Suffolk builder and renovation specialist Emmerson meets TV dragon

Suffolk businessman Emmerson Marshall-Critchley met with TV `dragon' entrepreneur Peter Jones, at th

Suffolk businessman Emmerson Marshall-Critchley met with TV `dragon' entrepreneur Peter Jones, at the finals of the Sage Ambition competition. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk entrepreneur Emmerson is named a nantional finalist in the Sage Ambition competition.

Businessman Emmerson Marshall-Critchley, right, with carpenter Matt Rivers at a refurbishment projec

Businessman Emmerson Marshall-Critchley, right, with carpenter Matt Rivers at a refurbishment project in Hargrave, Suffolk - Credit: Archant

Suffolk businessman Emmerson Marshall-Critchley was a finalist in the national Sage Ambition Competition, and was invited to attend the final in London.

There he met one of his business heroes, entrepreneur Peter Jones, of TV Dragons’ Den fame, in what was an invitation-only event.

Emmerson,35, who lives in Sudbury with his partner Adele and his family, began his specialist building firm almost five years ago.

Emmerson Critchley Ltd is based at Woolpit and offers traditional building services for listed and period buildings, including timber-framed and heritage properties.

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It is a growing business and reaches across East Anglia where there are many buildings needing specialist treatment, not just those that are listed.

Many historic properties need careful and expert restoration.

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That’s where his company fits in.

The Suffolk businessman only discovered he was a finalist after he was anonymously entered for the competition,

At the finals he met Peter Jones, who is a Sage Ambition Ambassor.

Mr Marshall-Critchley said: “He is a bit of a hero of mine.

“We have similar backgrounds. I am determined to succeed and I am willing to work hard, and long hours, to get to where I want to be, Even if it takes a lot of strength and determination.”

His company is working with a property owners across East Anglia on renovation, and also new build projects using traditional methods.

“For a period property we might use lime-based render which is right,” he said.

I met up with him at Hargrave, in West Suffolk, where his company is doing some restoration and refurbishment of a flint and brick cottage, dating from the 1500s.

Here a main beam was being replaced and a new feature wall created, using green oak - and replacement flints found in the garden.

Emmerson left school without formal qualifications, and temporary work in building l in his holidays, lead to a permanent job.

Working in building he discovered his love for historic buildings, and developing his workworking and restoration skills.

His dad, Johh, is a carpenter/joiner who works for him now.

Emmerson said: “I enjoy building. There is a special pleasure in seeing something done right. People seemed to like what I was doing.

“Over time, I was working for a company, and I thought I would get out and work for myself.

“I have always been ambitious.

“I love timber and period properties and I developed a reputation for restoratioan work.”

His business is developing year, on year.

“We have between 25 and 35 men on the books at any one time,” he said.

“Half of our customers like to get involved themselves. At Long Stratton we had to supply seven/ten tonnes of daub.

“The owner learned how to do it.

“We need to pass on these traditional skills.”

“We have four apprentices and we hope to take on more.”

In addition to his building company he is also co-founder of a scaffolding firm.

And, in a complete change of direction, he has his own fashion brand and is planning to open a specialist shop later the year.

True to form, he is renovating a shop building in Woodbridge, for the purpose.

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