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Text Box: Troy Family
Text Box: E.Troy Ltd

The business E.Troy Ltd  originated from my grandfather Edward Troy who in 1888  established and started his own business alone with one hand cart. It grew to its prime in the early 1960’s with fourteen lorries, equipment and numerous stores and buildings by the hard work of two of his sons Richard and Frank.

 I will give a brief history of the business from the start through to its termination three months before my mother died in 1997.

 

 

 

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Updated every 3 months .

Last updated April 2018

 

Jersey

June 18

At the age of 28, Edward left the sea to marry. This was in 1887 and shortly afterwards he had a stroke of luck. He had a cousin by the name of Murphy, who owned a small coal business which he ran with the aid of a handcart. This cousin, Murphy, apparently was the favourite nephew of a bachelor uncle who had emigrated to Australia and had been very successful out there. This uncle sent for cousin Murphy to join him and eventually take over his business. So it was arranged that Edward Troy would take over the Murphy’s little coal business. Shortly after this, Mary, Edward’s mother, came to him and opening her big apron placed 20 Golden Guineas into his hands, saying “Ned, buy yourself a horse and cart”.

.

Over the years, Edward built up this coal merchant’s business into a flourishing one. However the coal business is essentially an autumn and winter one and he needed something to occupy gainfully his time in the spring and summer and he was able, with his knowledge of and ties with the harbours, to start as a master stevedore at St. Helier Harbour, employing Dockers, particularly in the spring and summer in the exporting of the potato and tomato crops, but also year round in the movement of general goods. Both these businesses, the coal merchants and stevedoring business, flourished over the years and both were taken on by some of his sons in due course. The extent to which the business had flourished is shown by the fact that by the period after the end of World War 1, Edward not only owned the large (for the neighbourhood) house at 5 Albert Street and its large garden, but also two other houses facing onto Great Union Road. The family had a maid and George, the youngest son, was being educated at Victoria College.

Edward was known all around the docks and the town of St. Helier as Captain Edward Troy. He was a highly respected man who devoted himself to his wife and family of whom he was very proud, his work and his church.

My father Richard in his new lorry just before the second world war.

Below is an envelope stamp from the early 1950’s

Left: My Uncle Frank loading their new Ford lorry about 1948 with their new shipment of house coal. Before the use of coal hoppers it was swung on a basket using the boom of the ship after being filled by hand by the Dockers on board. The drivers had to work not like nowadays where they only sit in the cab.

Right: One of my father Richard’s new lorries about 1952. It is a Morris Commercial 5 ton tipper and the driver was Bill Rabbas. I have spelt his surname the way my father pronounced it.

Left: The old home 5,Albert St which had also been Edward and Sarah’s house, shop and the E.Troy office for Dick and Frank. Edward bought the grocers shop shortly before 1891 from Mr. William P. Matthews an elderly Englishman. It is about to be demolished here in 1958 to make way for the development of new stores. The new office was moved to the opposite side of the road incorporated in a house Dick and Frank purchased from Mrs. Arthur in Trafalgar Villas.

 

 Edward my Grandfather actually died in the room with the two sash windows above his shop in 1924 with most of his sons around him including my father who explained to me how he passed away.

 

Coal had to be bagged by hand in open bags of 1cwt on scales and later we had a scoop which was then tipped into the bag. The two 56lb weights used for weighing the coal was used by my father to show off. He was able to lift them above his head one on each arm separately  then both together. On one particular day he had a shock because the local Irish parish priest and friend from St Patrick's church at the time Father Dennis Ryan saw him do it then did it himself, but only with one arm.

 

When the coal boat came in they used to employ casual labour to trim the coal in the stores This means throwing the tipped coal high otherwise the loads would spread to the doors at load level and also more tonnage could be stored in each store. From experience he told me that he would never employ large muscular men as they had no stamina. He always picked the little wiry men who looked like they needed a good feed as they worked hard all day. He had a huge giant of a man once who was extremely strong in small bursts and after two hours quit as he was unable to trim the coal.

 

Once while Dick and Frank were trimming the coal they saw one of the casual drivers filling the passenger side of the lorry cab with the very large lumps of coal that sometimes came in the load, this prompted my dad to walk over and tap him on the shoulder and say “What are you doing” The guy said “ Don’t worry mate, those bloody Troy’s can afford it, they won’t miss it”. To which my father said “ We are those bloody Troy's, now put it back”, the guy turned white. I think he expected them to be in suits not black as coal in the store.

The cutting from the JEP 2006

In the column on the left is a cutting of the original entry from the JEP when my father saved a woman from a house fire. He told me he ran in on instinct when he heard her screams and found her in the bedroom. He picked her up over his shoulder but because the smoke was so dense  he became disoriented and in the old houses the built in wardrobe doors were similar to the normal interior doors. He ended up walking into the wardrobe but luckily he shouted to his colleague to keep calling at the front door and was able to follow the sound. He said that if Jimmy Godfray had not kept shouting from the front door they would not have survived.

Above: My father Richard collecting sand in his lorry in the late 1930’s. Loading was done by hand and note the size of his shovel. That’s Dick my oldest brother in the back with his own spade.

