- Date1874 - 1893
- CreatorGEC Traction LimitedGEC Traction (GECT) was formed in 1972 as part of the GEC Power Engineering Group following earlier amalgamations of the traction divisions of the General Electric Company (GEC), the English Electric Company (EE) and Associated Electrical Industries (AEI). A wholly owned subsidiary company of GEC, the company had offices and works, located at Trafford Park in Manchester, at Strand Road in Preston, and at Attercliffe Common, Sheffield. The headquarters of GEC Traction was Trafford Park, Manchester (previously the headquarters of English Electric-AEI Traction) with design of rotating machines at Preston and Sheffield, and manufacturing activities for control equipment at Manchester and Preston. GEC Traction designed and manufactured a full range of traction machines and control equipment for electric vehicles, including electric locomotives and multiple unit trains for main-line and mass-transit railway systems (dc up to 3,000 volts, and ac up to 50,000 volts), diesel-electric locomotives and trains, mining and industrial locomotives, tramcars and trolleybuses. GEC Traction was the leading supplier of traction equipment in the UK and had a wide market around the world, particularly in South Africa, Australasia, Hong Kong, South Korea, South America and Pakistan. In 1979 the Industrial Locomotive Division of the former English Electric which was based at Vulcan Works, Newton-le-Willows was merged into GEC Traction, which later became a separate company, GEC Industrial Locomotives Ltd. During the late 1980s and 1990s the firm underwent major rationalisation, involving closure of several sites including Attercliffe Common in Sheffield in 1985 and the company’s headquarters at Trafford Park in Manchester in 1998. The company name GEC Traction endured until a merger with the French Alsthom group in 1989, which created GEC Alsthom Traction, which was still a branch of the main company GEC Alsthom.
English Electric Company LimitedThe English Electric Company was formed on 14th December 1918 and over the following year acquired Dick, Kerr & Company of Preston, Willans & Robinson of Rugby, the Phoenix Dynamo Manufacturing Company of Bradford, and Coventry Ordnance Works. After the war the various German owned Siemens works were distributed to different UK companies and in November 1919 English Electric acquired the Siemens Brothers Dynamo Works at Stafford, which became the company headquarters in 1931. Coventry Ordnance, primary output naval guns, did not feature in the gradual product rationalisation which took place between the wars. Willans, Rugby specialised in prime movers, steam, hydro and internal combustion, Stafford on power station and distribution electrics, including transformers and large electric machines for applications such as mining and steel works. Preston continued building equipment and vehicles for bus, tram and railway applications with Phoenix Bradford concentrating on medium and small electrical machines. Involvement with aircraft continued on a small scale. By 1929 the company was in financial trouble and an American syndicate fronted by Lazard Bros. put in new capital. In 1930 Westinghouse, Pittsburgh entered into an agreement with the company for the exchange of technical information related to steam turbines and electrical apparatus, this cooperation continued into the 1950’s. 1930 also saw the closure of Preston West works and the transfer of traction electrical design and manufacture to Phoenix Bradford. Westinghouse influence included top management changes with Sir H Mensforth becoming chairman and George Nelson managing director, both had been with British Westinghouse at Trafford Park. The early thirties saw a remarkable improvement in the company’s finances and domestic appliance manufacture was started at Bradford and Stafford. In 1936 they began production of diesel locomotives at Preston and were later involved in the production of the Deltic locomotive for British Rail, presaging the end of steam traction in the UK. Extensive shadow factory building for war production commenced in the late 1930’s, including at Preston East works and Salmesbury for aircraft production and at East Lancashire Road, Liverpool for D. Napier aero engines. A large variety of military equipment built during the war included thousands of Cromwell tanks from Stafford and over 3000 Handley Page Hampden and Halifax bombers from Preston/ Salmesbury. After the war the new factories were put to good use with many smaller products from Bradford and Stafford moved to the large Liverpool works. This included electrical distribution transformers, switchgear, fuse gear, fractional horsepower motors and domestic appliances. Napier’s continued engine manufacture there with the development of the ’Deltic’ diesel engine, mainly for marine applications. The nearby Netherton works took over the manufacture of large hydro-electric turbines and generators from Willans and Stafford. In 1942 English Electric acquired D. Napier & Son Ltd and Marconi in 1946. The company went on to extend their railway interests with the acquisition of Vulcan Foundry and Robert Stephenson and Hawthorn Ltd in 1955. The company tried to take over The General Electric Company (GEC) in 1960, but failed. Traction manufacture, (but not the offices) moved back to East works at Preston and ‘K’, ‘RK’ and ‘V’ engine design and manufacture moved from Willans to West works which was now also used for locomotive building. Kidsgrove works, Stafford made industrial controls and for a while was a major player in the UK computer industry, merging with Leo Computers and then into ICL. Train performance calculations were an early user of the mid-fifties ‘Deuce’ computer. Preston also became a major player in the aircraft industry taking over the wartime RAF/USAF base at Warton aerodrome - major design and manufacture contracts included Canberra bombers and Lightning fighters. Rationalisation in the 1960’s resulted in English Electric Aviation becoming 40% of the new British Aircraft Corporation. In 1961 English Electric took over Dorman Diesels Ltd which in turn had acquired W. G. Bagnall Ltd. In 1966 English Electric Diesels merged with Ruston and Hornsby which already included Paxmans. This company eventually became GEC Diesels. Elliott Automation was acquired in 1967. The following year GEC took over English Electric, ending its independent existence.
