20 Aug 2014

The Legacy

by Paul Johnson

The business was established in 1937 and has throughout been independent.


In April 1937 my great grandfather William Montague Johnson purchased the timber yard in Deddington. William thought that there was trouble brewing in Europe and that timber would become a valuable commodity. As it turns out he was right, in part, and World War II began in Europe in 1939.

Unfortunately, for William, timber became a rationed item and supply was restricted to £ 1 of timber per man per month. If you were a builder and employed five men (including yourself) you could have £ 5 of timber per month.

Four of William’s five sons went to serve their country during the war, one of which was my grandfather, Robert Richard Johnson. A manger was employed, Jack Wagstaff, to run the timber yard during the war whilst William focused on his interest in another business, R. J. Johnsons in Oxford but that’s a different story.

During the war, in 1941, there was a huge fire in the timber yard. There is great article about this at Deddington Online, click here.

After their duty to their country was complete William’s sons returned home. Two of William’s sons, one being my grand-father, worked briefly at the timber yard in Deddington before going to work at the family’s other business in Oxford. The business was left in the capable management of Jack Wagstaff whilst they overlooked from Oxford.


In November 1971, my father, Derek Johnson joined the business. Jack Wagstaff retired in 1975 and Derek took over the running of the company.

By now the business had grown. The company began to sell a range of building materials becoming a timber and builders merchant supplying both the trade and DIY.

I joined the business in April 1988. My brother, Andrew Johnson, joined in  May 1998. Andrew and I now are now the fourth generation of Johnsons to run the business. We are supported by an excellent and loyal team of staff who always go the extra mile for our customers. Without the support of all our staff, past and present, the business would not be what it is today.


There are very few companies that remain under the control of a single family for such a long period of time. We remain determinedly independent with the goal of leaving the business in the capable hands of the next generation in due course.

Andrew and I are both very proud of the company’s heritage and continued residency in the heart of Deddington. We are honoured to have been given the opportunity to continue the legacy of Johnsons of Deddington.

  • timberyard
  • deddington
  • diy
  • trade
  • buildingmaterials
  • timber
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