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Many of the quaint little shops and houses beloved of Charles Dickens, among them the old shop on the corner, were no more. The historic Surrey Chapel of diverse uses, build for Rowland Hill in 1783, the year of Haywards' foundation, was totally destroyed. Shelley's house in nearby Nelson Square looked out upon an acre of debris.
    The internal structure of the firm had changed little during the war. W. F. Coughin, who had joined the firm in 1926 as a technician in the Roofing Department and had been closely associated with the contracts for Bailey Bridge components and their fulfillment, was appointed a director in 1943; otherwise apart from those absent on war service the company retained its identity.
    For six long years, the workers had carried on in the face of affliction, each one playing his or her part in that great story written during those dark days-- the story of the British character which had triumphed in the face of the enemy and against all reason. There was nothing very remarkable in that; it had happened before; more important, the struggle was over.
    Just before the war ended, the failing health of Mr. Gray caused him to retire. The war had imposed a great strain upon a man of his advancing years just as it had upon his fellow director, Mr. Pittar. Both had shouldered additional burdens at an age when most men hope to lay them down. Within a few months of each other, they were both dead. Mr. Coughin now combined the duties of director and secretary as Mr. Gray had done.
    Obviously the elaborate machinery brought into being over six years' comprehensive war production could not be dismantled except with the greatest care. Works recovery was therefore unavoidably slow. To a company depending to such a large extent upon the building trade, it would have seemed that there would be limitless demands. There were. But materials were the main difficulty and regulations ran them a close second. It will be seen below how the company adjusted itself to the changing conditions of the slow post-war recovery, and how it has in the process developed in scope and influence.