Please enjoy reading our history of R.C.Pillar & Sons Ltd below. You can click on any of the smaller images to enlarge them.

R.C.Pillar & Sons Ltd was established by Richard Pillar, who lived at Castle House in South Town and operated out of Bayards Cove, which consisted of a small joinery workshop and a mason’s store.

   
Richard Pillar (centre)

The entrance to R.C.Pillars & Sons first yard was through the old castle. Once inside there was a concrete block maker and a large tank for storing lump lime which could be boiled with ox hair to form lime mortar. A small lean-to building served as a carpenter's workshop.

His son, Reginald took over the company in 1936. He served his apprenticeship under his father and was a qualified stonemason who was highly respected by his men. Reginald was very involved in the community and was warden at both St.Barnabas and St.Petrox church. He was later Chairman of the Hospital League of Friends and the president of the Dartmouth Rotary Club.

   
Richard Pillar (right) and his son Reginald

Reginald was an astute businessman and is remembered in particular as someone who could quickly reassure any customer who became anxious whilst alterations were being carried out on their home.

From its early days the Company had a 'Family' atmosphere and after the war all the young men who had left to fight, returned to the work that they had done previously. Most of the workforce was time-served and for instance, a carpenter had to serve a five-year apprenticeship and then a further six months 'improving' before becoming fully qualified. The outbreak of war in 1939 provided considerable work for the company to carry out as the town suffered quite considerable damage from German bombing raids. This led to the company rebuilding the Co-op, Rundles (which is now Duke's restaurant), Eastmans, The Midland bank and eight houses on the Milton Lane estate to name but a few . The workmen soon learnt to be flexible and versatile and were expected to undertake a variety of work. They maintained the town's drains, cleaned out septic tanks and swept chimneys.

In the 1940's and 1950's the company was also responsible for a number of tasks that have now been taken over by the Council and other public bodies. General repair work and maintenance was carried out at Dartmouth Castle repairing stone walls and guttering, before it was eventually taken over by English Heritage. In 1949 R.C. Pillar & Sons Ltd moved to a building in the centre of town called 'The Palladium' - an old electric theatre in Anzac Street. The old building was transformed into a joiners shop, masons store and paint department. All the building materials were stored there under the close supervision of the joiner.

 
The original silver screen in the Palladium          Renovated to the Pallladium Shopping Arcade in 1988

In 1961 Chris Pillar, Reginald’s youngest son, became the third generation of the family to manage the company. It was at this time that 'The Palladium' was becoming too small and restrictive so new offices were built directly opposite. The joiners shop moved up to the Townstall Industrial Estate. The old workshop was then transformed into a number of retail outlets, forming what is now known as 'The Palladium Shopping Arcade'.

The Palladium as our joiners workshop                Renovations being carried out                     New town house 'Elsley Cottage'

Also in 1961 the firm of R.C. Pillar & Sons became a limited company, and was involved in the construction of the Newcomen Engine House, the new Roman Catholic School at Milton Lane, the Keep Gardens Estate, Dartmouth Police Station, Churchill Court and large housing sites for the then Kingsbridge Rural Council at Loddiswell, Aveton Gifford and West Alvington.

 
Chris Pillar, the 3rd generation                                        Company Offices, Anzac Street
                           of the family to run the company

Chris was also responsible for the expansion of the company into haulage and plant hire and in the late 1960's the company's lorries were involved in the construction of the main A38 bypass and the 'new' road into Dartmouth.

 
The firms lorries working on the 'new road' into Dartmouth

 

Chris retired in 2000 and his eldest son, Jason, became the Managing Director after joining the family business in 1995. Jason obtained a degree in Building Management at Greenwich University before serving his apprenticeship with a national building company.

   
Jason Pillar, Managing Director

Over the past decade, the company has been fortunate to have been involved in carrying out significant renovation works to a number of prestigious properties in Dartmouth, Kingswear and the South Hams.

The company has also undertaken design and build contracts, most recently in Torquay where a large commercial office building was completed for Thomas Wescott which was finished ahead of the contract programme.

Although Jason and his staff relish the challenge of the large, sometimes bespoke projects, the company is keen to carry out minor repairs and maintenance work for its regular local customers.

Peter Caldwell joined the company in April 2014,as Office Manager. Peter will be delighted to assist you with any enquiries that you may have.

Mike Franks is the company Quantity Surveyor who has a wealth of knowledge and experience in his field.

Jason, Peter and Mike all work in the office at Anzac Street.

The joiners shop is situated at Collingwood Close on the Townstall Industrial Estate and is well equipped with the necessary wood working machines to carry out most aspects of joinery.

Above all the firm of R.C. Pillar & Sons Ltd is a family run business, one which strives to produce the highest standards of craftsmanship for their customers, of which both can be proud.

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