Woodvine – Norton Asquith – Warner Swasey 1952 – 1976

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35 Responses

  1. JOHN JONES says:

    Hello Mr. Hinton. I am still working on my Warner/ Swasey history project. and are transferring the information on to a memory stick, the project has fueled interest in past employees, and I have received a lot more information, owing to this I hope to hand over the memory stick at the end of February.

  2. Eric Middleton says:

    Have thoughly enjoyed reading this,well done

  3. Christine Hart (nee George) says:

    This is a wonderful overview of Woodvine/Norton/Asquith etc. My Dad, Eric George, worked there until the factory closed. One thing that was missed out was the contract that Warner & Swasey won to put machine tools into the Fiat Factory in Russia in 1972. My Dad worked in Russia, installing the machine tool machinery for a year.

  4. Edward Garbett says:

    An excellent and very informative history of the company John. My father was Bill Garbett who, I believe, was one of the original 12 former Sentinel employees involved in the start-up of the enterprise. .

    • John Jones says:

      Edward, please get in personel touch thro the web site,distance is no object, as I have very happy memories of your father, as a 15 year old in 1957 starting work, Bill was my first foreman, A great man,

      • Edward Garbett says:

        Thanks for your kind words John, dad probably out-lived most of his former colleagues and died in 2002 aged 90. We now live in what was the family home in Ruyton-xi-Towns, tel. 01939-261763, it would be good to meet up with you sometime.

  5. Bruce L. Farrar says:

    Sorry to spil the memories…Ram type milling boring machines came from the Halifax factories & certainly not from Shrewsbury.
    They were designed, developed & built there – the picture is fact a 5RM machine in the heavy side pit….this is where I served my M/c tool fitting apprenticeship.
    There is a lot missing from the history I agree but it ought to contain fact & be accurate…these were Asquith principles.
    I have contact with a couple of people who have data (on William Asquith Highroad Well, Rotadop etc) that I will collate into some words to go in here
    Asquiths also isn’t Asquith-Butler.
    The Fiat contact in 1972 was a Staveley concoction of designs from closed companies mostly built by Asquiths & Cravens. I built two of the machines that went their.

    • JOHN JONES says:

      Bruce, Thank you for getting in touch.
      Just a few points.
      1) The Asquith Ram Type floor borers both the 10 and 7 inch were only built in Shrewsbury. In all 22 were built, they did start to machine the parts for the first one in Halifax but transfered the parts to Shrewsbury, So they never completed one. I have numerious photographs of them being machined and fitted in the pit of the heavy shop.
      2) In 1992 Wm. Asquith merged with J.Butler and company to form Asquith-Butler. In 2003 the company was bought by the managing director Mr. Paul Hinchliffe. and now have their factory in Brighouse. Asquith-Butler.
      3) In 1972 the company was Warner Swasey Grinding Machines, The Fiat contract was to supply the Norton Grinders, again I have numerious photographs of the machines and are in touch with some of the people involved in assembling them in Shrewsbury and then in Russia.
      I agree with the Asquith principles. I have traveled all over this country and America doing my research over the last 5 years Talking to all the people who worked in the factory. labourers. skilled men. directors amongst them. Please leave a means of contact, so that I can get in personial touch, distance does not matter, as this is an ongoing project.

      • Hello John I remember you when i was growing up in harlescott and also at woodvines i went into the merchant navy as an engineer officer moved to StAndrews scotland and i am now living in meole i would love to meet up with some of the old boys for a drink and a chat well done for putting this site together

      • charles wainwright says:

        hello john my farther went to italy and russia for the firm his name is graham wainwright. he’s still about and living on the welsh border. I can still remember the christmas parties for the children. and the fishing contests

    • JOHN JONES says:

      Sorry Bruce I should have added the following;
      History of the Asquith Ram Type Horizontal Milling and Boring Machine. By Alfred Johnson. Director, Chief Engineer and Designer. 1914-1962. For full information.