AEI Traction DivisionIn 1959 Associated Electrical Industries (AEI) created a self-contained company named AEI Traction Division to control the railway activities of both Metropolitan Vickers Electrical Company Ltd and British Thomson-Houston (BTH). Included in this company were the interests of the Metropolitan-Vickers General Railway Signal Co., (later to become GEC General Railway Signal). The newly formed company established its headquarters, at Trafford Park, Manchester, and operated from three other sites, Attercliffe Common in Sheffield, Rugby Works, and Stockton Works supplying traction motors, machines, control gear and mechanical parts of locomotives. AEI Traction Limited’s product range encompassed electric and diesel-electric locomotives; electrical equipment for tramcars, trolley buses, trolley mining locomotives, traction motors and gears. In 1969 AEI Traction Division merged with English Electric Traction to form English Electric-AEI Traction Division.
Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co LtdMetropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co Ltd was the new trading name given to British Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Co on 8 September 1919. The predecessor company had sold its controlling share to the Metropolitan Carriage Wagon Co in 1916 in order to gain membership of the Federation of British Industries. In 1919, Vickers acquired the Metropolitan Carriage Wagon Co, along with its controlling share in British Westinghouse, prompting the change in name to Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co Ltd. The American owned British Westinghouse had established its English operations at Trafford Park in 1899, and Metropolitan-Vickers continued on the same site from 8 September 1919. The company was initially known for its electricity generators, later diversifying into the manufacture of steam turbines, switchgear, transformers, electronics and railway traction equipment. The passing of the Electricity (Supply) Act in 1926 provided a boost to Metropolitan-Vickers' post-war fortunes, with the creation of the National Grid generating demand for the company's products. In 1928, Metropolitan-Vickers merged with its rival British Thomson Houston, retaining both names for trading purposes. The following year, on 4 January 1929, Associated Electrical Industries Ltd (AEI) acquired Metropolitan-Vickers and British Thomson Houston. Again, both trading names were retained and a fierce rivalry was established between the firms which the parent company was unable to control. In 1931, Sir Felix Pole joined Metropolitan-Vickers as its new chairman. He oversaw a period of expansion for the company leading into the Second World War. In 1939, seeking a more concise name for the company, the Board of Directors decided upon Metrovicks, which became interchangeable with the official company name of Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co Ltd. Under Sir Felix Pole's chairmanship, Metropolitan-Vickers developed new products for the aviation industry and during the war was one of the sites where Lancaster bombers were built. In 1941, the company developed the first British axial-flow jet engine, the Metrovick F.2. Following the Second World War, the company appointed Oliver Lyttelton as chairman, with the aim of increasing the efficiency and productivity of AEI. Despite his success in achieving this aim, Lyttelton was unable to resolve the commercial rivalry between Metropolitan-Vickers and British Thomson Houston. During his second period as chairman, from 1954-1963, Lyttelton, now Lord Chandos, oversaw the development by Metropolitan-Vickers of the first commercial transistor computer, the Metrovick 950. Chandos also resolved to extinguish the competition and internal divisions between Metropolitan-Vickers and British Thomson Houston, and both company names ceased to be used from 1 January 1960, with all subsidiaries going on to trade under the AEI name.
Vulcan Foundry Ltd, locomotive buildersThe Vulcan Foundry was originally opened in 1830 at Newton-le-Willows, as Charles Tayleur and Company. It initially produced girders for bridges, switches and crossings, and other ironwork following the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. Robert Stephenson became a partner in 1832, and in the same year, the first locomotives ‘Tayleur’ and ‘Stephenson’ were delivered to the North Union Railway. By 1840 locomotives had been delivered to five European countries and to North America. The company became The Vulcan Foundry Company in 1847 and acquired limited liability in 1864. From the beginning of 1898, the name changed again to The Vulcan Foundry Limited, dropping the word 'company.' Vulcan locomotives were exported all over the world, with the first locomotives for Russia and Japan supplied in 1837 and 1871 respectively and a long association with India began in 1852. First World War production included shells, gun mountings and mine sweeping equipment. The first non-steam locomotive, an electric, was produced for India in 1929. The first diesel locomotive design commenced in 1932/33 and an agreement was reached with A/S Frichs in Denmark. The English Electric 6K engine was used from this time. The “Waltzing Matilda” tank was developed in 1938 and produced in large numbers and over five hundred ‘Austerity’ steam locomotives were produced for the War Department. Other wartime production included gun mountings and torpedo parts. In 1944 Vulcan acquired the locomotive business, Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns Ltd, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In 1946 the company began working with the English Electric Company producing diesel and electric locomotives and became part of the English Electric Group in 1955. All locomotive building from Preston was transferred to Vulcan Foundry and Robert Stephenson’s in Darlington. Under the new ownership, the works produced many locomotives for both domestic and foreign railways, notably the Deltic. The mid-sixties saw the ‘RK’/’V’ engine production at Preston moved to Vulcan and Ruston & Hornsby Ltd merged with English Electric Diesels in 1966. After the General Electric Company plc (GEC) takeover in 1968 the Ruston name was used for some time inside what became GEC Diesels Ltd in 1975. Engine production and development continued for locomotive, industrial and marine applications until after the GEC-Alsthom merger in 1989. The company took over Mirlees Engines, Stockport in 1997 and was renamed Alstom Engines Ltd.
