MANCHESTER, UK — HMG Paints Chairman Brian Falder died Sept. 19, 2019, at the age of 88. He was a man whose entire lifetime was interwoven inextricably with the paint industry. Falder was born in 1931 to Herbert and Ellen Falder. Just seven months before his birth his father founded H Marcel Guest Ltd. (HMG) with a partner, and by the time of Brian’s birth his father had taken over the struggling and fledgling company in its entirety.
At the age of 14, Falder left school to work on for the company. His family life was shaped by paint. When he met his wife of 65 years, Beryl, he discovered that she worked for Sterling Varnish in Trafford Park. He commented, “A girl in the paint industry? … I had better marry you!”
Falder strongly believed that work and life must be in balance. An iron rule at HMG is that everyone goes home at 5.00 p.m. For over 20 years he funded personally a non-contributory pension scheme for his team, so that when they retired, HMG employees had “a bit extra.”
He planted the first new trees in Collyhurst for over 100 years in the 1960s, believing that even this rather neglected part of Manchester “could look like the Lake District if we all do our bit.”
It was source of immense pride to Falder that both his sons, John and Stephen, chose to build careers with the company. They now have over 40 years at the family business and are building on their father’s values and passion for paint.
Falder’s last visit to his beloved factory was just a few days before he died, where he inspected a Keenok single roll mill that he had originally bought in 1949. He was as sharp as ever, remembering every detail with complete clarity. The mill, he was told, was “coming home” to HMG to be lovingly restored and placed at the heart of the company he had built and shaped. Once the Keenok is fully restored and in the center of HMG, his sons are going to have his name engraved on it along with the epitaph “si monumentum requiris, circumspice” — if you seek his monument look around you.
Falder was laid to rest on Oct. 4, 2019, exactly 89 years to the day that HMG Paints was founded — a final touch that he would certainly have approved of.