforce boasts many father and sons who have worked for them for many years together with one father and daughter team!
The client list remains just as full, many of the clients from 40 years ago are still using our services and the list has expanded to include Her Majesty’s Prison Service, many local and London based surveying andarchitectural practices, The Royal Bank of Scotland and Halifax building society and not forgetting how we started, the local residents of Carshalton and the surrounding areas.