A fire which destroyed many hundreds of pounds' worth of moulding patterns occurred in 1907, which greatly handicapped the supplying of replacement castings for some years, but the loss was made good eventually, and modious stores were created in place of those destroyed. Until 1921 all the St. Just Foundry premises were held on leases depending for their determination upon a series of "lives," which had been renewed from time to time, but opportunity presenting itself in the above mentioned year, the freehold was purchased.

A pleasing characteristic of the firm is its custom of retaining the services of some who, after serving their apprenticeship had been kept on as journeymen and had never worked anywhere else in their lives. Men once engaged on the Staff have every prospect of permanent employment unless they prove themselves quite unfit, or of their own free will wish to transfer their labour. That such conditions should prevail speaks well, in these days of industrial unrest, both for the men and their employers, and it would be well if the happy relations which exist between workshop and office in the case of N. Holman and Sons, Ltd. applied more generally throughout the country.

During the last few years of severe industrial depression St. Just had suffered acutely. For a while no mines were working in the neighbourhood at all, and the chief source of prosperity dried up completely. In the circumstances, aggravated as they were by the general stagnation of trade, the managers were compelled to put the workers at this branch on short time. Local conditions were reminiscent of the period of mining depression of many years previously, but without the opportunities that then existed of finding employment overseas. There was, however, unemployment insurance to assist those who found no demand for their services, and in due course improvement in the price of tin resulted in some resumption of mining activity and a brighter outlook. During this time of depression, the St Just managers sought and secured all the work they were able to, and kept the works in readiness to do anything that came in, so that a general stoppage was successfully avoided and the record of continuity and adaptation to varying external circumstances that this article outlines was maintained unbroken.

Quite early the firm's career a branch was established in Penzance where a large agricultural business was built up. It is worth recording that the first iron plough ever used in West Cornwall was made in the new works. There were a few of these locally made ploughs still in use in the 1940s, and fittings were occasionally asked for, the most frequent enquiry coming from the Isles of Scilly. Although centralized implement manufacturers had captured this trade, many farm implements were still made at the Penzance works, and the machines bearing the Holman name had achieved a first-class reputation for durability and efficiency. The works were situated near to the Gasworks on leasehold property, at time when the sea washed its walls before the Wharf Road and Rosses' Bridge were built-. They covered a site once used as a shipbuilding yard. The new premises comprised a Foundry, Smith Shop, Fitting Shop and Stores. With a harbour frontage it was only natural that following the intrusion of the Engineer into Marine matters, the coining of iron vessels, and especially with the advent of steam ships, a new avenue was opened for the firm's activities; but as the machining of much of the work was too heavy for the plant installed at Penzance, it often had to be sent to the St Just Works, which occasioned delays, and the need of further extension became urgent.

In the meantime, the town of Penzance was rapidly growing, and many new streets, were being built which provided the firm with an outlet for its energies in making of gates and fences, both of wrought and cast iron, to separate the gardens from the pavements, and it would be no exaggeration to say that miles of such railings in the residential streets were made and fixed by the firm.

In 1893, the Borough Arms Foundry, which had been established in 1772, came into the market, and the freehold, good-will and plant were purchased, and the company found itself possessed of a main Street premises at 100 Market Jew Street Penzance. The foundry part of these works had been discontinued for many years, but the machine and fitting-shop had been developed, and so a long-felt want satisfied.
With the possession of a shopfront a new departure became a necessity, so in addition to being manufacturers, N. Holman & Sons became retailers. After a few years this retail department resolved itself into bicycle agency and repairing depot with ironmongery and farmers' small tools. The cycle repairs were first done in the fitting shop by the engineering staff, but the mechanism of cycle co-construction became more intricate, and the business increased, it was found necessary set apart a special shop and to employ trained cycle fitters to carry on the work.

A hundred years ago cycle parts had not become standardized, and many fittings were turned out and machined and fitted on the spot, and the making of replacements for worn or broken parts required a skill the present day mass-production has rendered unnecessary. Indeed, the repair of cycles to-day is so simple that owners often carry out fitting of ordinary replacements themselves, and the cycle repairing business amounts to very little.

The extensive use of the more intricate motor cycle, however, made demands on the technical ability of the staff, and the services rendered in this direction were considerable.

It didn't take long discover that two trades like farmer’s ironmongery and bicycles were so foreign to each other that separate premises were needed. A suitable opportunity for further expansion occurred when the Jubilee Hall adjoining No. 100, Market Jew Street was offered by auction. It was true it was a leasehold property, but, with about 80 years to run, it was as good as freehold for at least two generations, and so the remainder of the lease was purchased and the Hall converted into Ironmongery, Implements, and Tool department, it also served as a Show Room for some of the firm's productions.

Seven years after the purchase the Borough Arms Foundry, part of the premises at the rear, which one time had been a garden, but then had become more or less a refuse dump, was built over, the area being added the workshops, and the old partitions between them reconstructed. By this means the ground floor of the factory was nearly doubled in size, to the great convenience of the workers carrying out their tasks. At the same time, part of the new buildings was given a second storey which was employed as a Cycle Show Room capable of placing on exhibition up to fifty or sixty machines. There also emerged out of these alterations a plumbers' shop on the ground floor so that these tradesmen, who hitherto had shared the cycle repair shop, had a home of their own. It was now felt that the foundations for growing business in the front street had been provided for, we will leave the Manager there get on with the job and turn our attention once more to the old Foundry on the Wharf.
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