Married 40 years to Maureen, with 1 son Paul 6 Company Directorships Held (1971-2013)
Joined the WCHCD 09-05-1997 Master 2011-2012
After leaving school at fifteen I joined my Grandfather’s taxi fleet business in Hackney, E A Crouch Ltd, which was set up a year before, where my Father and Uncle also worked. My family had a history of working in the cab trade going back to my Great Grandfather who in 1881 was a Hansom Cab driver, and my Grandfather, Father, Uncle and Cousin all passed the Knowledge.
After five years of gaining the experience of running a taxi fleet operation with mechanical and bodyshops along with the office duties, my Grandfather said I should obtain a cab licence so as to understand both sides of the business. As I was working full time in a 7 day a week, 24 hour business I signed-on for a suburban badge which I obtained when I was 21. This was also a great experience of independence and I enjoyed understanding how our drivers earnt their living. I also, through evening classes, qualified as a Driving Instructor as at work I ran a PSV Driving School to teach knowledge students to pass the driving test at the PCO.
Sadly, my Grandfather passed away aged 64 (the year I got my badge) leaving us to carry on the business, with my Uncle as Managing Director. I had new challenges ahead as we went through some dramatic changes. In 1985 we merged with N&A Taxis becoming Nelson Crouch Ltd in Richmond Road, Hackney, giving us a fleet of 270 cabs. We ran the fleet from Richmond Road as this was the larger garage and I ran the Owner-Driver service and repairs from our Westgate Street garage where in addition we were the Sales and Warranty operation for Rebuilt Taxis Ltd. We also launched Taxitronic Ltd (Taximeter company.) I had become a member of the LMCPA (London Motor Cab Proprietors’ Association) of which I was elected as Chairman for a few years which also meant sitting on the Taxi Board which gave access to Politicians to further the trade’s concerns.
Six years later we merged again with Caledonian Garage in North London to become The Taxi Group Ltd. During this time, we became the only Metrocab Main Dealer for Sales and Warranty in London which I operated from the Westgate Street premises. Four years on was to be our last merger with Stewarts Garages Ltd in West London which then totalled around 400 cabs. This was to be the biggest challenge for me as a decision had been made between shareholders to sell the whole Company to The Hansom Group PLC (a newly formed Alternative Investment Market Company). So, for the first time in my life, I had to reapply for my job! Shortly after the sale to Hansom Group my Uncle, Terry Ames, passed away. This was a far a cry from the family business I had joined many years before.
During the next few years, the business had been consolidated to just the two garages, I had to work from both East London and West London garages. The new shareholders of the Hansom Group were not satisfied with their investment and wanted to sell their shares, I had been given the task of finding a new buyer for the company and in the meantime the Directors of Hansom Group were making redundancies. I convinced them to close the West London garage and consolidate the fleet to Richmond Road. This is when my wife and I came to a decision to raise the money to buy the company. Which we did in 1999. After leaving university my son Paul joined the business making us once again a family business, after 14 years we sold the business and have now retired.
As a member of the Worshipful Company I have made many friends and happy memories, the experience of becoming Master far exceeds expectations I would have thought possible, I urge all members to aspire to become Master of the WCHCD.