Before the Second World War Richard (Dick) my father used to deliver a ton of coal every fortnight to Madame Thomas who lived in the little cottage called “Wolfe's Lair" at the bottom of Egypt, Trinity. It was usually on a Thursday afternoon so he used to take my mum Eva and the children ( I wasn’t born yet) for the ride so they were able to play at the top in the fields. It must have been quite a carry down with each 1cwt bag on his back and then a long walk up again. What a coincidence that my wife Valerie grew up in Egypt Cottage through to her teens and knew that area well, see my family

Website administrator Maurice R. Troy

Frank and Richard in front of their old office in 1958. Taken by me. About to be demolished which revealed to original shop front.

Note the old Hessian coal bags when they were wet it added quite a few pounds to the weight that had to be carried.

The stores in Albert St they also owned the house not quite in the picture and the one next to that as well.

The new office in the house they bought in Trafalgar Villas on the opposite side of the road almost completed in 1958.

It was previously owned by the late Mr and Mrs Arthur.

View of the old office from the new one.

E.Troy also owned two of the houses in Great Union Rd at the side of this store

My dad Richard (Dick) in one of his lorries. This one is No 9 a Commer tipper he had two of this model and each lorry usually had its own driver. This one was driven by the late Bill Hobbs who lived just around the corner in Great Union Rd in the house that was previously owner by Edward their father. When I worked there after my father died I remember having to take over from Bill because as the steering was notoriously  heavy when fully loaded in these Commers his arms were not strong enough. He was sixty at the time and there was no power steering in those days.

I took these photos in 1958 with an old Kodak box camera at the age of 13

The original shop front was uncovered behind the boarding. My father  posing for me in front.

Richard and Frank as well as leasing more stores at 22 Albert St also rented an old mill in Grand Vaux from the Waterworks Company where they parked their lorries and stored logs etc. This was next door to the Nicolson Park Estate and in the 1960’s quite a bit of vandalism took place. It was a very cold damp place in winter and there was all sorts of problems starting the lorries in the mornings. It is now the Grand Vaux Community Centre built there. I remember my father allowing my second cousin John Marshall to remove a old Commer lorry  six cylinder engine whilst it was at the mill which I believe he fitted into his Humber Super Snipe car he was restoring, it was the same type of engine, must have been difficult. Wilden’s Garage in Devonshire Place used to look after the mechanical side then in later years Le Brocq’s Garage in Aquila Rd.

E. Troy had the contract to transport all the meat shipped to the island to the Abattoirs. The meat arrived in containers and the carcases had to be unloaded by hand . The container was just tired with rope and with the carcases hanging the lorry had to be driven with great care. At one stage there was opposition to coal lorries doing this in the local paper as some of the meat came on pallet boards loose on the lorries.

 

E. Troy had the contract for carting the sea gravel for the Waterworks Company for their filter beds. This entailed loading sea gravel by hand from Greve De Lecq beach. Also back in the fifties they did water deliveries to country and States houses who had run out of water. My oldest  brother Dick worked with dad and Frank then and it was his job to use a coal lorry with a tank fitted on the back to do this summer job.

E.Troy rented Fort Regent as a coal store till the early sixties. I've driven many a lorry through the narrow tunnel entrance, very tight.

A Fordson V7

Bedford, Austin and Commer.

OR

Morris commercial and Bedford

If you have any comments you would like to add about anything on this website please contact the website administrator.

 

 

 

maurice@troyfamily.co.uk

All loading was done by hand the hard way.

A little known fact is that Richard and Frank assisted their brothers and other members of the family financially and advisably over the years and were regarded as the back bone of the family.

Note. 

 

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Quote from:

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Delivering around St Helier was quite difficult and when bags fell off my lorry it was a right mess

All Edward and Sarah’s children including my father were born at 5, Albert St except Edward and William.

I took all these photos of the stores with our old family Kodak box camera using Ilford 127 B/W film.

When Edward died in 1924 two of the sons Richard ( my father) and Frank decided to continue the coal business started by their father in 1888. With the agreement of all the other brothers and sisters they bought their shares and the property left to them by their father( my father told me their brother Maurice gave his share to his brothers, tell why later). None of the others were interested in coming in with them at the time. Their partnership blossomed and they built up a formidable coal and haulage business with up to fourteen lorries equipment( coal escalators, log saws etc) properties and leased stores.

 

The were both very strong men and not to be messed with in fact all the brothers were tough. There was one occasion my father told me when Maurice overheard five or six men running the Troy's down in the Royal Hotel bar in David Place, he walked around to Albert St where three of his brothers happened to be (Richard, Frank and George) and told them. They all marched back went straight to the bar, tapped the men on the shoulders and asked if they would mind repeating what they had just been saying. Needless to say there was an immediate back down and apology. Frank on another occasion whilst delivering coal in Cannon St on his horse and cart had some verbal abuse for blocking the road as a well known large taxi driver of ill repute passed . Frank chased after him into Aquila Road pulled him off his trap and punched him to the floor. My father Richard also acted as doorman in his brother George's infamous club called “The Striped Monkey” in St Helier and passed on quite a few tips to me on how to survive if ever in a brawl. There are many stories I know, too many to mention here.  

Left: Two of my father’s horses named Jess and Bess pulling into their yard at the side of 5 Albert St. He told me it is an employee of his leading the first horse.

Right: From left to right are Richard ,my dad), Dick my brother, Eva my mum with Anne my sister then Aunty Nancy with Helen and Patrick my cousins and my Uncle Frank all relaxing on St Aubins beach just before the second world war. They remained partners all their lives wives and brothers..