But that’s enough about Bamfords. Enough has been written about them over the years. Let’s talk about the Boots.
Bill Boot was an early JCB employee, clocking on at the factory in Rocester, Staffordshire for the first time in 1949, just four years after the business began. And his wife Lucy worked in the JCB canteen.
In the years that followed, nine of Bill and Lucy’s 10 children went on to work at JCB – Tony, Dereck, Ken, Bob, Bill, Dennis, Les, Ron and Ruby – followed in the years to come by grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In total 27 Boot family members – including nine grandsons and three great-grandsons have followed in Bill’s footsteps – between them registering 600 years of combined service to JCB.
The legacy continues as 11 members of the family still work at JCB – including five of Bill’s grandsons and three of his great-grandsons.
Pictured above, marking their cumulative ‘600 years’ milestone are: (front row, left-to-right) Tina, Steven, Andrew and Joanne Boot; (back row left to right) Daniel Boot, Dave Stubbs, Gary, Colin, Mark, Alan and Shaun Boot.
Below is a Boot family photo taken in 1996, to mark 225 years of combined family service to the company. That is old Bill Boot right in the middle, with the flat cap on.
Bill’s son Bob, now aged 81 and living in Cheadle, Staffordshire, started work at JCB in 1956 on a temporary contract – and stayed for nearly 44 years. He says: “It is a company that has changed so much, but so many things have stayed the same. It may have factories in all four corners of the world but it is still based on the values that started it up in Staffordshire 75 years ago.”
Bill’s grandson Gary Boot, of Uttoxeter, is 58 and just retired in September this year, having started working for JCB in 1986. He says: “I always wanted to join from an early age. My dad Dereck would come home and tell us stories of the company and Mr JCB and that sparked my interest. I’ve made so many great friends and have so many memories of the place. It is amazing to think of how many years’ service our family has put in – 600, it’s astonishing.”
Gary’s identical twin brothers Andy and Steven both work at the World HQ in Rocester. Andy, 53, says: “I think how it is panned out over the generations has been brilliant. I joined in 1983 on a youth training scheme and haven’t looked back from there.”
The fourth generation of Boots working at JCB is made up of great-grandsons – brothers Shaun and Daniel Boot and their second cousin Leigh Boot. Shaun, of Denstone, who has worked for JCB for 20 years, says: “There is definitely something in the blood of the Boot family that makes us want to work at JCB. Knowing that dad, grandad and great grandad all worked here really does make me sit back and think. I’m really not sure what our family would have done for a living if it wasn’t for JCB. I have a six-year-old daughter and my brother Daniel has a six-year-old son. So, you never know, I wouldn’t be surprised if they decide to follow in the family tradition.”