Collier Row family business reflects on 70 years of recycling scrap metal

PUBLISHED: 13:00 27 June 2018

Joe Wakefield at Crow Metals. Photo: Ken Mears.

Joe Wakefield at Crow Metals. Photo: Ken Mears.


A Collier Row family business that has been running for more than 70 years reflected on how the scrap metal recycling business has changed over time.

Joe Wakefield at Crow Metals. Photo: Ken Mears.Joe Wakefield at Crow Metals. Photo: Ken Mears.

Joe Wakefield is a fourth generation scrap metal merchant, as it was his father’s grandfather who first started Crow Metals.

He told the Recorder: “I left school on a Thursday when I was 15 and went straight into the family business the day after.

“The scrap metal industry has definitely changed as the quality of the metal has gone down.

“The things that we were manufacturing 20 years ago are of completely different builds.

Crow Metals in Crow Lane was established as a family business in 1943 in Dagenham.

William Wakefield senior began the business after an injured back from the Dunkirk evacuation in the Second World War caused him to leave the army.

Working from a horse and cart at The Limes in Beacontree Heath, Dagenham, he began his role as a traditional scrap metal and rag merchant.

The business continued to grow until 1960 when the company moved to a site in Romford.

“We now live in a throw away society,” Joe added.

“Crow Metals is able to recycle the goods people throw away and allow those materials to be used again.

“So it’s really important that we’re able to recycle our waste in an efficient manner.”

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