Wormald International LtdFormerly known as Wormald Brothers Industries Ltd, Wormald International Ltd was incorporated in 1972. Located in Australia, the company is a manufacturer of fire protection systems and products. In 1976 Wormald acquires Mather and Platt, the company which had created Wormald nearly 100 years before. In 1978 Wormald acquires Ansul. In 1990 German fire protection leaders Total Walther Feuerschutz, is acquired by the company. Wormald International Limited, grown by acquisition into a US $1 billion contractor, was bought by Tyco International in 1990. As a result, operations are extended to the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. Wormald is still trading under its company name under the umbrella of Tyco International.
Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns Ltd, locomotive manufacturersIn 1937 Robert Stephenson & Co. Ltd purchased the locomotive department of R & W Hawthorn Leslie & Co. Ltd. They became Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns Ltd. The policy was to concentrate the building of main line locomotives at Robert Stephenson’s Darlington works and industrial locomotives at Forth Banks. In 1944 Vulcan Foundry acquired Robert Stephenson and Hawthorn Ltd, ending the Hawthorn’s 137 year connection with Forth Banks. In 1955 Vulcan Foundry became full members of the English Electric group of companies, which became part of the GEC group of companies in 1968.
WG Bagnall Ltd, locomotive engineersWG Bagnall Ltd was established as a locomotive manufacturer in 1875 by William Gordon Bagnall in Stafford at what became the Castle Engine Works. Bagnalls first locomotive was produced in 1876, the company going on to produce machines for collieries and overseas plantations. The majority of the products that were manufactured were small four and six-coupled steam locomotives for industrial use, the company were noted for building steam and diesel locomotives in standard and narrow gauges. In 1891 Ernest Edwin Baguley joined the company, he left in 1902 to start his own business. Bagnalls introduced several novel type of locomotive valve gear including the Bagnall-Price and the Baguley. They also used marine (circular) fireboxes on narrow gauge engines, a design that was cheap but needed a different firing technique. Some of the designs of Kerr, Stuart and Co were brought to Bagnalls when they employed William Sydney Edwards, the Chief Draughtsman of Kerr Stuart and Co. Examples of such locomotives can be seen on the Sittingbourne and Kemsley Light Railway. In addition to locomotives, Bagnalls constructed rolling stock and trackwork enabling the complete equipping of light railways. In 1933 Bagnalls entered into an agreement with Deutz of Germany to manufacture their locomotives under licence using engines imported from Germany. In 1948 WG Bagnall Ltd was sold to the Bridge and Steelwork Company, Heenan and Froude, whose owner also owned The Brush Electrical Engineering Co Ltd of Loughborough and in 1951, Bagnalls formed an association with Brush to create Brush-Bagnall Traction Ltd. This association only lasted two years. Heenan and Froude sold Bagnalls to W H Dorman & Co in 1959 in exchange for Dorman ‘A’ shares.
General Electric Company plc, manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipmentThe General Electric Company (GEC) was created as the General Electric Apparatus Company in 1886 by Hugo Hirst and Gustav Byng from a small electrical business established in London by Byng (Gustav Binswanger and Company, using Byng's original name). In 1887 GEC published the first electrical catalogue of its kind. The following year the company acquired its first factory in Manchester where telephones, electric bells, ceiling roses and switches were manufactured. In 1889, the General Electric Co. Ltd. was formed as a private limited company and moved to larger premises at 71, Queen Victoria Street. Now known also as G.E.C., the company was expanding rapidly, opening new branches and factories. Initially manufacture was focussed on electric bells and light fittings, but this expanded to a wide range of electrical equipment - resulting in the firm's slogan 'Everything Electrical'. In 1893, GEC decided to invest in lamp manufacture. The resulting company, (to become Osram in 1909), was to lead the way in lamp design and the burgeoning demand for electric lighting was to make GEC's fortune. In 1900, GEC was incorporated as a public limited company, The General Electric Company (1900) Ltd, (the '1900' was dropped three years later). In 1902, GEC's first purpose-built factory, the Witton Engineering Works was opened near Birmingham which designed and manufactured electrical equipment and machines. Rapidly growing private and commercial use of electricity ensured buoyant demand and the company expanded both at home and overseas, with the establishment of agencies in Europe, Japan, Australia, South Africa and India and a substantial export trade to South America. The outbreak of the First World War transformed GEC into a major player in the electrical industry with profits to match. The company was heavily involved in the war effort, with products such as radios, signalling lamps and arc-lamp carbons. Between the wars, GEC expanded to become an international corporation and a national institution. The take-over of Fraser and Chalmers in 1918 took GEC into heavy engineering and consolidated their claim to supply 'Everything Electrical'. Other major factories included Osram Lamps at Hammersmith and the telephone works in Coventry. During the 1920s, the company was heavily involved in the creation of the UK national grid. In addition, the opening of the new purpose built company headquarters in Kingsway, London in 1921, and the pioneering industrial research laboratories at Wembley in 1923, were symbolic of the continuing expansion of both GEC and the electrical industry. The company took over several companies in the Birmingham area and elsewhere. After being a minor player in tram equipment, the company entered the heavy rail electric traction market in the 1920’s and 30’s. During the Second World War, GEC was a major supplier to the military of electrical and engineering products. Significant contributions to the war effort included the development of the cavity magnetron for radar, advances in communications technology and the on-going mass production of lamps and lighting equipment. After the war the company continued in the full range of electrical equipment from electronics to atomic power stations, but was not very profitable. In 1961, after a failed takeover bid from the English Electric Company, GEC took over Radio and Allied Industries, a small but very profitable television set manufacturer. Michael Sobell and Arnold Weinstock from this company became GEC directors with a substantial shareholding. Weinstock became managing director in 1963 and undertook drastic changes to make the company more profitable. The rail traction operations were closed and the heavy electrical/ power station businesses were sold to Parsons. A number of ex GEC employees were recruited by Associated Electrical Industries (AEI). A hostile takeover bid was made for AEI in 1967 and the relative profitability/share prices enabled GEC to take over the much larger AEI. In 1968 English Electric agreed to merge with GEC. Further takeovers and mergers made the company one of the largest private employers in the UK. In 1989, Arnold Weinstock agreed a merger between the power and transport businesses of GEC and those of Alsthom of France, part of Compagnie Générale d’Electricité (CGE) to form GEC Alsthom. While Weinstock was in charge the UK arm, the company continued to prosper, but after his death of his son in 1996 he was asked to retire and most of the company’s operations were transferred to France, or were sold off. Small sales and service operations remain for some of the products. Many of the factories have been demolished, with only Stafford continuing on a moderate scale.
