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Reunion time for the "Ruympsters"

PUBLISHED: 08:30 13 April 2012

First reunion for workers of Ruymp Builders Merchants at the Oaklands Hotel, Thorpe St Andrew. Roy Bartram pictured, front.Photo: Steve Adams

First reunion for workers of Ruymp Builders Merchants at the Oaklands Hotel, Thorpe St Andrew. Roy Bartram pictured, front.Photo: Steve Adams

The Ruymps reunion reunited the men and women proud to work for the Norwich firm with roots stretching back to 1795.

The first reunion for one of the great Norwich companies – builders’ merchants Ruymp – was a night to remember for the former workers.

Around 100 ex-employees and their partners gathered for a meal at the Oaklands Hotel on Yarmouth Road, for a special meal and a get together organised by former “ruympsters” Eddie Balls and Roy Bartram.

They had spent months trying to track down men and women who worked at Ruymps, the builder’s merchants and its associated companies over the years.

“It really was a happy family firm where people tended to stay. It provided a service. It always responded to the needs of its customers,” said former director Roy Bartram, who spent 25 years at Ruymps.

“The company trained so well in various fields and many of us left to run our own firms or set up our own businesses,” he added.

The roots of the firm go back to 1795 and by 1801 James Rump – the way the name was spelt was changed later – of Old Catton set up as a builder, carpenter and joiner in St Stephen’s while Robert Rump was a pump maker.

During the 19th century the business boomed and moved to Chalk Hill Terrace, Thorpe Hamlet, and had a big business in what became known as Ruymps Hole before it moved to other premises and the “hole” became The Nest – home to Norwich City FC.

They were the DIY shopping experience of the day and they even bought and sold houses along with selling you everything you need to build a house.

Ruymps was at the forefront of the building bonanza in the 1920s when big housing estates were being built on the outskirts of Norwich.

Eventually the company moved to new premises on Weston Road. There were various mergers and today it is Keyline, part of the highly-respected Travis Perkins company. “Many of the people at the reunion worked for Ruymps during the 1960s and into the 70s and it was so good to see so many old friends again. This really was a much-loved family firm,” said Roy.

Among those at the dinner was Dianna Dewing, widow of the late Bob Dewing one of the directors.

“I told her the evening was a testament to the way her husband and others looked after their staff over the years,” added Roy.

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