HOME | ABOUT BRIDGEMAN CONCRETE
IN THE BEGINNING....
John Bridgeman returned to Hastings after leaving to study at Auckland and Victoria Universities. John then took up an apprenticeship with his fathers building firm. He qualified as a carpenter, and most of that time was taken up working on the Waipukurau Hospital, a four-storey reinforced concrete building. There were about 2000 cubic yards of concrete required, and John Bridgeman said it was all mixed by hand on site and wheel-barrowed to where it had to be poured without the aid of a crane.
Soon after his apprenticeship, John branched out in business on his own, building many houses in Hastings and gaining contracts to build temporary housing for Power projects in Turangi and New Plymouth.
A line-up of some of the old Ready Mix Ltd trucks
Early years loading on-site from a mobile plant
Frustrations caused by delays of getting concrete on to building sites - as building firms moved away from on-site mixing to ready-mixed concrete brought from a central plant - prompted John Bridgeman to establish his own plant.
Hastings Ready Mix Ltd was set up in Omahu Rd in 1967, a forerunner to Bridgeman Concrete.
Loading cement bags at the same mobile plant
THE EARLY YEARS....
Bridgeman Concrete Ltd has moved several times since it was first set up as Hastings Ready Mix Ltd on part of the Post Office lines depot site to supply concrete for that project.
The company’s Managing Director, John Bridgeman, was a builder employing 80 or 90 carpenters in 1967 when he decided to establish his own ready mix concrete plant.
Two mixer-truck units were initially operated by the company, which moved later in the year to a site in Omahu Road. At this time bagged cement was still being used.
A second move was made about 18 months later to the site owned by P. J. Bridgeman, after a huge amount of concrete had been mixed for the grandstand built by his fathers firm at the Tomoana showgrounds.
LESS BUILDING EMPHASIS
The accent of John Bridgeman’s work was by that time moving more to the concreting business as it expanded, with less emphasis on his building firm.
On the site owned by P. J. Bridgeman, the company acquired its first bulk cement silo, with a capacity of 15 tonnes.
However, soon afterward, with an expanding fleet and larger trucks carrying bulk cement, the silo proved inadequate and the company bought a bulk cement storage plant at Awatoto from Wilsons Cement company.
The Awatoto silos were too big to transport out of the district, but were moved to the current Bridgeman Concrete Hastings site in Omahu Rd, to provide storage capacity of 200 tonnes of cement.
Many of the first trucks required some re-painting. This particular truck became number 10 in the fleet. The bowl and chassis were hand-painted by brush by Keith Watts at the Hastings plant.
Keith is still driving for Bridgeman Concrete Hastings today.
We will be revealing more of the Bridgeman Concrete story throughout 2017, visit us again soon to find out more.