The name London Rail Recruitment tells you pretty much all you need to know about the company that bears it. Jean Chapman, who had previously worked in her husband’s signal installation business, formed LRR in 2005.
Peter and his two partners formed Signalling Installation & Maintenance Services back in 1997. The company was, and still is, a success, with a multimillion pound turnover. Peter resigned in 2005, but he is still the largest single shareholder.
“Peter and I met in 1999 and I became SIMS’s office manager in 2001, learning a lot about the London Underground rail industry. I had our daughter in 2003 but continued to do the accounts for the company. When Peter resigned, I left too and so found myself without a job.
“When I spoke to Peter in October 2005 about forming a recruitment company, he wasn’t really interested in becoming involved – although he later became my resource consultant. I went ahead and started working from the office in the house. I got my first recruit on board that November, and the second in January 2006. In 2006 I also launched a web site for the company. The site now gets over 40,000 hits per month.”
The desire to own a private car registration was seeded in Jean’s mind by a conversation with a friend and neighbour named Arthur.
“I was cleaning my car one day, and chatting with Arthur. He has a personal number plate on his car and he asked me when I was going to get one. I just said, ‘One day, Arthur’.”
Arthur clearly considered finding a plate for Jean to be something of a mission, and he went off to do a little research about what might be available.
Jean explains: “Later that afternoon Arthur put a note though our door saying that he couldn’t find a registration with J for Jean, but he had seen C1 LRR – C for Chapman, my surname, and LRR for London Rail Recruitment, my company. He had mocked up a picture of the plate on a Peugeot 207 the same colour as mine. When I showed Peter what Arthur had done he laughed, but he said that I didn’t need a new number plate.”
Jean and Arthur were not so easily deterred, and their crusade continued. The next step was for Arthur to create another of his composite photos, this time featuring Peter’s 5 Series BMW bearing the registration C2 LRR. As before, this was posted through the Chapmans’ letterbox. A day later another picture arrived.
Arthur had worked his magic on the Chapmans’ work van using the number C3 LRR.
“Arthur and I had quite a laugh about it, and I told him that he was going to get me in trouble at this rate, and cost Peter a lot of money.
“While I was in the office the following week I found some time and went onto the Regtransfers website. Before long I found C1 to C4 LRR. Peter was in the office that day, so I asked him if I could have all four of them. Peter replied that if I did have them then that would be my birthday and Christmas presents rolled into one. After a bit of negotiation, he compromised and agreed to it just being my birthday present.
“As I explained it to him at the time, C4 LRR would be a spare for in case we got another car – but in my heart I knew it was going to be for the BMW Z4 that I had always wanted!”
Sure enough, three weeks later, Jean took a Z4 for a test drive. Shortly afterwards she phoned Peter to tell him that she had bought one.
Thanks to Jean’s determination and Arthur’s ingenuity, Jean and Peter now own four very good, themed plates, which look terrific on their vehicles, while promoting Jean’s business at the same time.