The Early Years
Sir William Haughey
Despite his multi-millionaire status, Sir William Haughey has never lost touch with his roots. So much so that City Refrigeration’s new £23 million headquarters, opened by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009, is located in the heart of the old Gorbals on a site where his childhood home once stood and where he grew up with his two brothers and sister.
Sir William had been reluctant to move from his old HQ in Rutherglen, but his company was in the path of the M74 extension and if he had to move, the Gorbals seemed the next best choice.
The site offered by Scottish Enterprise had lain derelict for over 20 years and it was only when he visited the site, he realised it was the location of his childhood home.
He still marvels at the amazing co-incidence and chuckles at the thought that a streetwise kid from the Gorbals is now running his worldwide empire from his old backyard!
“There were only two ways of making money in the Gorbals – stealing it or working for it”
The link couldn’t be more appropriate. Because it was in that very backyard, in one of Glasgow’s poorest post-war districts, that Sir William first dared to dream about going into business. At the tender age of seven, he came to the rather mature conclusion that there were only two ways of making money in the Gorbals – stealing it or working for it.
Sir William Haughey's Business Beginnings
He was absolutely positive he didn’t want to go down the first route, and although a little young to start working, he persuaded his parents to let him take a milk round after his eighth birthday. Unhampered by the health and safety legislation and child labour laws of today, the young entrepreneur was born.
Delivering milk kept him in pocket money during the second half of his primary school years at St Francis and later at Holyrood Secondary. It also sustained him for a time after he left school when he combined his milk round with being a telegram boy (in those pre-email days) before finally landing an apprenticeship with local firm Turner Refrigeration.
Working with Turner Refrigeration while attending day release classes at Springburn College, allowed the young William Haughey to hone the engineering skills that would later be the key to unlocking his future – and his fortune with the roaring success of City Refrigeration.