GEC Transportation Projects LtdGEC Transportation Projects Ltd., (GEC-TPL) was established in 1974 and was based at St Albans and Borehamwood, Hertfordshire. It specialised in the design, execution and management of major railway and mass transit electrification projects around the world. In 1981 GEC-TPL was transferred to Trafford Park in Manchester took over residual responsibility for vehicle design from GEC Traction, e.g. British Railways Class 91s and locomotive equipment design, e.g., British Railways Class 90s. GEC-TPL project managed 406 track kilometres of electrification in Taiwan in 1984. It involved the design, supply and installation of equipment including catenary, substations, telecommunications, locomotives and multiple units. The company also supplied the 134, 3-car trains and project managed the equipment of Lines 3 and 4 of Seoul Metropolitan Subway Corporation. Closer to home, GEC-TPL was the project management company for Phase 1 of the Docklands Light Railway and the Manchester ‘Metrolink’ and supplied the initial vehicles for both systems. In 1987, GEC-TPL contracted to supply the body mounted power equipment for the initial build of Trans Manche Super Trains, later known as ‘Eurostars’, the bar car mechanical parts for which were supplied by its long term partner Metropolitan Cammell which later became part of GEC-TPL in 1989. In 1989, GEC Transportation Projects Ltd became part of the joint company, GEC Alsthom Transportation Projects Ltd., when GEC and Alsthom of France, part of Compagnie Générale d’Electricité (CGE) formed GEC Alsthom. The combined company acquired Metropolitan Cammell at this time. (Alsthom’s name had earlier been derived from ‘Alsace Thomson-Houston’, thereby revealing its earlier parentage from Thomson-Houston of America, as also had the British Thomson-Houston Co., of Rugby, another GEC constituent). In 1998 the company formally changed its name to ALSTOM.
GEC Alsthom LimitedIn 1988 a joint-venture was formed between the General Electric Company (GEC) with Compagnie Générale d’Electricité (CGE) that led to the establishment of an Anglo-French company, GEC Alsthom in 1989. This company encompassed the Power Generation and Transmission, Rail Transport (25%) businesses from the constituent companies of GEC and CGE. The GEC Alsthom company headquarters were based at Rugby, Warwickshire and the headquarters for Transport were based at Trafford Park in Manchester. GEC Alsthom purchased train builder Metro-Cammell based at Washwood Heath, Birmingham from the Laird Group in 1989, bringing into the group a company which had a long association with GEC Traction and its predecessors as a vehicle builder. In 1998 GEC Alsthom was re-formed and became Alstom with Transport / Alstom Transport one of its major divisions.
English Electric-AEI Traction LimitedThe General Electric Company (GEC) merged AEI Traction Division and English Electric Traction in 1969 after acquiring both companies to create English Electric – AEI Traction Limited. The headquarters were located at Trafford Park in Manchester. This subsidiary company was renamed GEC Traction Limited in 1972.
Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage & Wagon Co Ltd, railway carriage and rolling stock manufacturersIn 1929 Vickers Ltd and Cammell Laird merged their rolling stock activities in a new company, the Metropolitan-Cammell Carriage, Wagon and Finance Company Ltd with Vickers and Cammell Laird each holding 50% of the shares of the new company. Following the Second World War, the company manufactured carriages for the railways of the world, including UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brazil, Jamaica, and Egypt. In addition, the company manufactured mineral wagons, diesel multiple units and locomotives. However, over this period of sustained high output, international industrial development together with reductions in home market demand as orders were fulfilled, led to the necessity to reduce capacity and in 1962 the Saltley Works were closed and eventually the whole enterprise was concentrated at the Midland Works offices at Leigh Road, Washwood Heath. In the 1970s Metro-Cammell specialised in the design and construction of rapid transit vehicles for customers such as London Underground, Tyne and Wear Metro, Hong Kong Mass Transit Corporation and the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation. They also built Maglev vehicles for Birmingham Airport, diesel multiple units for BR and Mk IV coaches for BR. In May 1989 the Laird Group sold their transportation interests to GEC Alsthom and Metro-Cammell became part of the new Anglo-French Power Generation and Transportation Group. This led to involvement in the construction of the Eurostar trains for the Channel Tunnel project. The name Metro Cammell disappeared forever in 1998 when the owners floated the company under the name Alstom.
Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd, aircraft and armaments manufacturers, shipbuilders and engineersIn 1928 Vickers Ltd merged with the greater part of the company Armstrong-Whitworth of Newcastle to form Vickers-Armstrongs Ltd. The two companies had developed along similar lines, expanded into various military sectors and produced a whole suite of military products. In 1928 a merger of companies in the steel industry was announced, involving parts of Vickers, Vickers-Armstrongs and Cammell, Laird and Co to form the English Steel Corporation. Vickers-Armstrongs was involved heavily in the rearmament programme in the lead up to the Second World War, during which time the company played the major role in rearming the British Army. During the war the company moved its head office to Bathwick Hill, Bath, the head office returned to Westminster in 1945, remaining there until moving to Millbank Tower in 1963. After the war the company had four main areas of manufacture: aircraft, steel, shipbuilding and general engineering. Post-war, Vickers was responsible for the production of the first British nuclear submarine, the first British V-bomber and the Viscount and VC10 airliners. In 1960 the aircraft interests were merged with those of Bristol, English Electric and Hunting Aircraft to form the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC). This was owned by Vickers, English Electric and Bristol. Under the terms of the 1977 Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Act BAC was nationalised to become part of British Aerospace which was later privatised and became BAE Systems.
Baguley-Drewry Ltd, manufacturers of railcars and locomotivesOn 18th December 1966 E. E. Baguley and the Drewry Car Co Ltd amalgamated and the company named changed to Baguley-Drewry on the 1st June 1967. The company was located in Burton-on-Trent and manufactured a variety of railcars and railway locomotives between 1911 and 1984. The company was sold to Baguley (Engineers) Ltd on 1st December 1986.
R & W Hawthorn, Leslie & Co Ltd, ship and engine builders, locomotive engineersIn 1886 R and W Hawthorn was amalgamated with the shipbuilding company of Andrew Leslie, thus becoming R and W Hawthorn Leslie & Co. Ltd. In 1937 Robert Stephenson & Co. Ltd purchased the locomotive department of R & W Hawthorn Leslie & Co. Ltd. They became Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns Ltd.
British Timken LtdAmerican firm Timken created the subsidiary company British Timken in 1937 situated in Birmingham. The company were makers of tapered roller, parallel roller and ball bearings. In 1941 works were built at Duston in Northampton to produce roller bearings for the automotive industry, exporting up to 70% of its production to Continental Europe. In 2002 the Duston factory was closed with production moving to Poland.
GEC Industrial Locomotives LtdIn 1979 the Industrial Locomotive Division of the former English Electric Company which was based at Vulcan Works, Newton-le-Willows was merged into GEC Traction, it later became a separate company, GEC Industrial Locomotives Ltd.
E E Baguley LtdE E Baguley Ltd was founded in 1932 of Uxbridge Street, Burton-on-Trent, to continue the work of the earlier firm Baguley Engineers Ltd in 1931. Most of the earlier output of the firm was under the Drewry name with the headquarters at River Place, London E.C.2, and the variable link with Drewry is frequently confusing, as many "Drewry of London" vehicles were actually built at Baguley’s in Burton. On 18th December 1966 E. E. Baguley and the Drewry Car Co Ltd amalgamated and the company named changed to Baguley-Drewry on the 1st June 1967
Drewry Car Co Ltd, manufacturers of railcars and locomotivesThe Drewry Car Co Ltd was registered on 27 November 1906 in London located at Herne Hill Works and relocated to new works at Somerset Road, Teddington from 1907-1908. In 1911 a working agreement was made between Baguley-Cars Ltd (1911) with the Drewry Car Company Ltd. for the manufacture of internal combustion engine railcars. From 1930 a lot of Drewry locomotives were built by English Electric companies. In 1961 the company manufactured railway vehicles, specialising in diesel operated rail traction cars. In 1962 Drewry acquired a controlling interest in what had become E E Baguley Ltd, and formed Baguley-Drewry Ltd in 1987, once again building its own locomotives, in Burton-on-Trent.
G. D. Peters & CoG. D. Peters & Co., Limited was founded in 1869 by William McLaren and Lindsey Byron Peters and manufactured rolling stock supplies, such as railway brakes, locomotive super-heaters, steam-heating equipment, carriage, locomotive and wagon fittings and furnishing for government and railway contractors. The company’s Windsor works was located in Slough, Buckinghamshire. In 1909 G. D. Peters & Co., became a private company and on 1st October 1917 G. D. Peters & Co., Limited became a public company. G. D. Peters supplied stock to India, South Africa and Argentina. During the First World War, the company placed their works at the disposal of the government and were employed in the manufacture of munitions. The company had to acquire additional land on which to erect new buildings and to increase their plant in order to meet the requirements of the Government. During the Second World War the company manufactured parts for the De Havilland Mosquito. In 1961 the company manufactured transport seating and blinds, automatic couplers, castings and suppliers of hardboard and pagwood and were agents and distributors for "Permadeck" flooring for use on rail transport vehicles.
