E R Longley Company History

E R Longley-Hydroworks Company Profile: Jeremy Crush

The business was founded by my late Grandfather Edgar Richard Longley in 1926 in Dover originally trading as an electrical contractor.

SHOPGrandfather’s trademark was a lighthouse with the slogan ‘Satisfaction Security’,  he commissioned a local blacksmith to construct a replica scaled lighthouse which took pride of place above the front door of his showrooms at Priory Place in Dover where my late Grandmother Silvia Isobel  Longley  robustly manned the shop counter while hammering  postage stamps onto envelopes with her fist, customers would approach at their peril, she could wither a grown man with a single stare! Having trained as a State Registered Nurse at the Westminster Hospital in London, fools were not suffered lightly, and we were regularly reminded that she had attended to King George and also she was born the same year as the Queen Mother. I remained terrified of her to her dying day.

George Cole as Arthur Daily could have been Grandfather’s double, the quick wit, suit, trilby, cigar and repertoire of disapproving grimaces. Whenever being slung out of a pub he would dismiss the incident with a surly shrug saying I’ve been thrown out of better places than this you know.  

inshop1Remarkably the lighthouse even survived Mr Hitler’s raids on the town without sustaining so much as a single scratch! To this day my company letterhead still bears the original lighthouse motif complete with Satisfaction and Security. However I have since dropped the reference to Contractor to the War Department and Dover Corporation. The typeset is a copy of Grandfather’s signature.

After numerous coats of paint through the years the lighthouse has now been ‘decommissioned’ and brought in from the elements to the more comfortable surroundings of the bar top at Cullins Yard Restaurant situated at the Marina in Dover Harbour.

The morning after I left school aged 15, armed with my one O Level, I went straight into the family business to train as an apprentice electrician forgoing my intention to become a blacksmith and farrier. The company by this time was being managed by my late mother Jill who with Grandfather and other family members had branched out into the water softening industry with the Lindsay range of softeners manufactured in Minnesota, America.

At the age of eighteen I was presented with the challenge of taking over the water softening side of the business, my mother having suddenly passed away. I remember my Grandfather commenting a few months later that I had come back up for air!
Time passed and I eventually took the position of Managing Director employing over 20 people while servicing the water softening division myself including delivering over 100 tons of salt per year!

In year 2002 I decided to wind down the electrical side of the business and concentrate on water softening and filtration having built a large customer base ranging from domestic installations through to large commercial installations including hotels, hospitals and cross channel ferries.

In 2006 I purchased Hydroworks, another water softener company and incorporated it into my business, hence the title E R Longley-Hydroworks.

inshop2As electrical contractors we worked on many diverse and interesting projects, notably the secret war- time tunnels beneath Dover Castle where the Dunkirk evacuation was masterminded, both on the original war-time project and many years later the re opening to the wartime-tunnels. We also under took work on the pylons behind the castle at RAF Swingate which latterly served as the four minute warning of nuclear attack during the Cold War. Hitler tried to bomb them convinced they were somehow helping us spot their aircraft in the dark,  presumably he didn’t believe the story about the carrots. They refused to budge anyway. I vividly remember as a 15 year old apprentice climbing them on open wooden ladders to a height of 280 feet. Health and Safety in those days simply meant you hung on for dear life. We were paid danger money at the rate of time and a third, a parachute would have been more appropriate!

I remember working late one night travelling to Zeebrugge, the softener plant was below the car deck in the bow of the ship, the sea was very rough, the steel watertight doors had to be closed behind me as usual so there was no easy escape. The bow flew up paused and then plummeted, crash landed and then…… up we went again for another go. All the way there and all the way back.
Deep joy! Stanley Unwin would have exclaimed. I did however manage to fix it!

Scope of Products and Services Provided:

Supply, installation and servicing of domestic and commercial water softeners, domestic water filter systems, point of use chillers, and de ionised water filter systems for dental surgeries and other critical applications.
Water softener and filter system rental option.

Towns and Villages Covered:

Alkham, Ashford, Addiscombe, Aylesford.

Broadstairs, Bridge, Brasted, Borough Green, Bexleyheath, Bexley, Blackheath, Bromley, Barming, Bearstead, Belvedere, Biggin Hill, Bickley, Beckenham, Beltinge.

Canterbury, Capel le ferne, Chilham, Chartham, Chatham, Cuxton, Charlton, Charing, Cobham, Croydon, Chislehurst, Crystal Palace.
Dover, Deal, Dartford, Downham, Densole, Denton.

Eynesford, Elham, East Farleigh, Eltham.

Farnborough, Folkestone, Farningham, Faversham.

Gillingham, Gravesend, Great Chart.

Hythe, Halstead, Higham, Hawkinge, Herne Bay, Herne, Hougham, Hook Green, Hayes.

Ightam, Ide Hill.

Kingsdown, Keston, Kidbrooke, Kennington, Kingsnorth.

Lydden, Lyminge, Longfield, Lewisham.

Mottingham, Margate, Meopham, Maidstone.

North Cray, New Eltham, Newington, Norwood.

Orpington, Otford, Old Wives Lees.

Platt, Plaxtol, Park Farm, Petts Wood.

Ramsgate, Rochester, Rainham, Ringwould, Riverhead.

Sandgate, Swingfield, Sellindge, Sheppy, Sittingbourne, Sandwich, Shorham, Shipbourne, Sevenoaks, Sidcup, Southborough, Shadoxhurst, Shortlands, Sundridge, St Margarets Bay, St Margarets at cliff.
 St Mary Cray, Shirley, South Norwood, Sydenham.

Tenterden, Twitton.

Wootton, Westerham, Wingham, Whitfield, Walmer, Welling, West Farleigh, West Wickham, Wllesborough, Walderslade, Whitstable,Warlingham.

Long Distance Customers:

Brandon, Suffolk – De ion filter system.

Penrith, Cumbria – De ion filter system.

Louis Drayfus Ferry /Singapore Technologies Marine Ltd – Consultancy, new ferry, softener plant specification.

Cross Channel Ferry Routes Travelled While Working On Softeners ( a strong stomach essential):

Dover/Calais, Dover/Boulogne, Dover/ Dunkirk , Dover/Zeebrugge, Portsmouth/Le Harve, Ramsgate/Ostende, plus Falmouth dry dock.


Dental Surgery Customer Locations (De ionised water filter systems):

Canterbury, Folkestone, Ashford, Maidstone, Margate, Broadstairs, Cliftonville
Westgate on sea, Birchington, Herne Bay, Faversham, Longfield, Sevenoaks, Tunbridge Wells, Bexhill on sea, Banstead, Kingston upon Thames ,Clapham Junction.