Christmas History at JFW Ltd

Share this article

It’s that time of the year again, that most wonderful time as they say, it’s been a very busy year for us I’m very proud of all the lads and what has been achieved over these past 12 months, but that is for another blog. I’ll do a year in review in the next couple of weeks.

Christmas in the construction industry is how it should be (ridiculous rushes and deadlines aside) Everyone shuts down, a week or two of holiday, none of this back between Christmas and New Year nonsense, which in my humble opinion should be banned! Anyway, you’re not here for my opinions….. I want to talk about Christmas cards, I wrote a similar blog a few years ago but the website was hacked and all the images unfortunately deleted, I spent a few hours in the van yesterday with no radio and my thoughts ran to Christmas cards of old, so I’d like to pay tribute to them again and the family friend that drew them.

When John first started out he used some very nice pencil drawings for Christmas cards, thanking the customers of the year and wishing them a merry Christmas.

The Noel Ford years

In the 70’s John commissioned a graphic design company to produce some letter heads, business cards etc for the business.  That company comprised of 3 guys, one being Noel Ford.  Noel was a cartoonist who was doing some graphic design work as a sideline to his passion of cartoons.  This passion drove him to become an extremely successful artist, producing work for Punch Magazine and Church Times and many other publications.  He also wrote and illustrated children’s books.  Noel was a pioneer in his field in the new digital age, being one of the first remote workers, producing art and sending it around the word to various publications.  So we have been extremely lucky to have this great man, a man at the top of his game, produce some real special Christmas cards for us!

The Bar Fitting Years

For a time one of the companies biggest source of work was bar manufacture and fitting, we still do the odd one or two now and again but back in the day they were a major part of our work. Noel’s cartoons reflect this time perfectly with humour and links to traditional Christmas tales.

The Personal Touch

It is no real secret that John was reluctant to spend money, mainly because times were hard, but being such great friends Noel was able to portray this trait perfectly in a jovial way. I am proud to say that Dad’s thriftiness has rubbed off on me in some ways…….

Christmas 21st Anniversary

The following two were used in 1986 and 1987 the years that myself and Matthew were born. I feel mine was an extremely accurate prediction as I am pretty untidy and can’t spell all that well……

The Export Years

The company enjoyed great success exporting our product overseas to Scandinavia, the middle east and other countries around the world.  I mention Scandinavia in particular as it is widely believed that Santa Clause comes from Lapland.  Noel used this perfectly to his advantage for a stream of excellent Christmas cards!  The one with dad in the sleigh was always my favourite!


50th Anniversary

I asked Noel if he would produce a Christmas card for our 50th anniversary in 2019, he agreed and was delighted to be involved.  However it was with great sadness that Noel fell ill and sadly passed away in September of 2019.  A real loss to Church times where he was producing work for right up to the end and of course his work for children’s books.  He leaves behind his wonderful wife Margaret and amazing Daughter Sara.

Noel was a great family friend and I have very fond memories of visiting the Ford household around Christmas time and being amazed at all his computer gear.  He once drew me as James Bond, which made my life!  I still have the picture to this day and cherish it.  I used to look forward to the new Christmas card every year, mainly to colour in a drawing of my dad, but as I got older I understood the jokes and loved every single one of them.   He will be greatly missed and it is such a shame that we didn’t get one last piece of art to add to our long standing wonderful collection.

Go well.

I hope you enjoyed this display of cards from our history, I’d love to hear which is your favourite.

We’ve got another week of Christmas rush here but for now, enjoy the festive time on the build up, try and relax where you can and have one for me!




Tags: Christmas
2023 – A Year In Review: Manufacturing and installing bespoke fitted furniture nationwide.
Building of Coventry City Centre Nativity Crib