J.J.Cookson was begun by my Great-Grandfather, John James Cookson, in 1911. Our family were originally farmers from west of Sandbach. Changes in farming through the 1800′s lead to more of a factory farm set up and our family became more involved in the engineering which was supporting this new style of farming. John James (or “JJ” as he was universally known) grew up around Smallwood near Congleton, where his father Sam Cookson lived along with his family. JJ had a passion for vehicular engineering and started racing and tuning motor-cycles at the turn of 20th century when he was a young man. JJ raced in the first Isle of Man TT races, and held class records at the new Brooklands circuit, where he was one of the first two-wheeled racers to average over 100mph around the famous banked circuit.
It is my intention to gradually over time share our wealth of history over our website. We have so much information to share, and over the past 100 years our business, our staff and our products have literally touched and involved tens of thousands of people around East Cheshire. We have supplied multiple vehicles not just to a generation, but up to four of five generations back. We are genuinely proud and honoured to be able to say that we have that heritage. The fact that we can do that and still have family members directly involved in running the company is something I hold very dearly.
These pages are not aimed to promote J.J.Cookson, but to share our history over the past 100 plus years.
We supplied Macclesfield Borough Council with many vehicles. This photo shows a fire appliance we supplied in around 1924, being fuelled at our new “Pumps” in Waters Green. We rebuilt the building in 1965 but the position of the pumps did not change. I can remember the pumps operating in the 1980′s, usually by “Billy” Dale. Bill was one of our technicians who in later life ran the pumps, petrol kiosk and generally helped out everywhere. While the pumps were removed in about 1985 the bases still exist in the substantial cellars which run under the modern building.
In around 1920 we expanded our Service operation with the purchase of premises at the rear of our Waters Green site. This had been an old workshop, and we understand a barrel store from a neighbouring mill. For the next 75 years this would be our workshops and eventually became fitted out with modern two post lifts, four-gas exhaust analysis machines and all the modern requirements of a workshop in the 1990′s. We eventually moved our to our “new build” workshop in 1998, but these photos are from the early days of our operation, we suspect from the calendar around 1922.
Above is our Parts department, in what we suspect was to become the “Tool Room” for many years. I can remember this room, opposite the main workshop, at the back of what was “Macc Snacks”, next door to it was the mechanic’s “brewroom” and toilets. They were not very pleasant and I look back now on how we did things in the 1970′s and how we do things now in 2016 – there has definitely been progress. While we still keep our parts on shelves, we now operate in a clean environment, far better for the parts and our staff that work there. These are now managed by a modern computer system which tracks all our stock, it’s stock turn and even down to a location on the shelf.
We can even keep our white shirts white….well most of the time!