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Mr Patton

Building a business is hard work, if a satisfying achievement. Harold Patton and his family have had to do it twice, though he admits that it was easier the second time around.

On 17th March 2007 Patton Eng (Patton Hire Centre) celebrated its 40th Anniversary.

Harold was born into a family of 10 in Greencastle, Belfast, not far from his current Head Office. He joined Universal Electric Company in 1943 as an apprentice. “In those days there was nothing thrown away, for the replacements were simply unobtainable”, not like today. From there he went on to work for a number of local company’s.

On St Patrick’s Day (March 17) 1967, Patton Engineering opened for business in a converted house in Hamilton Street, paying a rent of £ 3 per week. The work was mainly electrical repairs to power tools and was enough to keep him very busy. Mrs Patton would often join Harold into the small hours, washing components while he assembled the repaired appliances, and their daughters would take over the counter after school.

In those days small plant hire was unknown in Northern Ireland. One of his first agencies was from Swiss power tool manufactures “Perles.” Harold soon noticed that customers frequently asked to borrow or hire tools while theirs were in for repair. Harold built Kango Hammers from second hand parts and would hire them out for £ 2 per week. That was the start of his hire business.

In 1975 the company soon outgrew its premises and moved to new premises in Glengall Street, Belfast. However, in 1978 during the troubles in Northern Ireland, the building was set ablaze by two “grille bombs”. Mr Patton does not fully know the extent of his loss, but he suffered a great financial loss. Among the offers of help was one of temporary premises at Shore Road. Harold went straight to the site and bought it and soon the business was back up and running and he has never looked back.

The secret of success in the hire industry, he says is to have a wide range of top class equipment and consumables in stock all the time.

Mr & Mrs Patton have now retired. The business is currently being managed by Harold Junior, his wife Roisin and Robert Fitzpatrick (Director).

Patton Engineering (Patton Hire Centre) is still operating out of the premises on the Shore Road which was bought in 1978 and have also expanded to open a depot in Lisburn.

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Last Updated: 19/11/2010
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