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James White Comben and William Henry Wakeling founded Comben & Wakeling Ltd. The company was incorporated in England as a private company on 19th April 1924. The partnership originated at Mortlake but expanded to Wembley at the time when Wembley was still a village. The company was responsible for much of the development within the area. In 1936 The Wembley News described them as, ‘pioneers’ for they built working class people’s houses which were so cheaply priced that the occupants could buy them on low weekly repayments. This scheme is now widespread They introduced bathrooms into working class dwellings and laid the seeds of a ‘Garden City’, this aspect gave Wembley one of it’s greatest assets in the forty years
before the second world war. The company was responsible for planting over half a million shrubs and ten thousand trees. Over the years the company’s activities extended into Ealing, Finchley, Harrow, Ruislip, Northwood and Bushey
On February 25th. 1964, the company was converted into a public company with a workforce numbering five hundred and ninety. Five hundred and ten were manual workers, the remainder being supervisory and administrative staff.

The partners not only helped to build Wembley physically but also played a part in the administrative

development of the town. James Comben was elected a councillor and became chairman of the former Wembley Urban District Council.
     In 1930 he became founder President of the Wembley Rotary Club and was also the original Chairman of Wembley Hospital Board of Management. Mr. William Wakeling was also a Rotarian, and the second chairman of Wembley Hospital. Later, James Comben’s eldest son Horace, became President of the Wembley Rotary Club.

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