Andrew Barclay Sons & Co Ltd, locomotive builders and mechanical engineersIn 1892 Andrew Barclay Sons & Co. located in Kilmarnock, Scotland took on limited liability as Andrew Barclay Sons & Co Ltd. In 1930, the company took over the business of John Cochrane (Barrhead) Ltd, engine makers, and in 1963 it acquired the goodwill of the North British Locomotive Co Ltd, Glasgow. In 1972 it was acquired by the Hunslet Group of companies, engineers of Leeds, England, and its name was changed in 1989 to Hunslet-Barclay Ltd.
Davey, Paxman & Co Ltd, boiler makers and diesel engine builders, Colchester
Ruston & Hornsby Ltd, agricultural and general engineers, engine builders and boilermakersIn 1918, two prominent firms R Hornsby & Sons Ltd of Grantham (1828) and Ruston, Proctor & Co Ltd of Lincoln (1889) merged to form Ruston & Hornsby Ltd. The company made a wide range of agricultural machinery and steam, oil and gas engines. The company diversified into excavating machines, cranes, and steam locomotives, but still had substantial agricultural engineering interests in 1918. Ruston largely moved out of the agricultural machinery market in 1919, when it transferred its agricultural interests to have a controlling interest in Ransomes, Sims & Jeffries Ltd. However, it still produced agricultural machinery at its Grantham works and attempted post-war diversification in the form of the motor car, furniture, and petrol-driven tractors. In 1940, Ruston & Hornsby purchased Davey Paxman & Co (Colchester) to form the Ruston – Paxman Group. In 1962 Ruston & Hornsby purchased the Birmingham firm of Alfred Wiseman & Co Ltd., gear specialists and maker of industrial locomotive and marine gear boxes. Some of the Wiseman design and production was transferred to R&H’s Grantham factory. However the Grantham factory was closed shortly afterwards, in 1963. In November 1966, the English Electric Co Ltd acquired Ruston & Hornsby Ltd which formed part of English Electric Diesels Ltd in January 1968 which headed the production of Dorman, Kelvin, Ruston, Paxman, Napier and English Electric diesels.
Beyer, Peacock & Co LtdIn 1854, Charles Frederick Beyer and Richard Peacock founded Beyer, Peacock & Co, a mechanical engineering company. Their works were at Gorton, east of Manchester. A legal partnership was formed between Charles Frederick Beyer, Richard Peacock, and Henry Robertson, a sleeping partner which took effect from 1 January 1855. In the early days of the company it was the partners who managed the affairs of the company. Beyer acted as Chief Engineer with control over the Drawing Office and Works, Peacock as Commercial Manager handled the commercial side of the business, and Robertson acted as Financial Advisor. Under the Chief Engineer were the Chief Draughtsman and the Works Manager. An accountant was also employed. In July 1855 the first locomotive engine left Gorton. It was made for the Great Western Railway Company and was used on the Paddington to Oxford route. Between 1854 and 1868 Beyer, Peacock built 844 locomotives, of which 476 were exported. The company sold mainly to the colonies, South Africa and South America, but never broke into the North American market. In 1883 the company was incorporated as a private limited company and renamed Beyer, Peacock & Co Ltd, with registered offices at 34 Victoria Street, Westminster. In 1902 the company became a public limited company, Beyer, Peacock & Co (1902) Ltd. (The (1902) was dropped the following year). In 1908 the registered offices were moved to Gorton and the new London office was at 14 Victoria Street, Westminster. In 1919 the London offices were given up and then in 1923 new premises were acquired at Abbey House, London. During WWII the registed offices were moved to Flore Manor in Northamptonshire. In 1956 the London offices of the company were moved from Abbey House to Locomotive House, Buckingham Gate. One of Beyer, Peacock's most successful locomotives was an articulated locomotive called the Garratt. Its designer, H. W. Garratt, had a wide knowledge of locomotive design and construction from his work in various countries including Argentina and Cuba. In 1908 Garratt was granted a patent. Beyer, Peacock had sole rights of manufacture in Britain. In 1928 the patents ran out and the company began to use the name Beyer-Garratt to distinguish their locomotives. During WWI Beyer, Peacock began to manufactire artilliery and in August 1915 Gorton Works was put under Government control with production switching almost entirely to the war effort, especially heavy field artilliery. During WWII the company was again brought under government control but continued to build locomotives throughout the war. Beyer, Peacock was faced with competition from tramways and electric railways. They began to look for alternatives so that they were not dependent on one product. In 1932 they acquired Richard Garratt Engineering Works Ltd who made steam traction engines, steam road lorries, and agricultural equipment. In 1949 Metropolitan-Vickers, Beyer, Peacock Ltd was formed which was jointly owned by Metropolitan Vickers and Beyer, Peacock. The company was created to build locomotives other than steam. By 1953 Beyer, Peacock had acquired the following subsidiary companies: Denings of Chard, makers of agricultural machinery; Theramic Ltd, makers of theramic siphons for locomotives; Maiuri Refrigeration Patents, Low Temperature Developments Ltd, and some other companies concerned with sales, such as Rail Traction Supplied Ltd. In 1957 Beyer, Peacock acquired Anti-attrition Metal Co and in 1958 Air Control Installations Ltd. In this year Beyer, Peacock (Hymek) Ltd was formed. The late 1950s saw a rapid transformation in locomotive manufacture. In 1955 British Rail decided to switch from steam to diesel and overseas users followed suit. Beyer, Peacock all but closed down the Gorton plant at the end of 1958. They had chosen to make diesel-hydraulics but British Rail opted to use diesel-electrics. In 1960 Beyer, Peacock’s subsidiary companies became members of the Beyer, Peacock Group and Beyer, Peacock Co. Ltd became the holding company. In 1966 all production ceased at the Gorton foundry. Shares in Beyer, Peacock were eventually bought by National Chemical Industries Ltd and in 1980 Beyer, Peacock and Co. Ltd became a dormant company. The name was resurrected in the 1990s as a trading name, based in Devon.
