One of three sons of John McCarthy in McCarthy & Stone, building was in the blood.
“My brother Clinton and I both left school without any qualifications. The head of year told my dad ‘Your sons, academically, won’t come too much. Send them off to become apprentice bricklayers.’ But my father was a carpenter so we followed in his footsteps and went to Southampton Tech to learn carpentry.”
They were put to work on site, building their skills from the muddy footings up. There was never any question of an easy ride. “My father had come up through the ranks and wasn’t about to allow his sons to swan their way through the business.”
McCarthy returned to the Tech for an HND in Building Studies and moved into quantity surveying, land buying and sales and marketing. But eventually he and his brother left McCarthy & Stone. “It was a big organisation with a lot of politics and the nepotism aspect was always going to come into it.”
They found a plot, a £65,000 bank loan – and then further good luck arrived on four wheels.
“On the day we put up the for-sale board someone drove by and stopped to ask about it. We told him we were building a