We are a family business which has been established on the same site in Norfolk since 1938.The owners are 8 sons of the founder, all being involved in the general day to day running of the business. We offer services to various sectors of the business and retail communities: AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY DEALERS: Supplying New and Used Tractors and Machinery Servicing and Spare Parts Franchises include JCB (Agricultural), McCormick, Welger, Vicon, Lely, Ferrag, Baileys, Standen Pearson,Stoll & Vogel & Noot.
In 1938 S.J.(Jimmy) Nicholson rented the cottage and blacksmiths workshop for
Ten Shillings (50p) per week, the Garage workshop and Forecourt now stand on
the site of the old blacksmiths shop. Jimmy had started in business on his own
account two years earlier as a Threshing Machine Contractor, operating a Ransomes
Steam Traction engine together with a Threshing Drum and Straw Pitcher, having
borrowed the initial deposit of £60 from a local smallholder. Over the next few years
a combination of hard work, enthusiasm and a desire of success the business
expanded to operate six threshing sets all driven by Steam Traction engines.
After the second world war farm mechanisation brought the demise of steam power
so in 1948 the old engines were sold together with much of the older machinery.
Tractors took over as the power source on farms and gradually through the 1950’s
combine harvesters took over the harvesting of the grain crops, forcing Jimmy to
move into more general farm contracting operations.
In 1957 a new enterprise was created, with planning permission granted to operate
a petrol filling station on the premises, this led ultimately to moving into motor car
repairs and sales of accessories.
The 60’s again provided expansion and opportunity to expand into new fields of
activities, with many farmers buying their own machinery demand for contracting
gradually diminished, SJN moved into the world of hydraulic excavator hire by
purchasing a Whitlock Digger, this soon increased that by the early 70’s a fleet of
over 20 machines with operators were contracted out to coincide with installation
of mains sewers and house building in the area, Bacton GasTerminal provided an
immense amount of work during this time.
During the 60’s and 70’s the premises were rebuilt in order to provide modern
facilities, adjacent land and a farmyard was also purchased to increase the total
premises to over 3 acres. The agricultural machinery sector had been created and
a totally new set of buildings and yard was built to split the business into separate
All the growth of the business during this period had coincided with the sons of the
founder joining father Jimmy, Malcolm the eldest had spent some time with a firm
of accountants and joined in 1957, initially to operate machinery but gradually took
over the administration and financial matters. Tony had served his apprenticeship
with an agricultural machinery company and brought in valuable knowledge of
farm machinery, John joined direct from school and served petrol for many years
and had a big input into the development of the motor services section. Roger after
working in a local store joined to look after the parts operation. During the next
few years the younger sons also joined the company, Henry after serving a parts
apprenticeship at a Norwich motor dealer, Alan direct from school, David after
working at a food processing plant and lastly Tim also joined direct from school.
The business moved forward by operating in three main sectors, Agricultural
machinery and services, New Car Sales and Motor services and Garden Machinery.
The original contracting and Plant Hire having now disappeared to almost nil by
the end of the 90’s.
It must be noted that as well as the eight sons of the founder being mentioned Jimmy
and wife Kathleen also had six daughters who in turn all have families and are all
working in their own business or chosen professions.
As an epitaph Jimmy Nicholson the founder died at the age of 82 in 1998 but not
before recording his memories in the form of two books both of which being local
best sellers namely ‘I kept a troshin’ and ‘More muck than Money’ which contain
many tales of his early business years and much about life in general.