Brush Electrical Traction LtdIn 1991 the Hawker Siddeley Group was taken over by BTR plc and as a result of this takeover the Traction Division of Brush Electrical Co Ltd became a separate company, called Brush Electrical Traction Ltd. In November 1996, the FKI Group of Companies acquired the Hawker Siddeley Electric Power Group from BTR, Brush Electrical Machines and the other Brush companies joining the Group's Engineering Division. Following this, Brush Traction Ltd reverted back to being a division of Brush Electrical Machines Ltd. Brush Traction still exists and is now a division of the Wabtec Rail Group.
Crossley Motors LtdCrossley Motors began in 1902 as the vehicle manufacturing arm of Crossley Brothers Ltd. It was originally based at the Crossley Brothers works in Pottery Lane, Openshaw, Manchester. In 1906, the company was registered as the limited company Crossley Motors Ltd and moved to a site in Crossley Street, Gorton, Manchester the following year. The company produced cars from 1904 to 1937 and commercial vehicles from 1912 to 1956. The commercial vehicle developed in 1912 became the basis of the highly successful Royal Flying Corps (RFC) tender in the First World War. In the 1920s commercial vehicle production centred on military types; buses were introduced in 1928. In 1914 expansion of Crossley Brothers at Pottery Lane led to the acquisition of a second site at Errwood Park, Heaton Chapel, Stockport. Construction of the Errwood Park Works began in 1915, but the site was quickly given over to war work. Crossley Motors Ltd managed the National Aircraft Factory No. 2 on the site from 1917. After the First World War, the site became the works for Willys Overland Crossley before being sold to Fairey Aviation in 1934. After the Second World War, the Errwood Park Works became the permanent home for Crossley Motors Ltd. Crossley Motors was sold to Associated Equipment Company in 1948, and production continued at the Stockport site until 1958. The company ceased trading in 1966.
Clayton Equipment Co Ltd, machinery manufacturersThe Clayton Equipment Company Ltd was founded in 1931 by Stanley Reid Devlin. Devlin traded from offices at International Combustion Ltd, Sinfin Lane, Derby as Clayton Equipment, until the outbreak of the Second World War. The company ran a factory producing war materials, and in 1945, Clayton responded to the huge shortage of industrial goods by producing general and structural steelwork, farm buildings, conveyors, elevators and submerged ash conveyors. By 1946 the company had expanded sufficiently to acquire new premises at the Record Works in Hatton, Derbyshire, where the large site allowed the company to continue to develop as a business. New workshops and offices were erected and machinery installed to help build a wide variety of locomotives and industrial equipment that were exported to countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Poland and Korea. A number of diesel electric locomotives were also made for the domestic market, as British Railways began their modernisation program. International Combustion Holdings Ltd acquired a 100% shareholding of Clayton in 1957, but the company continued to operate autonomously as an entirely self-contained and self-supporting unit. In 1962 the company focused on designing and building a wide range of flameproof locomotives for British coal mines. With the decline of the British coal mining industry, the company diversified to tunnelling and construction for the overseas market. Ownership of Clayton changed hands several times over the next thirty years, during which time Clayton established itself as a market leader in underground rail haulage solutions. International Combustion was acquired by Clarke Chapman Ltd of Gateshead in 1974 and in 1979 the organisation merged with Reyroll Parsons of Newcastle to form a new company called Northern Engineering Industries. In March 2005, Clayton Equipment once again became an independent company and immediately entered a highly successful period of independent trading. The company moved from the Hatton site to Centrum 100 business park, Burton upon Trent in 2006. Today, the future for Clayton Equipment remains firmly with mining and tunnelling locomotives.