  6. Bruce L. Farrar says:

    I have left a long set of notes about Asquith Halifax…….that sort of corrects whats in the existing script…should the author of whats in there or here want to write to me blfarrar@yahoo.co.uk

  7. Eric Middleton says:

    Have just read the updated version,brilliant,you’ve put a lot of work in producing this.Without trying to be picky was Mr. Nelsons name Roland not Ronald.Well done on an excellent article.

  8. mark says:

    Very interesting site i was taught by raymond broadhurst and also worked with roger price ron lewis colin peters jeff bullock when i was an apprentice all very clever engineers
    mark shrewsbury

  9. Roger Norton says:

    Many years ago Bill Purslow told me that he was the man on the seventy ton boring machine.

    Later ‘the pit’ that the machine was built in had a ceiling put on so that it could be used as a store-room for many thing including clean overalls.

  10. john bould says:

    Any one knew john Swanson?

  11. Susan Stephens says:

    I have so enjoyed reading this. My Dad worked there , think from the start,. Ted Perry. Many thanks.

  12. Delwyn{Dell]Jones says:

    Hello i served my time as an apprentice and i have some very happy memoirs of woodvines i ended up as an engineer officer with the cunard steamship co i am now retired and would like to here from anyone who remembers me.

  13. E. H. Waller. says:

    Edwin Waller aged 81 worked at highroad well from 1950 until 1963. Heavyside fitting , sandadall radial drills and screw units. 10 inch ram borers were built at Halifax for China . I worked on the building of them. They were installed in China by Granville Bates . Plenty more Halifax history available .

  14. JOHN says:

    Admin, Could you please pass my E-Mail details on to Delwyn Jones Thanks

  15. Edwin .H.Waller . says:

    Some were built at Halifax . I worked on them . Edwin Waller . 1950 until 1963 . Also down the screw units and Sandal fitting shop under Leslie Buckley .

  16. Mike Bradbury says:

    My name is Mike Bradbury and am doing research into Flight Lieutenant Eric Lock DSO DFC and Bar. I have a picture taken at the Sentinel Works. I know that Eric was presented with a tankard by Mrs Woodvine, in the picture are Eric’s wife Peggy, Eric, Mrs Woodvine, Mr Woodvine, a lady in glasses, these are all on the front row but the back row I don’t have any idea who they are. I am looking for help on this don’t know if you are able to, if I sent picture as an attachment, but don’t have email address where to send this to.
    Look forward to your reply.
    Best regards,
    Mike Bradbury.

  17. Alan Jones says:

    Nice web-site WELLDONE!
    I was an apprentice staring in 1963 ish, ending up in the drawing then sales offices.
    My Dad Aeron (Aaron) worked on various things, including a large horizontal borer, on which he had a very bad accident. later he worked in chasing and inspection. my Dad died today age 93-1/2, having spent several years in a Care home – he had dementia

  18. Roger Price says:

    This is excellent stuff Jumpy brings back a lot of memories. I started my apprenticeship in July 1965 some others were Frank Ralphs Eric Hughes and Godfrey [Fred] Jones.

  19. Philip Owen says:

    My Grandfather Walter Owen joined Woodvine’s as Technical Director. My Uncle, Trevor Owen also worked there.

    • John Jones says:

      Philip Owen. I remember them well Walter was a founder member of the company R Woodvine and son LTD Trevor was in charge of the rate fixing office, and was involved a lot with the social club Fond memories.

  20. John Jones says:

    Mike Bradbury. If you can send your photograph to this site. Mr. Hinton will pass it on to me. I’m in touch with the Woodvine family and i’m sure that they will be able to help you. Sorry about the delay in reading your request .

  21. John Jones says:

    Alan Jones Sorry to hear about his death. A very nice man. and a excellent engineer., never said a bad word about anybody.

  22. John Jones says:

    Susan Stephens. Yes another name remembered. Roy Downward who is 90 next month was talking about him just before Christmas, They worked in the fitting shop..

  23. John Jones says:

    If anybody has any information on the company please make contact. distance is no object. jumpyjones@talktalk.net

  24. Alan Jones says:

    John, thanks for the comments about my dad (Aeron).
    I have some documents relating to Warner Swasey. I will contact John shortly.

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