Born in 1928 and still growing strong to this day!
Waterloo is steeped in the history and legend of the motor car, right back to early 1920’s when James Henry Munday first learnt his trade with Rolls Royce and Crossley cars. By the mid 20‘s James Henry was a foreman fitter for a franchised dealer in Hull. He could see there was the big depression just around the corner. His company was not selling cars so he left with his precious toolkit and set up a business of his own repairing cars and commercial vehicles.
In 1930 James Henry purchased an American made Van Norman portable boring machine and as transport a motor cycle and side car. He would travel to any vehicle requiring attention in the area and he would carry out the re-boring on the spot. James Henry became renowned for the quality of his work and the business grew. In 1932 James Gordon, joined his father in the business as a fourteen year old. In 1935 James Henry and his young son set up as Waterloo Garage and Engineering Company in Waterloo Street in Hull(which is where the name of the company comes from). The two were were joined by James Gordon’s younger brother Dennis, but both boys were to join the armed forces at the outbreak of war. Unfortunately the company premises were bombed flat by an enemy land mine in 1942. Most of the machinery was salvageable and it was moved to new premises in Fountain Road where the war years were spent on government contracts as well as the more conventional activities of motor vehicle repair.
Hull had been devastated during the conflict, but arising from all that was the opportunity for the family to invest in a business which could take advantage of the immediate post war opportunities. They recognised that Hull and it’s industries had to be re-built and they were going to need good toolmakers to do it.
In 1944, by comparison, there were fewer cars on the roads than there had been in 1928. The motor trade did not offer the immediate prospects or the same sense of urgency as did other activities. So in 1945 the company was incorporated under the name of Waterloo Engineering Co. Ltd. The family moved into precision engineering and toolmakers to local industry and this was to remain an important side of the business over the next three decades until the heavy decline of heavy and semi- heavy manufacturing in the area.
In spite of the prevailing economic conditions the number of cars on the road of the UK trebled in the five years up to 1950 from 700,000 to a population of 2,300,000. Not only was Waterloo reconditioning and repairing engines, business was brisk and it was starting to sell into the motor trade all the parts for engines,too.
The company tried to get direct accounts with a number of component manufacturing companies but it was a period of restrictive practices in parts distribution and all sorts of barriers were put in the way. As a result, Waterloo bought much of the components it required from the specialist engine parts motor factor, Edmunds Walker, even though everyone knew Waterloo was selling to the trade.
This was how life remained until about 1950 when Waterloo broke the mould and won a distribution agreement, on a direct account basis, with GIRLING. To add to its other activities Waterloo was now friction and brake components distributor. Over the years the Munday team were to develop their stock profile with magic names like Mintex,Armstrong, Lockheed, Borg & Beck, Crosland Filters and Quinton Hazel.
In the early 1960’s the local council decided to rebuild the area around the Waterloo premises and served on the company a compulsory purchase order. In 1965 Waterloo moved to it’s present premises in Main Street, Hull – still as a precision engineering. engine reconditioning and motor factoring business.
In 1979 James William joined the company as Managing Director, after having serviced an apprenticeship at BAE systems, worked for a firm of Engineering and Management consultants and then in the computer industry for 15 years. The first thing he did was not the most popular. He decided to close the precision engineering side. The business was a subcontracted tool maker for the area but the problem was the staff were a bit old and infirm and the machinery needed replacing. Added to that, the business was coming more and more from out of town. All of the big manufacturers were closing down in Hull and the engineering industry was moving elsewhere.
In 1982 Chris, Dennis’s son, joined the business as Finance Director from Price Waterhouse. Since that time 2 shops were opened and 2 branches and main Street has become a 20.000 sq. ft HQ and central warehouse facility.
Since the late 70’s and early 80’s there has been a great change in the aftermarket. We have moved from Hillman Hunters and Austin 100’s into new and diverse technologies. Both the Continental and Japanese car makers have made significant inroads into the UK market. We have seen the collapse of the motorcycle industry in the UK. We have entered a new era and a whole set of new dynamics. Not only has the motor factor been called upon to stock a vastly increasing breadth of product, but this has to be done whilst witnessing the growing reliability of components and dramatic lengthening of service intervals. This means that stock ranges have increased significantly whilst the movement of individual part numbers has reduced.
Waterloo has the advantage that it has been there before and therefore can tackle the future with the benefit of knowledge of the past.