Five generations of Fawley

Many people say that their workplace is like a second home, but few can mean it as much as the Sellwood family.

Five generations of Fawley
Image Left to right: Jamie Sellwood and Mark Sellwood

Left to right: Jamie Sellwood and Mark Sellwood

Many people say that their workplace is like a second home, but few can mean it as much as the Sellwood family.

For Process Operator Jamie Sellwood’s family have had a close connection with the ExxonMobil Fawley site for five generations.

Jamie’s dad Mark is a Projects Manager, while his grandad Ted Sellwood spent all his working days as a Process Operator – the job Jamie now does – retiring in 2003 after more than 30 years’ service.

Ted’s two uncles Donald and Kenneth Smith both completed apprenticeships at the site and went on to other jobs, while their dad, Charles Smith, Jamie’s great, great grandfather started working on the Cadland Estate, on which ExxonMobil Fawley was built, after he returned from fighting in WW1.

The Smith family lived in Kennels Corner Cottage (a former gate house) on the site, and one of Charles’ children was born in the cottage, as were Ted and his sister, so he has a closer connection than anyone.

In 1921, part of the estate was occupied by the Atlantic Gulf and West Indies Petroleum Company, and Charles worked with that company for a period. Work on “the new Esso Refinery” where he went on to work, started in 1949.

 “Our family connection with the site goes back around a century, so it has played a very big part in all of our lives,” explained Mark.

“Ironically my dad started his career here in 1970 on the same area of the site as Jamie is now working.

“Although my dad originally wanted me to find my own way rather than follow him, he was very proud when I got an apprenticeship with the company. Likewise, I was pleased when Jamie came to work here.”

But working at ExxonMobil Fawley was not something Jamie originally set out to do.

“My background was in the military and I served with the Navy and the Royal Marines for eight years,” he said.

“I then moved to Australia with my partner and set up my own landscaping business before coming back here.

“We were just about to head back across the world to New Zealand, when my dad said they were looking for people at Fawley.

“I thought it was worth looking into and got a job here four years ago. I have never regretted it because it is a great job.

“Charlotte and I now have our two sons, Ezra and our recent arrival, Hudson, so we plan to be here for a long time!"

“Who knows, my sons may go on to work here and I think I would be quite happy about that.

“I grew up with my grandad and my dad working here but when I found out that so many generations of our family had worked here before me, I felt an even stronger connection.”