Yorkshire family window cleaning firm set up by pig farmer celebrates its 100th year in business

A family window cleaning business in Yorkshire which spans three generations celebrates its centenary this year.

J H Jepson and Son was started in 1921 by a pig farmer from Monk Fryston called John Henry Jepson and his brother Joe.

The business was successful and soon had a team of 14 working for it, cleaning windows all over Castleford and Pontefract and shops in the centre of Garforth.

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John’s son Maurice, now 79, said: “When I left school I wanted to be an accountant but dad got cancer and the doctors didn’t know how successful his treatment would be.

Mark and Maurice Jepson

“I cancelled my plans and came to work for the family business instead. Thankfully dad’s treatment was successful and he went on to live for another 30 years.”

Maurice took over the business when John retired and soon his son Mark was helping out in the school holidays, aged 14.

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Mark, 58, said: “In those days we used massive leather mops which weighed a ton and as a child I could barely wring them out. When squeegees came out it was much easier.”

He added: “We looked after a lot of commercial premises and we’d think nothing of cleaning a three-storey building from a ladder.”

Mark has found an old photograph of his granddad cleaning windows during the war with his grandma Ivy helping out.

And Maurice has a newspaper clipping from the early 60s when the Queen’s Supermarket first opened.

It shows him, aged 22, cleaning the windows from the roof while balancing on the window ledge.

Now they use a more modern wash and reach system which is much safer.

Always on the look out for a business opportunity, in the 1980s Maurice opened a video library in Normanton and a sunbed hire shop alongside his window cleaning business before retiring aged 60 and passing the business to Mark.