North British Locomotive Co LtdThe North British Locomotive Co Ltd was formed by the merger the 'big three' Glasgow locomotive builders (Sharp Stewart & Co, Neilson, Reid & Co and Dubs & Co) in 1903 as a result of increased competition both at home and from abroad. The new company claimed to be the largest manufacturers of locomotives anywhere outside America and was prompted by the ever increasing annual production by the Baldwin Locomotive Company in Philadelphia, USA, which had recently made incursions into the domestic UK market and in India, which the British locomotive industry had considered to be its own special preserve. It was believed that the rivalries and competition between the three companies operating individually within Glasgow had already produced significant technological advances which, in the new North British Locomotive Company would combine to make a single powerful and well equipped company, ready to dominate the market and take on competition, particularly from America. The new company never managed to operate at its capacity of 700 locomotives per year, producing a maximum of 573 in 1905. These numbers were maintained through to 1909 when production numbers began to fall rapidly. During World War I the North British Locomotive Company made locomotives for the War Department, as well as munitions and other military equipment, which were produced in vast quantities to meet the high demand. However, between the two World Wars, while orders were still being received, particularly from domestic railway companies, the fluctuation of demand meant that the company ran into some difficulty. As a result, employee numbers were significantly reduced, and manufacturing was concentrated at Queens Park and Hyde Park works. The last locomotive orders were completed at the Atlas Works in 1923. The Great Depression from 1929 saw the decline in demand for locomotives worldwide, with none built at all in 1932, and by the end of the 1930s, locomotive production at the North British Locomotive Company was operating at a loss. At the outbreak of World War II the company concentrated once more on war work, supplying both locomotives for the Ministry of Supply and munitions for the war effort. After World War II there was something of a revival in locomotive manufacturing, with orders being received and agreements being reached to build diesel & electric locomotives with the General Electric Company. This upturn in fortune was not to last however, as the North British Locomotive Company failed to make the successful transition from steam to diesel locomotive production. In 1957, the last order for steam locomotives was placed with the company and the last steam locomotive was completed in 1958. Although the company were making small industrial diesel locomotives, and received some early main line diesel orders from British Railways, the orders were never big enough to maintain the company. Other locomotive manufacturers, who had acted swiftly in transferring from steam to diesel and electric production, were becoming more successful. The company went into liquidation on 19 April 1962 with Messers Andrew Barclay Sons & Co (Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland) acquiring the North British Locomotive Company's goodwill.
Westinghouse Brake & Signal Co LtdThe Westinghouse Brake & Saxby Signal Company Ltd of London, Chippenham and Kingswood (Bristol) was renamed for simplification the Westinghouse Brake & Signal Co Ltd in 1935. The company were manufacturers of power and mechanical signalling equipment, compressed air and vacuum brakes, rectifiers and rectification apparatus, power operated tub handling plants for the mining industry, brakes for road transport, and pneumatic control equipment. From the 1950s to the 1970s overseas subsidiaries were created in Australia, South Africa and Australasia. In 1979 the Westinghouse Group was acquired by the Hawker Siddeley group as a wholly owned subsidiary.
Bastian & Allen LtdBastian & Allen Ltd., electrical and mechanical engineers, began to manufacture electrode boilers in a former wooden toy factory in Ferndale Terrace in 1949 and the premises were later extended and in 1965 the company employed 180 people.
Park Royal Vehicles LtdPark Royal Vehicles Ltd (PRV) London was one of the leading coachbuilders of its time, previously known as Park Royal Coachworks. It was responsible for the design and manufacture of the bodywork for multitudes of public service vehicles both in the UK and overseas. Along with its subsidiary, Charles H Roe, it became part of Associated Commercial Vehicles (ACV) which was later bought by the Leyland Group. Park Royal Vehicles closed in July 1980.
Kilmarnock Engineering Company LimitedIn 1919, the company acquired the Britannia Engineering Works, Kilmarnock of Dick, Kerr & Co Ltd. While some locomotive activity continued, it is not clear for how long and there is no evidence of any continuing relationship with the English Electric Co Ltd. The site name remains as a car showroom/ retail area, adjacent to the Andrew Barclay works, now Wabtec.
Associated Electrical Industries (AEI)Associated Electrical Industries (AEI) was formed in 1928 as a financial holding company for a number of leading electrical manufacturing and trading companies in the United Kingdom. The two major constituent companies were British Thomson-Houston (BTH) based at Rugby, (Mill Road Works) and Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company Ltd (Metrovicks) situated at Trafford Park, Manchester. However, fierce rivalry existed between the Metrovick and BTH brands resulting in internal competition and duplicated management. This was highlighted during the Second World War in 1939, when Metrovicks and BTH became the first two firms in the world to construct jet engines (independently from each other). Following the Second World War, in 1954, AEI expanded to consist of BTH, Metrovicks, Edison Swan Electric Co, Ferguson Pailin, Hotpoint Electric Appliance Co, International Refrigerator Co, Newton Victor, Sunvic Controls, Premier Electric Heaters, Siemens Bros (1955) and Birlec (1954). In 1959 AEI decided to remove the familiar brands of BTH and Metrovicks and consolidate both as AEI resulting in internal problems and a fall in sales and market value. However, AEI acquired a variety of companies from 1959 to 1967, these included Associated Insulation Products, W. T. Henley’s Telegraph Works Co (1958), and London Electric Wire Co and Smiths (1958), Submarine Cables, Hackbridge Holdings Ltd., The Lancashire Dynamo and Crypto Ltd., W.T. Avery Ltd., Henley and Schreiber. The General Electric Company bought AEI in 1967.
American Locomotive CompanyIn 1901 the American Locomotive Company, often known as ALCO, was formed by a merger between Schenectady Locomotive Engine Manufactory of Schenectady, New York and several smaller companies in order to compete with rival company, Baldwin Locomotive Works. ALCO produced over 75,000 locomotives, becoming the second largest steam locomotive producer in the United States behind Baldwin. In 1904, ALCO acquired control of the Locomotive and Machine Company of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The company diversified by producing automobiles in 1906 and in 1924 ALCO produced the first commercially successful diesel-electric locomotive in collaboration with General Electric and Ingersoll-Rand. The company’s headquarters were in Schenectady, New York. In 1948 the last steam locomotives were made by ALCO. The company ceased operations in 1969.
- Scope and ContentThe series contains 35 sub-series for technical engineering drawings by company's represented within the archive.
- Extent559 boxes (824 rolls), 458 folders
- Level of descriptionseries
- Repository nameNational Railway Museum, York